The German government is expecting global palm oil production to grow and is calling for “globally coordinated measures to implement deforestation-free cultivation”, according to a response to a parliamentary inquiry first reported on by the German press agency (dpa) on Tuesday.
“Due to the almost unrivalled yields, interest in the cultivation of palm oil is likely to increase even further and will also expand in other tropical countries,” according to the response by the Germany Ministry of Agriculture sent to Xinhua.
The German government noted that it did not fundamentally oppose the use or import of palm oil. Instead, the goal was “sustainable palm oil production without negative environmental and climate impacts, while respecting the rights of the local populations”.
According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), palm oil imports to Germany have declined significantly in recent years. Whereas Germany imported just under 1.4 million tons of palm oil in 2016, the figure fell to just under 700,000 tons last year, according to the Destatis figures.
The German Green Party is demanding an EU-wide import ban on palm oil which has been grown on former rainforest areas. “We need clear certificates on the ecological and social sustainability of the palm oil used, as well as full transparency and traceability in the supply chains,” said Steffi Lemke, spokesperson for nature conservation policy for the Green Party.
In addition, Lemke called for the German government to present a strategy for reducing the overall consumption of palm oil. According to the German government, most of the palm oil imported to Germany last year came from Indonesia, followed by Honduras, Malaysia and Colombia. More than half of the palm oil in Germany was used for the production of biodiesel in 2017, according to a study cited by the German government in its response to the parliamentary question.