ICYMI: Malaysia Foreign Affairs Minister Blasts EU for ‘Discriminatory, Double Standard’ Attacks on Palm Oil

Malaysian Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah blasted Europe’s anti-Palm Oil campaign yesterday, declaring the moves by Brussels and Paris to be ‘discriminatory’ and ‘reek[ing] of double standard’.

Minister Saifuddin has called on European leaders to reject biased policies such as the Deforestation Criteria and the French ban on Palm Oil biofuel, or prepare for trade retaliation from Malaysia.

Key excerpts from Minister Saifuddin –

  • “It is ironic that other oil crops are not subject to the same stringent requirements demanded for palm oil. This is discriminatory and reeks of double standards.
  • “This move will indirectly favour Europe’s long-term products specifically rapeseed and sunflower oils. No other oilseed or oil-bearing crop was negatively targeted as the oil primary has.
  •  “The move may infringe WTO [World Trade Organisation] rules, and goes against the spirit of globalisation and free trade, of which the EU countries have been so keen to promote and protect.

The Malaysian Government under Prime Minister Mahathir has made clear its intent to respond to Europe’s black Palm Oil campaign. As a leader in forest conservation, Malaysia remains committed to maintaining over 55 per cent of land area as forest. Malaysia is dedicated to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through its renewed commitment for sustainability. By 2020, all Malaysian Palm Oil will be certified under mandatory Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) guidelines.

Read more on the Minister’s statement, here.

WHO Study Full of Errors, Omissions, Assumptions and Bias

The World Health Organisation’s recent Bulletin contained an article focused on the palm oil sector. The article was full of errors, omissions, assumptions, and other evidence of bias. The fact that those biases exist is a major problem – but the wider problem is the following:

The WHO article’s stated concern was that the palm oil industry focuses on “lobbying”, to the detriment of scientific evidence. And yet … here is an article from the WHO focused exclusively on regurgitating the talking points of anti-palm oil lobbyists, while ignoring voluminous scientific evidence that highlights the benefits of palm oil.

The lack of self-awareness is painful.

On the substance of the WHO’s concerns, let’s start by looking at the issue of poverty.

The WHO authors actually complain that the palm oil sector uses ‘poverty alleviation arguments’. In this, the WHO is correct. Palm oil cultivation has lifted millions out of poverty, provided an income for small farmers and rural communities, and helped Africans, Asians and others build better, healthier lives for themselves and their children.

Is the WHO saying this is a bad thing? Perhaps the organization needs reminding that poverty is one of the most significant drivers of poor health. As the World Bank states “Poverty is a major cause of ill health and a barrier to accessing health care”. Palm oil has a unique double-benefit because both producers and many consumers are based in the developing world: the producers (small farmers in Malaysia or Indonesia) receive income, which helps improve their health; and the consumers (often poorer people in India or Africa) receive key nutrients including Vitamin E tocotrienols and tocopherols, which also improves their health.

Lifting millions of people out of poverty – as the palm oil sector has achieved – does more for improving global health than any WHO bureaucracy ever could.

Perhaps the WHO criticism is that palm oil countries talk too much about poverty alleviation. Again, the Malaysian palm oil sector is guilty as charged: for years Malaysia has provided data points, studies, articles and so on, to highlight how the country built successful rural communities and economies using oil palm. The ‘Malaysian model’ of oil palm cultivation is being studied and replicated in many poor countries globally, as a means to replicate Malaysia’s success in reducing poverty from 50% down to less than 5% in just a few decades.

Surely, this too should be celebrated by WHO? Sharing information and knowledge on proven poverty alleviation efforts will help to improve health in poor countries. Instead, though, the WHO falls back on the tired anti-palm oil attacks.

The WHO next criticizes palm oil in the context of trans fats. Just to be clear, trans fats have been universally condemned as deleterious for human health. Palm oil naturally has zero trans fats, but can fulfil the same function in food preparation. Again, the simplest answer here is the correct one: this is a clear win for human health. The WHO article, however, once again ignores this positive (which has been accepted by … the WHO’s Recommendations) – focusing instead on an assertion that ‘the palm oil industry may benefit from increased sales’. Are the WHO authors claiming they would prefer lower health outcomes, or a reintroduction of trans fats…?

