A new levy being implemented by France’s National Assembly, on palm oil imports from Malaysia and Indonesia, would be taxed 30 euros per ton in 2017 and rise to 90 euros per ton in 2020.
With France being a strongly progressive country – as of last year, its illegal for stores to waste food on purpose; furthermore, France led the way in green reform by requiring that all new buildings must have either solar panels or green garden on their rooftops. Now, France is striving to implement a tax on palm oil, which benefits the rainforests in Malaysia and Indonesia all the while protecting treasured wildlife.
The production of palm oil, a popular ingredient and commodity in a number of products including but not limited to snacks, cosmetics, and laundry detergent, has a devastating effect on the environment and the orangutan population of Sumatra. Within the last ten years, the population of orangutans has diminished by half because of habitat loss. To add a number to that, that means there are only 6,300 Sumatran orangutans alive. Furthermore, as workers clear the rainforest for the development and building of palm oil plantations, many primates are slaughtered or burned without concern.
When clearing the peat forest, 6,000 tons of carbon dioxide is released by clearing two square acres (or one hectare). Thankfully, France is trying to end this outrage. Despite the protests from the two largest palm oil producers in the world (Indonesia and Malaysia), the French National Assembly is progressive forward with the legislation. Initially, the tax was introduced at 300 euros per ton, the National Assembly did lower the tax, but is still maintaining there needs to be something done to protect the forests and wildlife.
Barbara Pompili, the Junior Minister for the environment in charge of biodiversity says, “The introduction into France’s fiscal legislation of a tax on products whose impact on deforestation is recognized worldwide, gives a strong signal by France in terms of environmental protection.” Although the legislation still needs to be reviewed by the Upper House, the bill is expected to pass by either May or June.
Not only can consumers boycott products that contain palm oil, but the governments need to take action as well – by weighing levies to such products; with any luck, there will be a decrease in consumption of these products, and solutions to save the flora and fauna will be prosperous as a result.