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Europe moves to restrict import of unsustainable palm oil

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Editor’s note: Earlier this month, the European Parliament passed a resolution aiming to limit the import of palm oil that has caused deforestation. The Parliament also called for new sustainability criteria for palm oil entering the European market. The Parliament’s report, while not binding, could pave the way for binding legislation in Europe that could reshape the palm oil industry.

In a recent interview, Human Nature spoke with Cecile Schneider, a European policy manager at Conservation International (CI), about the report and its ramifications for one of the most widely used commodities in the world.

Question: It seems that Europe has been especially active on trying to ensure sustainability of palm oil. Can you give us some context?

Answer: Palm oil is nearly ubiquitous in consumer products but it has been linked to deforestation; about 80 percent of deforestation worldwide is caused by unsustainable agricultural expansion. Of course this has negative impacts for the climate,
for biodiversity and critical habitats as well as for human health.

But by importing these…

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