Not content with ignoring the prevailing, positive evidence on health and poverty, the WHO article moves on to repeating the anti-palm oil lobbyists’ talking points on environment. It is almost a copy-past of the extremist NGO attacks on palm oil that have been debunked repeatedly.

Allegations made include of large-scale burning and haze – despite the reality, which is that Malaysia has a strict no-burn law. This established fact of law is ignored by WHO. Then the article includes allegations of large-scale deforestation – despite the reality, which is that the United Nations forest assessment shows that Malaysia’s forest area is increasing, and remains far higher that most Western nations. Again, this established fact is ignored by WHO, in favour of anti-palm oil talking points. The claim of 100,000 deaths from haze one year have been thoroughly discredited, including by Health Ministries in the countries themselves. If the WHO authors had been prepared to do a little research, this all could have been discovered quite easily.

Once more, the positive and verified facts about oil palm cultivation are simply ignored. A crop that uses less land (meaning more can be kept for conservation); fewer pesticides (which the WHO has admitted is a good thing); and less fertilizer – surely, this is to be mentioned in any article about palm oil and health? No. The WHO article ignores these facts, sticking to its anti-palm oil taking points.

In many ways, the article at least is honest about its bias. Throughout the article, anti-palm oil NGOs are quoted approvingly, and at length, despite the fact that they have no scientific standing. Whereas any published research with even a small link to the palm oil sector is condemned. This is a classic case of a judgment based not on evidence, but on pre-existing prejudice (“NGOs good; palm oil bad”).

To summarise, the WHO does not dispute the proven evidence that palm oil reduces poverty, replaces trans fats, and helps conserve land by being more efficient. Any balanced evaluation would conclude this is a valuable crop. Instead, the WHO article compares palm oil to alcohol and tobacco. The tocotrientols in red palm oil provide essential vitamins to nutrient-deprived communities across the developing world … but the WHO lazily compares this to a cigarette? It would be laughable if it were not so irresponsible.

However, there is one saving grace. The WHO authors admit that “We need to better understand … palm oil products.” Yes, from this article, it is clear that you do.

ICYMI: Malaysian Small Farmers Say EU Deforestation Roadmap will Disenfranchise Palm Oil Farmers; Lacks Moral Authority to Impose Trade Barriers

National Association of Smallholders (NASH) Malaysia submitted yesterday open feedback to the EU Commission’s Deforestation and forest degradation – stepping up EU action initiative.

NASH reminded the EU that 650,000 Malaysian small farmers’ livelihoods are placed in jeopardy due to EU’s anti-Palm Oil approach.

NASH has provided the following feedback to the proposal, addressing the importance of effective partnerships with Palm Oil Producing Countries, sustainability, consideration of 650,000 Malaysian smallholders, and international cooperation to ensure sustainable supply chains:

“It is patronising, and false, to suggest that only the EU can provide [sustainable supply chains]. The Malaysian Government has introduced the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO), a world-leading sustainability certification based on ISO standards. Palm oil has been a great poverty alleviation tool for Malaysia. The EU Roadmap’s proposed action, targeting palm oil, would have the opposite effect and hurt small farmers. More than 650,000 Malaysian small farmers and their families depend on palm oil. Any discriminatory EU action plan would harm the incomes and livelihoods of these families. With palm oil, more oil is produced per hectare, substantially less fertiliser is used, lowest energy input needed and fewer pesticides are needed, per tonne of oil produced.”

NASH’s submission to the EU Deforestation Roadmap may be viewed here or in full below.

This is not the end of the process. The European Union has now formally opened its public consultation period, where a longer and more detailed assessment may be provided in response to the EU’s Roadmap.


NASH Feedback: EU Roadmap on “Deforestation and forest degradation – stepping up EU action”

The published EU Roadmap on tackling deforestation and forest degradation is the latest in a long series of EU initiatives aimed to regulate and control palm oil imports from the developing world. The EU’s environmental and sustainability agenda is the latest tool for controlling the developing world. The EU must stop, and recognize that it lacks the moral authority to impose such control barriers.

