Posted on: February 16, 2016

EPOA is concerned about the proposed amendment in the French bill on biodiversity[1], to increase the tax on palm oil.  This proposed increased taxation in France is a counterproductive trade protection measure and could likely result in product reformulations that are negative for both sustainability and health.

Palm oil is an extremely high yield crop, which, when produced under sustainable conditions, makes it the single ecological choice, given the quantities involved and land used. While as EPOA we recognise the need for a varied and balanced oil market in Europe, we oppose any regime change with the potential to negatively affect the uptake of sustainable palm oil in Europe. Likewise, there is no benefit for health when replacing palm oil with fats or oils that are higher in saturated fats.

By using certified sustainable palm oil, France has a unique opportunity to positively influence the behaviour of the industry at a French as well as at a European level. By moving away from palm oil, this opportunity would be lost.

Together with NGOs, industry alliances, governments form producing countries and sector associations in France and at the EU level, EPOA is taking a strong position against the proposed amendment. The broader alliance is working to put the rejection of the proposed amendment on the agendas of the relevant ministries in the Netherlands, France and before those at EU level as this proposed tax will have such a huge negative impact on the broader European sustainability agenda.

EPOA is particularly concerned about the proposed taxation on palm oil because:

  • The amendment would have a negative impact on cross-industry efforts to ensure a 100 % sustainable palm oil supply chain by 2020, embodied in the December 2015 Amsterdam Declaration under the Dutch presidency of the EU - an initiative that is also supported by the French Government
  • The EU is the second largest importer of Palm Oil in the world, importing 7,300,000 metric tonnes annually (2014)
  • This taxation could cause a potential distortion of the European internal market for oils and fats
  • The risk that once this bill is accepted by France, more EU governments will introduce similar counterproductive trade restrictive measures, that may prove worse for both health and sustainability
  • A massive growth in global demand for fats and oils is anticipated, the projected 35% increase adding up to 250 million tonnes per year by 2050. Many global NGOs, including WWF and Greenpeace, are convinced that Certified Sustainable Palm Oil is the only vegetable oil in the world – from a production capacity, cost and sustainability perspective - that can meet this need.

Dated: February 16, 2016

[1] Amendment N°367 to the French Bill on Biodiversity entitled ‘Reconquête de la biodiversite, de la nature et des paysages’.