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Certification Does Not Eliminate the Mandatory of Due Diligence

By: Teguh Iman Affandi

Referring to the European Union Deu Diligence Regulation (EUDDR) proposal, even though it has ISPO and RSPO certificates, palm oil commodities are still required to undergo due diligence if they enter the European Union market.

“Unfortunately, having a certificate does not become a green passport or green card in this draft regulation,” said Mardi Minangsari, President of Kaoem Telapak, at the Journalist Learning Forum, Wednesday, August 31, 2022. However, according to Minangsari, having a certificate can be positive due to providing additional information for palm oil importers to carry out the due diligence.

In the oil palm industry in Indonesia, there is a certification scheme that must be followed by business actors, namely the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification. This certification is to ensure that the palm oil production process has sustainability aspects. There is also a Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification scheme, but this certification scheme is not mandatory, but voluntary.

If implemented, the EUDDR will require importers to check and ensure the commodity is legal and does not originate from deforestation activities. Several commodities are regulated, one of which is palm oil.

The European Union will also apply benchmarking to producing countries. “The benchmarking results will place producing countries in three risk categories; low, medium, and high risk. Countries that fall into the high-risk category will be checked more often,” said Minangsari.

In addition, in this regulation, the traceability of a commodity is pivotal. “They even apply geolocation, the coordinate point where one product is harvested,” said Minangsari.

Smallholders harvested the palm oil

Currently, the EUDDR is still being discussed in the European Union Parliament. June 2022, the Environment Committee has already issued amendments to the EUDDR. The results of the revision are even more stringent, especially regarding product coverage. “Commodities of pork, chicken, and rubber will also be regulated,” said Minangsari.

In terms of legal compliance, EUDDR does not only talk about land ownership. However, this rule also focuses on compliance with laws, one being regarding the fulfilment of human rights, using international instruments. “According to the proposal of the European Union Parliament, this must be strengthened because it is feared that if it refers to standards in producing countries, it will become an imbalance because there is one country that is legally better than other countries,” said Minangsari.

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