Sunday, 25 January 2009

EU Palm Oil Demand Hit

January 20, 2009

The Jakarta Globe

Fidelis E. Satriastanti

EU Palm Oil Demand


The European Union's increasing demand for crude palm oil, or CPO, is evidence of its inconsistent stance on climate change, an environmentalist said on Monday.

"[The developed world] has criticized Indonesia for destroying its forests, but its increasing demand for Indonesian CPO sends a different message," said Elfian Effendi, the executive director of Greenomics Indonesia.

According to Greenomics, CPO exports to 10 European Union countries rose 166 percent from $320 million in the first eight months of 2007 to $851 million in the same period in 2008.

"It is ironic that CPO demand increased while talks on climate change intensified," Elfian said. "Our government continues to take a relaxed stance on palm oil producers despite the damage that they cause to our forests."

Achmad Mangga Barani, the director general for plantations at the Ministry of Agriculture, refuted Elfian's claim, saying the government was committed to "achieving sustainability in the industry through the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil."

The roundtable was formed in 2004 as an international coalition of palm oil producers, buyers and nongovernmental organizations aimed at raising environmental awareness within the palm oil industry.