The World Bank has just released their long-awaited guidelines for engagement in the global palm oil sector. This announcement follows an 18-month consultation process, in which the Malaysian Palm Oil Council participated.
With their announcement they lifted the misguided suspension of financing for palm oil investments. This is commendable, but MPOC remains deeply disappointed by the outcome of the consultation process, and continues to voice its concern over the direction, intent and impact this framework will have on the growth and development of the global palm oil sector. The process produced a result which observes the Bank drifting away from its development mandate, failing to take into account the concerns of stakeholders and ignoring the Bank’s own analysis demonstrating palm oil’s importance to poverty alleviation.
Unfortunately, the World Bank’s new guidelines continue to endorse the misleading and unwarranted claims made by environmental NGOs against the palm oil industry. It’s unfortunate that the World Bank Group continues to believe that palm oil is unsustainable that it warrants higher environmental standards than any other oilseed or agricultural crop in the developing world. These far reaching regulations will stifle the future of the industry.
The Bank’s actions are especially concerning given a rapidly growing global population where three billion more people will need access to food and the many hundreds of millions that still currently live on less than USD$2.00 per day. MPOC will continue to press the case that palm oil is the anchor of that global strategy.