UFOP fears legalisation of loopholes for palm oil imports

Commission draft of a delegated act to regulate "low and high iLUC-risk biofuels" misses eco-political goal

Berlin, February 27, 2019 The draft of a delegated act regulating biofuels from cultivated biomass with a low or high risk of indirect land use (iLUC) presented last week by the European Commission is met with disapproval. The Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) fears that already occurred but also future deforestation will be legalized, in particular due to the special treatment for small plantations. The Union therefore calls on its members and other interested parties to participate in the consultation process of the EU Commission.

 In particular, the association cites the following points of criticism:

  1. Approval of cultivation on degraded areas. The UFOP demands proof that these areas have not been cultivated for at least ten years (instead of five years as planned).
  2. The criteria for raw materials must include all "raw materials". This includes the "waste" generated during processing, such as palm fatty acid distillates (PATH), for example.
  3. Documentation and certification of "additional" revenues that exceed the usual regional growth in earnings. Processes of how this can be proven in a permanent monoculture shall be submitted for examination.
  4. Designation or determination of so-called "unused" and degraded areas with low iLUC risk according to the sustainability requirements of RED II. Proof that cultivation / replanting is economical.
  5. The special regulations in favour of owners of small plantations basically signify the legalization of clearing areas. The UFOP fears that this number will increase considerably as a result of this "bypass incentive" and that this will even be forced by the large palm oil mills due to the existing dependency.
  6. The certification must demand for strict requirements (including witness audits).
  7. For these palm oil quantities, the same proof of origin (no mass balancing) is required, starting from the area yield up to the last interface (biofuel producer). The palm oil yield and the quantities of biofuel produced from it may not be different from the usual yields and process-related production quantities.
  8. Only systems approved by the EU Commission are eligible for certification. A state system must also be recognized by the EU Commission.

The UFOP demands that at the beginning of 2020, member states announce the national base quantity for domestic consumption of biofuels from palm oil on the basis of a reliable statistical survey audited by the EUCOM. In addition, the EU Commission must submit an impact assessment as soon as possible, to be used as a basis for further parliamentary discussion of the draft.

The UFOP established that the draft of a delegated act presented by the European Commission opposes the environmental objectives, and in particular the decision of the European Parliament of April 2017 to immediately prohibit palm oil use for biofuels.