Real change starts with real dialogue  

While we are already halfway into 2021, the COVID pandemic that started in 2019 still has a firm grip on the world around us and we sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe.

When experiencing global issues such as COVID; widespread reoccurring heat waves; floods; insect plagues; and rapid intense weather changes, we are constantly reminded of the need for urgent change of our business as usual. The globally interconnected disasters underline the fact that we are facing worldwide problems that need to be addressed at a global scale. More and more NGOs, companies, governments as well as consumers all over the world choose to change the impact we have on the world around us. But global change of complex problems does not come with a simple decision or solution. It requires understanding of the full scale of the problem and appreciation of the need for complex multi stakeholder alignment.

In the current economic trade environment, change requires both big global approaches as well as small community driven change. It requires good listening skills to not only explain what we see as a problem and solution from our perspective. And to enter in a genuine dialogue with all players and truly aim to understand and overcome problems of those that are reluctant or unable to change.

Nobody said it would be easy. The world has become more and more globally interdependent. Supply chains, especially that of sustainable palm oil, have become the stage of many important players. Fortunately, there is also an upside of COVID 2019: there is more and more acceptance and technical support available to meet online and engage with people around the world who would normally not be able to join.

With this years’ online Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue conference, and with support of our partner IDH and our sponsors RSPO and CGF, EPOA hopes to provide a platform for real dialogue and give all players a voice on stage.

During the conference, we will reflect on our commitments for 2020. What have we done and what was achieved. And more importantly, what still needs to be done and how will our actions impact and benefit the world at a global scale. We will zoom in on how sustainable palm oil can accelerate action towards positive social impact and how we can switch gears from stopping deforestation to forest positive action.

We hope to meet many of you and your peers on 27, 28 and 29 September.

We also hope that you will forward the invitation for SPOD 2021 to those that normally would or could not join, and are missing out on the dialogue and round tables.

Real change starts with real dialogue, and dialogue starts with all of us. Let’s keep up the conversation and make our actions count globally.

Frans Claassen

Chair European Palm Oil Alliance