New report: EU biofuel proposal a futile effort to curb productive land use in Asia - The European Parliament is set to vote on a proposal that adds additional burdens for renewable fuels being exported to Europe under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED). The proposed new requirement to report or calculate additional carbon emissions is a vain attempt to regulate land use outside Europe. Even modelling produced for the European Commission itself demonstrated that the proposed policy would have no significant impact.

A recent report by World Growth shows how the burdensome ILUC reporting requirements will simply add new obsta
cles to imports from non-European biofuel producers. Continue reading

New Report: Smallholders – Costs and Challenges of Small-Farmer Certification

In June 2012, members of the United Nations reconfirmed the UN consensus on sustainable development which was adopted at the Rio Earth Summit 20 years ago.  It stipulates that action to ensure sustainability should go hand in hand with action to raise living standards.

A campaign to require smallholders to be certified as RSPO-compliant breaches that consensus.  It elevates environmental outcomes over economic outcomes, undermining national strategies to raise living standards.  It also requires producers to disregard national policies set by governments.

It is being run by large ENGOs, in particular WWF; and prominent food retailers who have a commercial stake in reducing the attractiveness of palm oil in food processing.  Continue reading

The Development Tragedy – How Donor Aid Priorities and Land Use Policies Threaten Food Security

British Prime Minister David Cameron recently announced a Hunger Summit to coincide with the Olympic Games. The Summit was announced after the May G8 meeting where eight of the nations pledged to speed up progress on combating hunger and malnutrition and the recent announcement by United States President Barack Obama which launched the new alliance for food security and nutrition. Continue reading

Grappling with Inordinate Uncertainty; Measuring the Carbon Footprint of Tropical Land-Use Change

June 2011 – A Study by World Growth

It is fashionable to consider the ‘carbon footprint’ that day-to-day activities of humans have on planet earth. The rationale for this concept is that it will give us a readily understood indication of the emissions of certain gases – especially carbon dioxide and methane – that are implicated in raising the earth’s temperature and the level of the sea which has become the focus of much contemporary concern in the community. The published research has concentrated on primary forest and permanent grassland. Little has been published on secondary forest or degraded forestland. Continue reading

World Bank’s New Anti Poor Palm Oil Policy

May 2011 – Green Papers: Issue VIII

The World Bank Group and International Finance Corporation have released the Final Framework for Engagement in the Palm Oil Sector. The Framework will have wide ranging negative impacts on the growth and development opportunities from palm oil industry in developing nations. The Framework retains the most harmful elements of the original strategy and will move the World Bank Group further away from its mandate to reduce poverty and establish it as an international environmental regulator. It will hinder attempts to expand food production to meet growing demand and rising prices. Through this Framework the World Bank clearly establishes Continue reading

The Economic Benefit of Palm Oil to Indonesia

February 2011 – A Study by World Growth

Indonesia is one of the world’s largest producers of palm oil and the industry has been the economy’s most valuable agricultural export sector for the past decade. The palm oil industry is a significant contributor to production in Indonesia. In 2008, Indonesia produced over 18 million tonnes of palm oil. The industry also contributes to regional development as a significant source of poverty alleviation through farm cultivation and downstream processing. Palm oil production provides a reliable form of income for a large number of Indonesia’s rural poor, Continue reading

World Bank’s Revised Palm Oil Strategy Undermines Economic Development & Restricts Global Markets

February 2011 – A Submission by World Growth

World Growth has reviewed the revision by the World Bank of its proposed framework for engagement in palm oil following further comments from stakeholders. The new text now refers to many of the concerns raised by Governments, interest groups in developing countries and World Growth that the draft strategy disregarded the Bank’s obligation to advance economic development. Unfortunately, that improvement means little, because the original strategy proposed by the Bank remains basically unaltered. It continues to subordinate reduction of poverty and expansion of Continue reading

Palm Oil and Food Security: The Impediment of Land Supply; How Environmentalists and “No Conversion” are Inflating Food Prices

December 2010 – A study by World Growth

Over the past three decades, the price of palm oil in real terms has fallen by around 1 percent per annum, which represents a major improvement in food security for consuming countries. If palm oil had not been grown commercially, its land would have been reallocated to alternative uses but less vegetable oil would have been produced, other things being equal. The real price of the vegetable oils would have risen and food security would have suffered, particularly in Asia and Africa. An examination of the “no conversion” position in relation to palm oil makes it clear that Continue reading

The Issue of Indirect Land Use Change Associated with Biofuel Consumption; Submission to the European Commission

October 2010 – A Submission by World Growth

The EU Renewable Energy Directive directs the European Commission to prepare a report on the issue of indirect land use change associated with biofuel consumption.  The Commission is expected to present its report to the European Parliament and the European Council in December 2010.  Early in 2010 the Commission commissioned a number of analyses of different aspects of the issue. These analyses consist of three modelling analyses of the greenhouse impacts of indirect land use change, together with a review of the literature on this subject.  The Commission has Continue reading

The RSPO and a Carbon Intensity Standard — Issues, Facts and Necessity

October 2010 – Green Papers: Issue VI

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil has come under significant scrutiny and criticism recently from environmental NGOs. This criticism has centred on a claimed failure of the RSPO to uphold and improve sustainability criteria for palm oil. Pressure from NGOs to tighten sustainability requirements and adopt criteria and principles to demonstrate compliance with a carbon footprint is growing. There is, however, no reason to adopt one. The latest proposals before the RSPO to introduce a carbon standard lack the necessary scientific or social impact analysis to Continue reading