Minister Galletti, sign the Amsterdam Declaration on sustainable palm oil production.
Asking to eliminate palm oil production in order to save forests is misguided. If that were to be done, palm trees would be replaced with other, much less sustainable crops and therefore more harm would be done to forests. Sustainable palm oil production, instead, favours the safeguarding of forests and allows local producers to create an increasingly prosperous economy, and hence one more sensitive to environmental issues.
Dear Minister Galletti,
In view of the meeting of the G7 Environment Ministers from 10 to 12 June, we urge you to sign the Amsterdam Declaration in support of sustainable palm oil and to extend this invitation to those among your colleagues who have not yet signed it. France, Germany and the United Kingdom have already signed, demonstrating that they fully share its principles. These countries have decided to play a leading role towards full sustainability of palm oil production. Indeed, by promoting sustainable palm oil production it is hoped to drastically reduce deforestation.
The goal of the Declaration is to encourage and help palm oil producing enterprises to totally eliminate the practices of deforestation in favour of fully sustainable cultivations. Today, the producing enterprises can develop business models that avoid any form of further reduction of the areas occupied by forests.
The European Parliament recently approved a resolution which, in point 29, “calls on the Commission, and all Member States who have not yet done so, to demonstrate their commitment to working towards the establishment of an EU-wide national commitment of sourcing 100 % certified sustainable palm oil by 2020 by, inter alia, signing and implementing the Amsterdam Declaration ‘Towards Eliminating Deforestation from Agricultural Commodity Chains with European Countries’, and to working towards the establishment of an industry commitment by, inter alia, signing and implementing the Amsterdam Declaration ‘In Support of a Fully Sustainable Palm Oil Supply Chain by 2020.”
By signing the Amsterdam Declaration, Italy undertakes to:
1. Promote sustainable palm oil production by eliminating any form of deforestation from the business models of the producing companies;
2. Promote a multi-stakeholder approach that unites all the parties involved in the production of palm oil with the goal of making the supply chain more sustainable;
3. Introduce the topic of deforestation in trade negotiations, especially with countries that produce palm oil;
4. Promote policies and support an EU action plan against deforestation.
We are convinced that Italy can and must make an important contribution to the process of reducing deforestation. Italy must be in the vanguard in the promotion of innovation, and therefore in the elaboration of business models and in the production of products and services that are more sustainable, with a low impact on the environment. More innovation in fact means less deforestation. Over the course of the past century, by making use of forests, many populations – especially Asian ones, but not only – started an industrial process that has enabled thousands of small producers and their families to improve their conditions.
Where palm cultivations have arisen, villages and schools have been built. Among all cultivations that have taken the place of forests, palm oil is the most sustainable, as science demonstrates. It is also, as shown by the data, the one whose industry has invested the most in sustainability, much more than many European production sectors. Deforestation has been reduced significantly at the global level, while in some countries it has been totally eliminated. The current alarm of non-governmental organizations is groundless. Today they are more involved in chasing ghosts in Asia than in denouncing the real misdeeds that still threaten the environment in Europe.
Asking to eliminate palm oil production in order to save forests is misguided. If that were to be done, palm trees would be replaced with other, much less sustainable crops and therefore more harm would be done to forests. Sustainable palm oil production, instead, favours the safeguarding of forests and allows local producers to create an increasingly prosperous economy, and hence one more sensitive to environmental issues. The results achieved in just a few years by the palm oil producing countries in favour of sustainability are much greater than those that we Europeans have accomplished in centuries of agricultural and industrial revolutions. Much more can still be done and the signing of the Amsterdam Declaration is another very important step in this direction.