On Tuesday, September 27, 2022, representatives of Wilmar Europe Holdings B.V and representatives of the Gremial de Palmicultores de Guatemala (GREPALMA) signed an agreement that will allow the sharing of information from GREPALMA associates that are being monitored by satellite by the Dutch organization Satelligence with the objective set to ensure zero deforestation of the Guatemalan oil palm sector.
This unprecedented alliance will also allow joint actions to focus efforts on environmental conservation and restoration projects, promoting shared responsibility in the value chain.
“Wilmar is one of the largest buyers and traders of palm oil in Europe that has a firm commitment to no deforestation, so we share the common goal of promoting and ensuring the free deforestation palm oil production. Through this alliance, Wilmar will have access to satellite information so that they, as part of the Guatemalan palm oil agribusiness value chain, can support and ensure that companies that are part of the Guatemalan palm growers’ association advance satisfactorily in the compliance with zero deforestation, thus ensuring a sustainable growth of palm oil”, mentioned Karen Rosales, Executive Director of GREPALMA.
In 2019, GREPALMA and its associates signed the Public Declaration of Voluntary Commitment to Zero Deforestation and developed the Satellite Study for the sustainable development of palm oil production in Guatemala carried out between 2020 and 2021 by Satelligence , an internationally supported organization specializing globally in scalable processing of optimal radar and satellite imagery.
Based on the results of the study, satellite monitoring was established to verify compliance with the Zero Deforestation commitment assumed by GREPALMA and its associates, with the technical support of Satelligence. To date they have verified that from October 2020 to the first half of 2022 zero hectares have been deforested for palm cultivation on farms associated with GREPALMA.
In the international market there are more and more requirements associated with ensuring a sustainable production of palm oil. The European Union is promoting regulations in environmental and social matters, for example the initiative to avoid the importation of products with associated deforestation. Being in Guatemala palm oil, the main export product to Europe, this supported satellite evidence becomes a key element to ensure access to the market.
“Wilmar support efforts related to no deforestation as part of its sustainability policy. Providing concrete and supported evidence on the non-deforestation in the supply chain is relevant for the European Union. We must talk about a co-responsibility for a clean supply chain; for this it is necessary to work together and in alliance. With the satellite monitoring that GREPALMA is carrying out of the areas of its associates they can demonstrate no deforestation and it is easier to face these European regulations and that information for us as buyers is essential”, emphasized Daphne Hameeteman, Sustainability Leader at Wilmar during his participation in a panel of experts within the framework of the XX Palm Oil Conference, held in Cartagena, Colombia.