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Sustainable palm? Let's kiss your hands. Another member of the Italian government in the RSPO court

Sustainable palm? Let's kiss your hands. After the curious exits of an Italian deputy minister of agriculture who pleaded for the protection of tropical fat, it is now the turn of the Minister for the Environment Gian Luca Galletti, on 6.6.16 in Amsterdam.

The Minister of the Environment in theory it should deal with the protection of the territory and the sea, as the name of the department itself refers. It has functions in the field of the environment, ecosystem, protection of marine and atmospheric heritage, Environmental Impact Assessment, etc. Instead, Galletti signed the 'Amsterdam declaration' on Tuesday committing countries to promote the use of 100% 'sustainable' palm oil by 2020.

Yet another staging of the palmocrats. Assuming that:

1) the sustainable palm is a false historical. They highlighted it well relationships of Environment Protection Agency and the European Commission. The environmental impact of palm trees is comparable to that of fossil fuels. With a not inconsiderable difference, while oil is mainly extracted from desert soils, palm oil is obtained from plantations eradicating biodiversity heritage, just like tropical forests,

2) 'certified' plantations currently as sustainable they are rarely identified in their geo-localization and orography. What existed on those huge tracts of land before the plantations? Huge areas of virgin forest, mostly, whose deforestation is rarely (if ever) documented. As if that were not enough, the statements made by the 50 leaders in the production of palm oil, 39 of which are RSPO 'certified', news escapes of 1 million hectares of crops compared to the 8,9 certificates. Forests are burning, despite the bans imposed in Indonesia itself, but no one admits it. To the point that the European Parliament itself, despite the opposing lobbies of palmocrats, denounced the unreliability of the certifications,

3) no one talks about the robbery of the lands, cd land grabbing. The violent deportation of the indigenous peoples who for centuries have inhabited the tropical forests devastated in the name of the palm tree is an international crime against humanity. A widely documented crime (1) and still ongoing, for which oil palm plantations are the primary motive. As well as causing the eradication of communities and cultures based on the relationship with the violated territories to make room for intensive mono-crops,

4) slavery, including minors to which workers of 'certified' plantations are subjected also escape the declarations of RSPO members. Although recently Amnesty International has documented in detail such unfair working conditions. In environments poisoned by neurotoxic pesticides, such as paraquat, which are banned in all palm oil user countries. The world is moving at two speeds, in the logic of neo-colonialism whose only beneficiaries are the small group of palmocrats and investment funds that speculate on the life of the planet.

Minister Galletti, in these days in Bologna to chair the G7 Environment, he affirms instead that 'Large national companies have been working with responsibility for some time, also obtaining authoritative certifications, so that their supply of palm fruit oil takes place in a sustainable way.' (2) At the service of whom, of which 'large national companies, (3) with what presumed responsibilities and against which allegedly' authoritative 'certifications? Words are worthless, we need precise and complete maps, documents, facts.

THE CONSUMERS - despite the extensive misinformation carried on by the palmocrats in recent years, and connivance of the European authorities and national - have already demonstrated their commitment to purchasing only products compatible with the protection of populations and workers, as well as the environment and health. In Italy as well as in France, Spain and also in Sweden.

Do we kiss hands? Maybe not. Rather, let's boycott any product - food, cosmetic and cleaning products - that contains palm oil. Until concrete guarantees are offered on the global moratorium on new plantations, and a truly reliable and transparent program is defined on the restoration of the rights of the environment and of the populations hitherto barbarously violated. To be subjected to certification by truly independent and representative bodies of the communities.

Facts not words.

Dario Dongo

(1) For up-to-date information on the ongoing land robbery, see the sites www.farmlandgrab.org e http://www.landmatrix.org/en/
(2) Source Ansa, http://www.ansa.it/canale_ambiente/notizie/natura/2017/06/06/italia-aderisce-ad-accordo-per-olio-di-palma-sostenibile_394922ad-42f8-4e25-a245-51ffb63ba00c.html
(3) On closer inspection, Italy has distinguished itself, once again positively, for being the first 'palm oil free' country https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/‘senza-olio-di-palma’-il-successo-del-vero-‘made-in-italy’-fa-breccia-nella-lobby-di-rspo, thanks to our petition https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/consum-attori/olio-di-palma/stop-all’olio-di-palma. With one exception https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/olio-di-palma-la-petizione-‘ferrero-ripensaci’

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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