For many of us 2020 has been a difficult year. COVID- 19 forced us to work from home and the EPOA strategy, heavily depending on cooperation and networking needed strong adaptations.
In line with safety guidelines we changed to working online and many of you may relate to the steep learning curve of getting acquainted with a wide range of online meeting tools. We even hosted our shared Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue as an online Conference and with great effort of the co-organizer’s team we managed to set an example for the industry.
Despite the challenges, EPOA managed to publish and communicate a position paper on regulation, indicating that non-discriminatory EU-wide regulatory measures are necessary to create a sustainable deforestation-free palm oil market; EPOA increased its visibility on social media and started to implement an influencer strategy resulting in a steadily growing public presence and appreciation; together with IDH and Solidaridad, EPOA helped activate the Sustainable Palm Oil Choice (SPOC) with social media communication, webinars, and the recently published 8 steps to become a front runner in sustainable palm oil; an Extended Family Group was set up to share information and learnings in a more easily accessible Teams setting; and in addition, a bi-weekly newsletter was set up informing our stakeholders of developments related to sustainable palm oil and of the progress being made.
At the country level, we saw the launch of the Danish Alliance for Responsible Palm Oil on 23 November 2020, totaling the number of national initiatives to 14 and adding to the industry and government base active in support of palm oil in Europe. Despite heavy setbacks, the work at the national initiatives in the European in the countries sustained, resulting in an impressive 86% of sustainable palm oil imported for food, feed and oleochemicals in Europe.
I am very grateful to the EPOA team, our members and our partners for their support in 2020 and the continued commitment for 2021. The nonstop efforts show our true belief that sustainable palm oil is a key food ingredient to help feed the world, to help protect biodiversity and improve socio-economic development and overall contributes to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
I look forward to meeting all of you again in person in 2021 and to work together to increase our impact and achieve our goal of full sustainable palm oil market transformation in Europe!
Wishing you a joyous holiday season and a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.
Chairman European Palm Oil Alliance