Every initiative or proposal contained within this Roadmap amounts to the same objective: the EU plans to disenfranchise 650,000 Malaysian small farmers – and millions of other small farmers round the world – by imposing discriminatory restrictions on palm oil exports. Enough is enough.

This is the context in which the EU Roadmap was prepared. Small Malaysian farmers of palm oil are sustainable: European countries – who already deforested their own continent to incredible levels – do not have the moral authority to lecture small farmers in Asia or Africa. Similarly, the EU does not have the moral authority to impose restrictions.

NASH provides the following feedback to the Roadmap proposals:

1.Building effective partnerships with producing countries to support the uptake of sustainable practices: The EU is not needed. Malaysia is a recognized world-leader in palm oil sustainability, and forest conservation more widely. The Malaysian Government maintains 54.9% of its land as forest area, which is almost double the EU’s average forest area. Furthermore, palm oil is the world’s most land-efficient oilseed crop and has the lowest environmental footprint of any oil-bearing crop.


2.Promoting sustainable supply chains: It is patronising, and false, to suggest that only the EU can provide this. The Malaysian Government has introduced the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO), a world-leading sustainability certification based on ISO standards. The EU should formally recognize MSPO’s role in promoting sustainability.

3.Helping smallholders: Palm oil has been a great poverty alleviation tool for Malaysia. The EU Roadmap’s proposed action, targeting palm oil, would have the opposite effect and hurt small farmers. More than 650,000 Malaysian small farmers and their families depend on palm oil. Any discriminatory EU action plan would harm the incomes and livelihoods of these families.

4.Strengthen international cooperation with other major consumer countries to ensure sustainable supply chains: All Malaysian palm oil exported to the EU meets strict criteria for sustainability as set out by existing EU rules. MSPO rules will also be mandatory in Malaysia, to guarantee sustainability.

Any EU actions that target palm oil will be met with trade response from producing countries. The EU should pull back from its provocative and protectionist stance over palm oil that could impact billions in exports.

The Malaysian Government has already warned that it will “take retaliatory actions on bilateral trade and other ongoing collaborations”.

5.Building EU policies that can help prevent tropical deforestation and forest degradation: With palm oil, more oil is produced per hectare, substantially less fertiliser is used, lowest energy input needed and fewer pesticides are needed, per tonne of oil produced. If anything, EU policies should target the use of other oilseeds that are more damaging to the environment, such as rapeseed and sunflower.

Many studies, including the EU’s very own research have concluded that palm oil is a very small contributor to global deforestation, compared to beef and livestock, and other commodities such as maize.

  • Where is the EU’s Delegated Act targeting beef, or soybean?
  • Why has the European Parliament not called for a total ban on maize, or beef?
  • Why is the European Commission promising to import MORE soybeans, despite the proven environmental impact?

The anti-palm oil focus of the EU’s Roadmap is unjustified, unscientific, and uneven.

ICYMI: Malaysian Government Indicates Norway’s Anti-Palm Oil Campaign ‘Certainly Not Something We Will Take Lightly’

Malaysia’s Minister of Primary Industries Ms Teresa Kok has condemned Norway’s ongoing campaign against Palm Oil and against the Norwegian Parliament’s erroneous decision to limit and phase out Palm Oil biofuels.

The Malaysian Government warned that the Norwegian Parliament’s decision to ban Palm Oil biofuels goes against fair and free trade, and will adversely affect Malaysia-European Free Trade Association (EFTA) trade negotiations, which includes Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein.

Malaysia’s International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking has said while EFTA negotiations are ongoing, Malaysia wishes to “understand Norway’s act of condemning Malaysia’s palm oil” and would welcome the opportunity to “meet them [Norwegian leaders] and explain the real situation how we sustainably operate the palm oil industry”.

This measure places a discriminatory and illegitimate label on Malaysian Palm Oil as ‘unsustainable’, despite Malaysia’s leading commitment to Good Agricultural Practices, sustainable development, and its forest conservation efforts to maintain over 50 per cent forest cover.

Minister Teresa Kok said:

“The stand taken by Norway against palm oil will adversely affect bilateral trade relations between Malaysia and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) that includes Norway, and would be a major obstacle towards a successful conclusion of the Malaysia EFTA partnership talks.

