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:

  1. Support National Initiatives to develop and implement specific, time bound and cost effective action plans to achieve 100% sustainable palm oil per country by 2020.
  2. Implement a monitoring system to gain insight on the share of certified sustainable palm oil products and derivatives used in Europe (including food / feed / biofuel / technical).
  3. Drive the change towards 100% certified / verified sustainable palm oil that is traceable to plantation, with mill level as an intermediate step. Support the aspiration of those members wishing to achieve traceability to plantation by 2020.
  4. Support the European Union governments in general and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Development in particular, in gaining endorsement for the ‘Amsterdam Palm Oil Declaration’ from European countries.
  5. Facilitate the dialogue on sustainable palm oil in Europe between the various stakeholders including upstream and downstream partners and relevant NGO’s.

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