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Orangutan Habitat

Volume 455: debated on Friday 26 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and (b) others on the destruction of the habitat of the orangutan due to the increased demand for palm oil in the UK. (116859)

I have been asked to reply.

I have had no recent discussion with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry or others on this issue. Following my discussions with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil in Malaysia in June last year, I reported to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State about the loss of habitat to oil palm in that country.

In the UK sustainable development strategy, “Securing the Future” (http://www.sustainable-development.gov.uk/ publications/uk-strategy/uk-strategy-2005.htm) we make clear that the Government are very conscious that increasing consumption of goods and services in the UK can have environmental and social consequences overseas. We believe that one of the best ways to deliver more sustainable patterns of consumption and production is through effective partnerships between all stakeholder groups.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a good example of this approach, involving palm oil growers, environmental organisations, and manufacturers and retailers of products containing palm oil in the development of criteria for more sustainable palm oil production. RSPO are running a number of practical projects to facilitate the implementation of sustainable best practice. More information about the Round Table is available at www.sustainable-palmoil.org