The French Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil is astonished at approval of an amendment to tax palm oil

The French Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil is astonished at approval of an amendment to tax palm oil when, just last month, France signed the “Amsterdam Declaration”

Paris, 22 January 2016:  An amendment proposed by the EELV-Les Verts group, designed to create an additional tax on palm oil, was passed by the French Senate yesterday. The French Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil has indicated the many errors and inconsistencies in this amendment and is astonished by its approval, which contradicts the objectives of the “Amsterdam Declaration” signed by France on 7 December 2015, seeking to achieve 100% sustainable palm oil in Europe by 2020. For French manufacturers, an increased tax on palm oil would jeopardise their efforts to develop sustainable palm oil, a battle in which France stands as a key leader. As such, the French Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil is astonished  at the approval of this amendment when,  just last 7 December, France, represented by the government’s Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, signed the “Amsterdam Declaration”, thus committing to support companies sourcing sustainable palm oil. Forget not that many NGOs agree that palm oil is a viable solution to meeting the growing global demand for vegetable oil while limiting expansion of agricultural lands, thereby avoiding deforestation: the challenge today is to transition the palm oil supply chain to greater sustainability. As far as nutritional matters are concerned, palm oil has never been recognised as being harmful to one’s health. In 2014, CREDOC assessed its role in the French diet and established its presence at 2.8g/day/person or 1kg/year/person, well below the figures presented in the amendment, the source of which is unknown. Lastly, contrary to what is set forth in this amendment, palm oil is far more heavily taxed than other oils. In fact, palm oil undergoes an average of six processing steps (from producer to manufacturer) and, at each step, is subject to payroll taxes and contributes to corporate tax. It is therefore quite legitimate that the tax on palm oil be lower than that levied on other oils, to preserve the competitiveness of French food companies.

Guillaume Réveilhac, President of the French Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil, stated as follows:

“The member companies of the French Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil, entities that demand excellence from their suppliers in terms of environmental sustainability, have the power to transform the sector on an international scale. If palm oil producers put an end to deforestation practices at the request of European manufacturers, this inherently impacts production sold in Asia, a main buyer. If we, the Alliance’s industrial members, no longer purchase palm oil tomorrow, what catalyst will remain to encourage producers to change their practices?”

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