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Planet Ark World Environment News Dutch Buyers To Import Only Green Palm Oil By 2015

Date: 08-Nov-10
Country: KUALA LUMPUR
Author: Niluksi Koswanage

Dutch vegetable oil suppliers have pledged to order only eco-friendly palm oil cargoes by 2015 as consumers and green groups continue to scrutinize the sector, an industry official said.

Dubbed the Dutch Taskforce on Sustainable Palm Oil, the initiative will get local firms to pledge to buy palm oil from estates that do not clear forests or peatlands in Southeast Asia to expand, said Frans Claassen, an official with the taskforce.

"Over the next few years, we will work very hard to ensure that all palm oil used...will be sustainable," said Claassen, a director with the Dutch Product Board of Margarine, Fats and Oils (MVO) that spearheaded the initiative.

"In other words, (this refers to palm oil purchased) in accordance with one of the trading systems approved by the RSPO," Claassen added, referring to the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil that formulates green standards for the industry.

The Roundtable meets in Jakarta next week to discuss how far the palm oil industry has travelled on the eco-friendly path as well as look at ways of getting buyers to take up growing green palm oil output.

The Netherlands has been a focal point for Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth to wage campaigns against palm oil as the country takes up 2 million, or 4 percent, of global output, making it one of Europe's biggest buyers.

The Dutch Taskforce accounts for most of the demand. These levels represent about two-thirds of palm oil processing capacity in top producers Indonesia and Malaysia that passed green standards set by the Roundtable.

Much of the Dutch palm oil imports are processed and re-exported to the rest of Europe with close to half a million tonnes used domestically, data from Hamburg-based oilseed researchers Oil World show.

The Dutch Taskforce's move comes as Indian traders ask their government to cut its tax on green palm oil imports by one to two percent in a bid to boost consumption in the world's largest palm oil buyer.

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