European Sustainable Palm Oil (ESPO)
To drive the uptake of more sustainable palm oil in Europe, IDH and MVO (the Dutch Oils and Fats Industry) established the European Sustainable Palm Oil, or ESPO, project in 2015. The project was initiated to stimulate the uptake of more sustainable palm oil in Europe, and its objective is to achieve ‘100% sustainable palm oil in Europe by 2020’. ESPO works in close collaboration with various National Palm Oil Initiatives on sustainable palm oil, the RSPO and umbrella EU associations, such as Caobisco (confectionary), Fediol (refineries) and Imace (margarines).
Within the ESPO project, sustainable palm oil is being defined as a stepping stone approach, working towards RSPO certified (or equivalent) at minimum. ESPO aims to build upon existing declarations and commitments on sustainable palm oil in Europe. Furthermore, the ESPO project acknowledges the work done by initiatives like ISPO and MSPO that work towards a more sustainable palm oil supply chain.
In the coming years, ESPO will:
Europe is the main importer of sustainable palm oil. A monitoring report by ESPO, EPOA and the RSPO shows that in 2015, 2 million mass balance and segregated RSPO certified sustainable palm oil was imported in Europe and an additional 1.5 million Book and Claim certificates were redeemed for the European market.
In Europe, there is a growing negative image of palm oil which is leading towards a movement to boycott palm oil instead of using sustainable palm oil.
Think of palm oil, and it’s likely that the forests and swamps of west Africa and Southeast Asia spring to mind. More specifically, at least if you are in Western Europe or the United States, it’s possible that you imagine decimated forests, drained swamps, homeless orangutans and out-of-control mega fires. As a European arriving in Asia for the first time four years ago, this certainly was the perception I had.
There are two kinds of companies: those that sell sustainable products... and those that will...