 “This sort of action smacks of injustice and discrimination against products from developing countries like Malaysia. As a responsible producer of palm oil, we have already set in motion various initiatives to ensure sustainable practices are the norm rather than the exception, throughout the palm oil value chain.

 The Malaysia EFTA partnership agreement must provide fair market access to all of the countries involved, including fair treatment of sustainable palm oil which is produced in Malaysia. Without this fair market access, it will not be in the interest of Malaysia to pursue what will be a bad deal for the country and its people, particularly our 650,000 oil palm smallholders whose livelihood is at stake.”

Read the Minister’s full statement, here.

Read more on Minister Datuk Darell Leiking’s comments, here.

ICYMI: Malaysian Government Signals Trade Retaliation Following French Decision to Exclude Palm Oil Biofuels

Malaysia’s Minister of Primary Industries Ms. Teresa Kok has condemned the French National Assembly’s vote to exclude Palm Oil biofuels as “unwarranted and unjust”. The decision threatens the livelihoods of over 650,000 Malaysian small farmers who rely on palm oil to provide for their families.

The proposal by the French National Assembly is a betrayal of promises made by the French Government that they wouldn’t discriminate against Palm Oil.

Additionally, the ban on Palm Oil biofuels will threaten French exports to Asia and hurt diplomatic relations between France and Palm Oil-producing countries.

Minister of Primary Industries Ms. Teresa Kok stated:

“This is a most unwelcomed decision and goes against the very principles of free and fair trade. The vote by the Parliamentarians is alarming and deserves the strongest condemnation.

“Their action to ultimately exclude the usage and importation of palm oil as part of the approved renewable energy mix could consequentially affect our bilateral trade relations. Malaysia plans to protest strongly against this action and will also muster support from other key palm oil producers.

 I appeal to the French authorities to reconsider this anti-palm oil vote or be ready to face retaliatory actions on bilateral trade and other ongoing collaborations from all palm oil producers”.

Read the Minister’s statement in full, here.

Prince Charles Advisor Condemns Iceland’s Black Campaign Against Palm Oil

Sir Jonathon Porritt, the leading British environmentalist and advisor to Prince Charles, has said that Iceland’s Christmas palm oil advertisement is “deeply manipulative”, “makes no sense whatsoever” and “is actually counter-productive”.

Sir Jonathon, who has spent years working on practical steps to ensure sustainable palm oil, condemns Iceland’s advert as “ignoring reality” and says that celebrities who have expressed support for the campaign have been “duped”.

Sir Jonathon served for three years as Chairman of the UK’s Green Party; was Director of Friends of the Earth UK for six years; and for nine years chaired the UK Government’s Sustainable Development Commission. He is a renowned author and expert on environmental conservation and sustainability who currently serves as an environmental advisor to Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, and a Visiting Professor at UCL. He is co-founder of the global sustainable development NGO, Forum for the Future.

Sir Jonathon’s op-ed in Malaysian newspaper The Star points out the factual errors in Iceland’s anti-palm oil campaign:

“James Cordon and Bill Bailey have allowed themselves to be duped by an unholy coalition of NGOs and naïve supermarkets.

It implies that the oil palm industry is the biggest cause of deforestation anywhere in the world. It is NOT. Not by a long chalk.”

It implies that tens of thousands of orang utan are still being killed in Indonesia and Malaysia every year because of oil palm development. They are NOT.

It implies that all palm oil, whatever it’s being used for and whoever produces it, is responsible for the death of thousands of orang utan. It is NOT.”

It implies that reasonable consumers will inevitably have to take their share of responsibility for the deaths of orang utan as a consequence for purchasing products which contain palm oil. They do NOT.”

Four big, fat, completely mendacious implications.”

Sir Jonathon reserves particular scorn for Iceland’s inexperienced and naïve CEO, Richard Walker:

“CEO Richard Walker doesn’t know how to tell the difference between certified and uncertified palm oil … it’s not difficult, Richard. […] Boycotting palm oil is purposeless.”

“[The Iceland video] was specifically made for ‘political’ reasons with no requirement on it whatsoever, to worry about being ‘fair, decent, honest and true’.”

