Palm Oil: A Needed Factor in the Great Reset

There are grand visions of how developed countries must play a role in how countries develop with the upgrading of trade agreements to advance equality and sustainability in every sector. These visions are shared by the world’s top palm oil producing countries of Indonesia and Malaysia which have worked to bring development to every far-flung village in their countries so that no one is left behind. Unfortunately, a nasty impact of The Fourth Industrial Revolution for these countries is the use of technology to shame their efforts towards developed status.

The European Union whose citizens have one of the heaviest ecological impacts worldwide has grand ambitions to “lead the world in sustainable development.”

According to a report by the EU Commission:
“Over 40 years, Europe has put in place some of the world’s highest environmental standards and ambitious climate policies and championed the Paris Agreement. The EU has all it needs to improve its competitiveness, invest in sustainable growth and spur action by governments, institutions and citizens, leading the way for the rest of the world. Using the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a compass, the reflection paper identifies key enablers for the transition towards sustainability.”

“Over 40 years, Europe has put in place some of the world’s highest environmental standards and ambitious climate policies and championed the Paris Agreement. The EU has all it needs to improve its competitiveness, invest in sustainable growth and spur action by governments, institutions and citizens, leading the way for the rest of the world. Using the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a compass, the reflection paper identifies key enablers for the transition towards sustainability.”

However, European environmental group, Friends of the Earth Europe, criticized the ambitions of Europe’s Green Deal for a sustainable EU for failing to slam the brakes on the planetary emergency we all face as global citizens.

Global Citizen, the website, pointed to European countries’ failings by highlighting their position in the Sustainable Development Goals in a pandemic wracked time.

The report by Global Citizen runs contrary to the “Great Reset” which was popularized by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in May 2020, amidst one of the worst economic periods in recent times. The WEF’s “Great Reset” is not to be confused with “The Great Reset” first published in 2017 by economist John Maudlin of Maudlin Economics.

According to Klaus Schwab, WEF’s founder and Executive Chairman, the Great Reset agenda would have three main components.

The first would steer the market toward fairer outcomes. To this end, governments should improve coordination (for example, in tax, regulatory, and fiscal policy), upgrade trade arrangements, and create the conditions for a “stakeholder economy.”

The second component of a Great Reset agenda would ensure that investments advance shared goals, such as equality and sustainability.
The third and final priority of a Great Reset agenda is to harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to support the public good, especially by addressing health and social challenges. Imagine what could be possible if similar concerted efforts were made in every sector.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (another popular WEF concept) presents a fundamental change in the way we live, work and relate to one another. “It is a new chapter in human development, enabled by extraordinary technology advances commensurate with those of the first, second and third industrial revolutions. These advances are merging the physical, digital and biological worlds in ways that create both huge promise and potential peril. The speed, breadth and depth of this revolution is forcing us to rethink how countries develop…”

Klaus went on to say:

“…how organisations create value and even what it means to be human… The real opportunity is to look beyond technology and find ways to give the greatest number of people the ability to positively impact their families, organisations and communities.”

These are grand visions of how developed countries must play a role in how countries develop with the upgrading of trade agreements to advance equality and sustainability in every sector.

These visions are shared by the world’s top palm oil producing countries of Indonesia and Malaysia which have worked to bring development to every far-flung village in their countries so that no one is left behind.

Unfortunately, a nasty impact of The Fourth Industrial Revolution for these countries is the use of technology to shame their efforts towards developed status.

An example of these efforts to shame palm oil producing countries is Value Walk, a website that purports to be “a highly regarded, non-partisan site providing unique coverage on hedge funds, large asset managers, and value investing.”

What does Value Walk think of the WEF’s position on sustainable development?

Value Walk calls it socialism and rips into WEF and Klaus Schwab’s vision of an equitable planet with this critique.

The conflicting positions between the two groups would be entertaining if the livelihoods of millions of palm oil farmers were not caught up in their arguments about sustainability. Value Walk, which is known for its damning reports on palm oil has capitalized on technology with the help of satellite mapping from Netherlands based Aidenvironment and disseminates its criticism of palm oil through groups like the bombastically named “Climate Advisors” in America.

It is unfortunate to say the least, that even with the astounding advancements in satellite technology, that these satellites cannot see the people that live underneath the green canopies of Indonesia and Malaysia.
The fact that the palm oil industry has lifted so many out of poverty and given them a sense of what it means to be human and not mere forest savages must be brought out to the forefront of discussions on global sustainability.

When Will Palm Oil Producing Countries Get a Say in Global Sustainability?

To top off the discussions, palm oil producing countries must show through satellite mapping to have a higher level of forests than other tropical countries which produce little or non of it. The palm oil industries in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Colombia have shown that the industry is at once, an important source of revenue that powers the development of producer countries and provides affordable cooking oil for impoverished peoples in developing countries.

Seen in this light of the positive impacts of palm oil, it is irrefutable that this crop is the best solution to feed and fuel the needs of a booming human population. As the EU talks about Green Deals, circular economies and building back better, palm oil needs to be seen as a solution for the EU’s renewable energy needs. To continue pushing palm oil to a side will be to continue failing its pledges towards fighting climate change and its own Sustainable Development Goals.

The Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) should be seen a strategic stakeholder in strengthening existing national schemes for palm oil to create sustainability standards that would apply to all vegetable oils.