The 2018 European Industry Meeting on Palm Oil: getting informed, connected and inspired

Posted on: June 04, 2018

Friday the 25th of May, the European Industry Meeting on Palm Oil, organised by the European Palm Oil Alliance (EPOA) in Rotterdam (the Netherlands), gathered approximately 50 participants from retail, consumer associations, national alliances on Sustainable Palm Oil, European industry associations, palm oil related organizations. It provided new insights on the role of palm oil in food, as well as tools and inspiration on how to measure the contribution of sustainable palm oil to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG’s).

State of play on 3-MCPD esters
During the morning session the state of play on 3-MCPD esters was presented by Nathalie Lecocq, Director General of FEDIOL, the EU vegetable oil and protein meal industry association, providing an overview of 3MCPDE mitigation technologies. FEDIOL member companies align and strive to ensure the supply of safe food and feed and implement science-based improvements. Nathalie Lecocq:

“Refiners must find the balance between thoroughly addressing the issue and maintaining the viability of the business. There is no magical solution or one size fits all approach.”

Mitigation steps include close review of agricultural practices, such as selecting the right maturity of fruit, as well as refining steps such as washing, controlling acidity.

Palm oil intake
Thereafter Aine Hearty, Managing Scientist of Exponent, an Engineering and Scientific Consulting company, gave a detailed overview of the processes for establishing palm oil intake in Spain and the methodology for determining palm oil intake expressed as a g/day and per kg of body weight. Aine Hearty:

“Generally, there is no quantitative information on palm oil in food and a detailed intake assessment is required.  It has to be done on a country specific basis, due to different levels of palm oil used in member states. This is a difficult task since Palm oil is the most widely-used vegetable oil in the world. Refined palm oil is used as an affordable ingredient in so many food products because of its functional benefits.”

Contribution sustainable palm oil to SDGs
During  the afternoon session, Richard de Oude, Director at Croda, and Marjolein van Gendt of MVO Nederland presented jointly on the need for transparency in the supply chain and the use of the SDG Relevance Tracker. First they gave an introduction to sustainability within and across organisations and how the alignment between Dutch sustainable companies was achieved around the SDGs. Marjolein van Gendt:

“Why is transparency important?  It achieves risk management, due diligence, grows reputation. It can deliver an improved strategy because it gives the chance for integrated and better decision making. Innovation is only possible with transparency.”

Richard de Oude added: “The SDGs can create a useful frame for improving CSR strategy. The SDG Relevance Tracker we developed can help to select priorities and may be used as a tool for internal discussions."

“The fact that we now have a common language around the SDGs enables dialogue between different organisations, or different parts of a single supply chain”, EPOA’s Secretary General Margot Logman stressed. EPOA chair Frans Claassen concluded: “Reporting on SDGs is going to be coming, and we need to work hard to get tangible results.”

All in all it was an informative and inspiring meeting! You will find a link to SDG relevance tracker tool here. For the presentations please contact Jolanda van Roon, EPOA: roon [at] palmoilalliance [dot] eu.