Sir Jonathon rightfully points out the important steps taken by the palm oil industry towards becoming sustainable, via certification bodies such as RSPO and MSPO. He concludes:

“To go on vilifying and demonizing such a critically important industry, which continues to move forward on challenges like deforestation and better working conditions, makes no sense whatsoever.”

Facts on Malaysian Palm Oil

Let’s recall some key errors in Iceland’s campaign:

  • Palm oil is not a major driver of deforestation. The European Union research confirms that Iceland should be targeting beef, soy, maize and other crops instead of palm oil.
  • Palm oil is the highest-yielding oilseed crop in the world.
  • Malaysia is not deforesting. In fact, forest area in Malaysia is increasing. The United Nations FAO’s official statistics prove this.
  • The Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) standard is the core of the Government’s commitment to ensure this sustainability track record is expanded and intensified. MSPO will be made mandatory for the industry by 2019.
  • Malaysia does not burn forests. Open burning is illegal as pointed out by the Malaysian Ministry.

ICYMI – Europe’s Continued Effort to Ban Palm Oil “Sows Bitter Seeds”

This week, French news agency AFP reported about the ongoing discriminatory campaign by Europe against Palm Oil biofuel exports and the lasting damage it would have on Malaysia’s Small Farmers.

Following the most recent defeat of efforts to ban Palm Oil used as biofuels as part of the latest RED revision text in June, the European Commission is now considering whether to classify Palm Oil as a “High Risk” biofuel.

Malaysian Palm Oil small farmers know a ban when we see one, and will continue to oppose any discriminatory measures from the EU towards Palm Oil.

AFP reports:

“The policies that the EU is proposing to introduce will harm Malaysia’s rural communities and reduce incomes for Malaysian families,” said Douglas Uggah Embas, deputy chief minister of Sarawak state on Borneo island, home to many smallholders”.

“Critics say that palm oil development also contributes to climate change through deliberate forest-clearing fires, which release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and lung-clogging smog into the region’s air. Many under-pressure firms made “no deforestation” pledges, but activists say they are tough to monitor and frequently broken in the vast jungles of Sumatra and Borneo island. This week, Greenpeace said a group of Indonesian palm oil firms that supply major international brands including Unilever and Nestle have cleared an area of rainforest almost twice the size of Singapore in less than three years. But Malaysian farmer Mansor rejects the depiction of growers as an environmental threat. “(The EU) says we cut down the forest. But my land is on peat soil – there was rubber growing here before,” he said. “How can the EU claim that I’m killing the earth?”.

“An EU ban would threaten the livelihoods of 650,000 smallholders and over 3.2 million Malaysians who rely on the industry”.

Read the full story from AFP here.

Malaysian Small Farmers Wish to Remind Tesco about their Corporate Social Responsibility Requirements in Malaysia

In the wake of Iceland Foods’ dark colonial actions to boycott Palm Oil and hurt Malaysia’s Small Farmers, a new campaign has emerged on Change.org that seeks to pressure Tesco, a global supermarket giant, to ban Palm Oil from their own-brand products. The petition’s initiator, “15 year old Oscar” – who runs an online cause “Justice 4 Earth” is getting close to his goal of collecting the 200,000 signatures.

In the face of this baseless petition (even NGOs are discrediting it), here’s what Tesco’s CEO Dave Lewis should remember:

  1. Tesco is the number one retailer in South East Asia, mainly present in Thailand and Malaysia, two of the top three Palm Oil producing countries;
  2. There are more than 50 Tesco hypermarkets in Malaysia;
  3. Tesco employs more than 10,000 in Malaysia; and
  4. Tesco openly states that it is committed to playing an “active role in communities across Malaysia”.

These are simple but salient facts about Tesco in Malaysia.

In ceding to any demands to boycott Palm Oil or hoisting unjust Western-oriented policy measurers on Malaysia’s small farmers, Tesco would be signaling it is abandoning Malaysia, and its CSR commitments to the country.

