WWF Indonesia: Trade War Will Not Solve Problems

News 25, Apr 2018

BALI – WWF Indonesia believes that a trade war in vegetable oils will not solve the problem. To counter this, WWF Indonesia encourages continuous positive campaigning and certification within the ISPO.

“To respond to trade war or negative campaigns from Europe, we must encourage positive campaigns. We do not need panic or be emotional, because we are taking (transformation) steps,” said Director of Policy, Sustainability and Transformation of WWF Indonesia, Aditya Bayunanda, at the ICOPE 2018 Press Conference, in Bali, Wednesday (25/4).

According to Aditya, ISPO needs to be more encouraged to show a positive image of Indonesia’s sustainable palm oil. “These facts need to be continuously campaigned,” he said.

Daud Dharsono, President Director Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food, has similar response regarding how to overcome the negative campaign against Indonesian palm oil. The palm oil industry needs to unite with researchers and NGOs, to create a positive campaign. “Palm oil is the most efficient and most productive oil. The campaign should be conducted systematically, massively, and on a scientific basis. Positive campaigns should be supported by the government, NGOs, also by research institutes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, DarminNasution, said the government would take a tough diplomacy step if trade negotiations related to Europe’s negative campaign against Indonesian palm oil were hampered. “The threat has been long happening, so this is not new. We will certainly start from the persuasive way. If it works, good. Otherwise, we will take the step to bargain harder,” he said.

Darmin believes that palm oil should not be blamed. “We use the land that has been logged from 30-60 years ago. If it is not planted with palm oil, the land will be destroyed. By planting with palm oil that has very high productivity, we guarantee the fulfillment of world demand for vegetable oil and its derivatives. So, logically palm oil cannot be abandoned because it is the most productive,” he said.

Therefore, Darmin sees ICOPE 2018 as a beneficial event which will create a joint solution for a sustainable palm oil industry. “The is an interesting event because all stakeholders sit together, planters, activists, owners of oil palm plantations, also with environmentalists, experts, who may be supportive or perhaps somewhat critical towards palm oil. But precisely because of their arrival, the event is so interesting, because their dialogue and discussion in it will have an impact, and bring about mutual understanding. In the end, the solution is collaboration, not mutually enduring in their respective positions. I think that’s the most important thing,” he said. (*)