The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) held its 53rd annual meeting in Montpellier, France, on 19 – 23 June 2016. The event gathered together 751 scientists and conservationists from 54 nations, marking the largest meeting of tropical biologists ever in Europe.
One main outcome from the meeting is the Montpellier Declaration, a statement which acknowledges and commends recent developments towards responsible palm oil production, including the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG). POIG was mentioned as one of the main examples of collaboration between environmental Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), palm oil producing companies, and buyers of palm oil. The document states that such collaborations have, “…led to an attitudinal shift towards sustainable oil palm plantation management”. The statement further highlights that joint efforts between European companies and NGOs have been critical to advancing the responsible palm oil agenda.
Equally significant, is the set of recommendations provided in the Declaration relating to the advancement of responsible palm oil. The recommendations are put forward in recognition of the important role the European consumer market plays, as well as the challenges that remain. One of the challenges mentioned, for example, relates to the gap between the successes in promoting and increasing the supply of responsible palm oil production, and the commitments of consumer companies to exclusively source responsible palm oil.
The stakeholders and stakeholder groups towards which the recommendations are addressed include: the European Union (EU), European Governments, EU financial institutions, and European retail and manufacturer sectors.
To view the recommendations, as well as the full statement, please download the Montpellier Declaration here.