The facts about Malaysian Palm Oil:

  • Withdrawing from using Palm Oil would lead to sentencing more than 650,000 Malaysian small farmers and their families, who are reliant on Palm Oil, to a life of poverty.
  • EU research proves that Palm Oil is not a major factor in global deforestation. In fact, livestock (beef) accounts for 10 times more deforestation than Palm Oil. Soy accounts for more than double.
  • Palm Oil is the world’s most efficient oilseed crop. When compared to other vegetable oils, Palm Oil consumes considerably less energy in production, using less land and generating more oil per hectare than other vegetable oils.
  • Rapeseed uses five times the amount of pesticides compared to Palm Oil; sunflower uses 4 times more land to produce the same amount of oil.
  • Malaysia is a recognized world-leader in Palm Oil sustainability, and forest conservation more widely. The Malaysian Government has committed to protecting at least 50% of land as forest area. Malaysia maintains 54.9% of its land area under forest cover, which exceeds Malaysia’s commitment of 50% at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. This commitment has been recognized by the United Nations.
  • Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification will be made mandatory by December 2019. MSPO addresses the environmental, social and economic aspects of Palm Oil production, cultivation and processing methods, protecting forests and wildlife, safeguarding workers’ welfare and safety and providing a living wage.

Malaysia’s Small Farmers Defeat Europe’s Planned Ban on Palm Oil Biofuels

Compromise Agreement on RED is Reached; Ban on Palm Oil is Rejected

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysia’s Small Farmers took a major step towards defeating the EU’s planned ban on Palm Oil biofuels, after the EU reached a compromise position on the Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

To be clear: the final text of the RED agreed by the negotiators, did not include any ban on Palm Oil biofuels. Explicit criticism of Palm Oil was also removed from the final RED text.

This is good news for Malaysian Small Farmers, in the face of a concerted and aggressive campaign by a chorus of protectionists from Europe. It is important to remember why this matters:

  • 650,000 Malaysian small farmers and their families depend on Palm Oil
  • Palm Oil is the biggest driver of poverty alleviation for rural communities
  • The EU ban would have harmed the incomes and livelihoods of these families
  • Defeating the ban is a win for economic development over protectionism

In January 2018, the EU Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a total ban on all Palm Oil biofuels, from 2021. That plan was rejected by the EU Commission and by EU governments, following a well-directed campaign from Malaysian Small Farmers.

The proposed Palm Oil ban from 2021 has been completely removed from the final RED text that was agreed in Strasbourg on 13th June.

A final vote is now required in the EU Parliament and Council to confirm the RED Directive.

Dato’ Haji Aliasak Bin Haji Ambia, President of the National Association of SmallHolders (NASH), said:

“We are pleased the EU’s planned ban on Palm Oil biofuels from 2021 was rejected.  The ban was anti-WTO, protectionist, discriminatory, and totally unacceptable. No ban on Palm Oil will take place, and the European market will remain open to Palm Oil biofuels.

“This is a cause for celebration for all Malaysians, especially the 650,000 small farmers and our families across the country. All those in Europe who lobbied for a Palm Oil ban were really lobbying for poverty and hardship for Malaysians.

“Members of the European Parliament sought to sentence Malaysia’s Small Farmers to a life of poverty. They have stated already their plan to control Palm Oil again after 2019 through ILUC and a new regulation on Palm Oil imports for food. This is more of the same: discrimination and unequal treatment.  The fight continues.”


Here Are The Facts:

The Original Ban

On 17th January 2018, the EU Parliament demanded three very simple things:

  1. Total ban on all palm oil biofuels under the RED
  2. The ban to begin immediately in January 2021
  3. No other oil crops would be subjected to this criteria or discrimination. Only palm oil.

All three of these points have been deleted from the final RED Compromise Agreement on 13th June 2018. The EU ban on Palm Oil has been defeated.

The Situation Today

The three EU demands were defeated, and replaced with the following in the RED compromise text:

  1. EU Commission will present a report in 2019 about how to calculate ILUC and HCS emissions from biofuels considered “High Risk.” No specific crop is targeted.
  2. Based on the new EU report on high risk biofuels, some biofuels will be capped at their 2019 import level. There will be no ban on any crop. No specific crop is currently targeted for a phase-out.
  3. Based on the new EU report, some biofuels may be gradually phased out from 2024-2030. There will be no ban on any crop. No specific crop is targeted, as of today.

