UFOP welcomes vote to exclude palm oil for biofuel use

Berlin, 11th April 2017 – The European Parliament has approved the initiative report on the subject “Palm oil and the uprooting of rainforests” with an overwhelming majority. The European Parliament supports the move to exclude palm oil as a raw material for energetic use from 2020, at the same time acknowledging the sustainability of biofuels made from oil plants (rapeseed and sunflower) grown within Europe.

The Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) especially welcomes the decision and the request of the European Parliament to the EU Commission to establish regulations for excluding palm oil for energetic use from 2020. UFOP stresses that this step is long overdue with reference to the criticism repeatedly expressed by the Union that the consumer countries permit slash-and-burn deforestation despite the public sustainability debate on the future orientation of biofuel policy. However, the report explicitly certifies the sustainability for rapeseed and sunflowers if they are produced in the EU.

At the same time, these crop types are by far the most important domestic and GM-free protein source for animal feed, emphasises the UFOP. In 2015, for the first time more rapeseed meal than soya meal was used in Germany. The driving force of this demand is the increase in dairy products, eggs and beef products, which are distinguished by the label “without genetic modification”.
Rapeseed and sunflowers are unparalleled as bloomers in Northern and Southern Europe with their positive effects in crop rotations. However, the achieved acreage can only be economically stabilised if the biofuel market remains open as a sales option for sustainably certified rapeseed oil after 2020. UFOP demands that the cap for biofuels made from cultivated biomass already politically coordinated in the iLUC Directive in 2015 remains unchanged at 7 percent after 2020. However, the cap must be limited to crop types that at the same time supply high-quality protein or other high-quality animal feed as a by-product. The Union recalls that, with the iLUC Directive, the Member States are already authorised to define a lower cap nationally.

Instead of this, the Commission shall acknowledge the criticism expressed in the report on the quality of the certification systems approved by the Commission and implementation by the certification bodies to improve and inspect the sustainability criteria, confirms the UFOP. With the “GRAS Tool” promoted by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, a process-related sustainability certification beginning on the cultivated area or plantation is already possible through satellite monitoring. The mapping of the acquisition of land of small-scale farmers called for in the report could also be implemented in due course, emphasises the UFOP.