This month, the RSPO Europe team collaborated with WWF-Poland to host the inaugural meeting of the Polish Forum on Sustainable Palm Oil in Warsaw. The meeting brought together over 90 key stakeholders from major retailers and consumer goods manufacturers, to regional zoos and environmental NGOs. All agreed that sustainable palm oil is the way forward in Poland, and that substitution was not an alternative.
Counting the cost of alternative oils
During the meeting, WWF-Poland released a study on the impact of Polish palm oil consumption on the global environment, including an in-depth analysis on the possibility of replacing it with other vegetable oils. The report found that substituting palm oil in Poland with alternative vegetable oils would generate the need to use more land, totalling 428,000 hectares, as much as 185,000 hectares of which is located in Asia. In addition, 46.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide would be generated as a result of the changes in land use, globally generating almost 32 per cent of the total carbon dioxide emissions in Poland.
Raising awareness of sustainable palm oil
Participants went on to discuss that there remains a relatively low awareness of sustainable palm oil amongst Polish consumers, but that approximately 63 per cent of those surveyed by WWF-Poland would be willing to pay more for Certified Sustainable Palm Oil in products. It was agreed that consumer pressure for sustainable products should be increased and that grassroots educational campaigns could help. The structure, remit, and mission of the Forum was explored in length and is due to be finalised at the next meeting in May. It is anticipated that key players will make a formal declaration of their commitment and sign an industry agreement to source more Certified Sustainable Palm Oil in Poland.