Palm oil is not mentioned, or targeted, at all in the new text.

It is entirely inaccurate to state that palm oil has been banned or phased out under the RED. That statement no longer exists in the final RED text.

Looking Ahead

The EU Commission’s planned report on ILUC and High Carbon Stock in 2019 will be the beginning of the next battle over Palm Oil biofuels. ILUC has been condemned as junk science by economists and experts worldwide. Opponents will now attempt to use ILUC and HCS as the vehicles to restrict the future use of Palm Oil biofuels in Europe.

Draft version of the RED Compromise Text – Article 25

In case the contribution from biofuels and bioliquids, as well as from biomass fuels consumed in transport, produced from food and feed crops in a Member State is limited to a share lower than 7% and/or a Member State decides to limit the contribution further, that Member State may accordingly reduce the overall share referred to in the first sub-paragraph.

The contribution to the targets set out in Article 3(1) and Article 25(1) from high indirect land-use change risk food or feed crop-based biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels produced from crops for which a significant expansion of the production area into land with high carbon stock is observed, shall not exceed the level of consumption in 2019 in the Member State, unless they are certified as low indirect land-use change-risk biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels pursuant to []. As of 31 December 2023, their contribution shall decrease gradually to reach a contribution of 0% by 31 December 2030 at the latest. 

The Commission shall submit, by 1 February 2019, to the European Parliament and the Council a report on the status of production expansion of relevant food and feed crops worldwide and shall adopt, by 1 February 2019, a delegated act setting out the criteria for certification of low indirect land-use change-risk biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels and for establishing the high indirect land-use change risk feedstocks for which a significant expansion of the production area into land with high carbon stock is observed. The report and the accompanying delegated act shall be based on the best available scientific data.


Faces of Palm Oil is a joint project of the National Association of Small Holders (NASH), the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA), the Dayak Oil Palm Planters Association (DOPPA), the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (SALCRA) and the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) that seeks to advocate on behalf of Malaysian smallholders. To learn more, visit FacesOfPalmOil.org

Equal Treatment for Palm Oil Biofuels, Demand Malaysian Small Farmers

EU “Compromises” on Palm Oil Must Respect WTO and Non-Discrimination

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysia’s small farmers set out their expectations as the EU institutions enter their fifth Trilogue negotiation over the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), on Wednesday 13th June.

EU leaders are split on how Palm Oil imports will be treated under the RED: MEPs have called for a total ban; the French Government proposed a freeze on Palm Oil imports; now new compromise proposals have been tabled calling for the EU Commission to investigate feedstocks expanding into “high carbon stock” land.

The National Association of SmallHolders (NASH) sets out that any compromise must treat Palm Oil equally; must respect WTO rules; avoid non-scientific criteria such as ILUC; and reject politically-motivated terms such as “high carbon stock” (HCS).

Dato’ Haji Aliasak Bin Haji Ambia, President of the National Association of SmallHolders (NASH), said:

“EU leaders, Ministers and Ambassadors have made multiple promises to Malaysian small farmers over many months. The only way we can trust Europe is if there is 100% equal treatment for Palm Oil biofuels. That is the only fair, just and WTO-acceptable outcome from today’s Trilogue.

“That means:

  • No cap, freeze, or ban targeting Palm Oil;
  • No deceitful technical criteria, such as ILUC;
  • No reliance on unclear and undefined terms, such as HCS;
  • No WTO-incompatible targeting of non-EU feedstocks.

“Anything else would be a betrayal of Europe’s promises to Malaysia.  

“The EU claims to disagree with President Trump – but if the EU imposes any trade restrictions on Palm Oil biofuels it is clear that they are simply copying & pasting Trump’s anti-trade playbook to satisfy their domestic protectionist lobbies.”



Faces of Palm Oil is a joint project of the National Association of Small Holders (NASH), the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA), the Dayak Oil Palm Planters Association (DOPPA), the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (SALCRA) and the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) that seeks to advocate on behalf of Malaysian smallholders. To learn more, visit FacesOfPalmOil.org.