The Dutch oils and fats association (MVO) has signed an intention statement with the Colombian National Federation of Oil Palm Growers (Fedepalma), NGO Solidaridad and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) to improve sustainable practices in the Colombian palm oil industry.

The statement was signed during the roundtable meeting on sustainable palm oil in Bogota on 28 November.

“The parties involved intend to strengthen bilateral cooperation towards increasing exports of sustainable palm oil in line with the European ambition to embrace 100% sustainable palm oil by 2020,” Solidaridad said in a press release on 30 November. The agreement would support:

· The promotion of good labour practices, social inclusion and protection of high conservation value areas (biological, ecological, social or cultural) through responsible supply chain management.

· Further development of a circular economy approach in palm oil production.

Colombia was the fourth biggest producer of palm oil in the world and the first in the Americas, Solidaridad said. The Netherlands was the largest palm oil importer in Europe; the destination of around 70% of Colombian palm oil exports.

“Dutch imports of Colombian palm oil increased from 2% in 2012 to 11% in 2017, and this figure is set to continue to grow.”

Minister of Agriculture of The Netherlands, Carola Schouten said Colombia was the only country that had committed to zero deforestation palm oil production.

“This makes it a ‘safe bet’ for processing companies looking for sources that allow them to meet 2020 EU restrictions for sustainable palm oil.”

MVO said that as part of the agreement, it would contribute to an annual monitoring report by providing data on the use of certified sustainable palm oil in the Netherlands and activities on sustainable palm oil of relevant MVO members active in Colombia.
MVO represents 95% of companies in the Netherlands that are active in the production, processing and trade of vegetable and animal oils and fats.