Palm Oil Illustration (Photo: Pixabay)

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories)—Indonesian government won a legal challenge against an advertisment over Indonesian palm oil advertisement in Lyon, France.

Indonesian Trade Promotion Center (ITPC) in Lyon published an advertisement with information ‘L’huile de palme Indonésienne est plus durable et plus écologique’ or ‘Indonesia’s palm oil is more sustainable and more environmentally friendly’. The ads aimed to raise consumer awareness of sustainable palm oil in Indonesia.

The advertisement was reported to the French advertising ethics commission (Jury de Deontologie Publicitaire/JDP) on November 25, 2017, over accusations that the claims are untrue and unfounded. JDP Secretariat asked ITPC Lyon to solicit data to support Indonesia’s claim on more sustainable and more ecological palm oil on December 8, 2017. The letter was responded on January 9, 2018, and ITPC Lyon sent data requested by the JDP. On January 15, 2018, the reporting party chose to continue complaining.

The case culminated in a hearing session, June 1, 2018. During the hearing, the Indonesian delegation was led by the Director of Trade Security of the Ministry of Trade, Pradnyawati. The Indonesian delegation consisted of representatives of the Indonesian Embassy in Paris, representatives of the Indonesian Palm Oil Entrepreneurs Association, and the Secretariat of Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil.

The case was finalized by the Indonesian Ministry of Trade, the Indonesian Embassy in Paris, and the legal counsel of the Government of Indonesia until finally won by the Government of Indonesia. Thus, the advertisement of Indonesian palm oil published ITPC Lyon has certainly not violated any rules.

“The result of the JDP decision is a legal victory for Indonesia because the decision of the JDP does not meet the complainant of the reporting party, which considers the ITPC Lyon advertisement incorrect and unfounded,” said Trade Ministry’s Director General for Foreign Trade in a press release on Tuesday (26/06).

After the decision is read out, the reporting parties and reported party are given 15 working days starting on June 15, 2018, to file an appeal before the decision is published on the JDP website.

The conclusion of the JDP decision acknowledges the data and documents submitted by ITPC Lyon during the examination indicating the evolution of legislation and certification of palm oil production in Indonesia. This leads to more sustainable and more environmentally friendly palm oil production. However, the information is not clearly stated in the advertisement.

In addition, the complainant complaint is not part of the JDP decision. Thus, it can be concluded that the JDP agrees substantively that ITPC Lyon’s advertising does not violate the rules of the use of sustainable development terminology.

However, one of the JDP’s decisions on the Indonesian palm oil advertisement is the clarity of the message. First, the advertiser must indicate in the advertisement on how the activity or products has the quality as claim. The second point, if an explanation is required, must be clear, readable or audible, and must comply with the requirements of reference to the French advertising authority (de l’Aurhorite de regulation professionnelle de la publicite / ARPP).

Despite the victory, Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said Indonesia should remain vigilant in guarding Indonesian palm oil. European Union (EU) previously softened its stance on the use of palm oil among its member countries starting 2030 from earlier proposed a ban by 2021.

The palm oil ban potentially harms Indonesia and Malaysia’s economy since the both are the biggest palm oil exporters in the world. For the both countries, the EU is the second biggest palm oil importer after India.

Last year, Indonesian exported a total of 28 million tonnes of crude palm oil (CPO), valued at US$23 billion, contributed to 12 percent of the country’s export. While Malaysia produced around 19.5 million tonnes last year with an export value of $25 billion.

Email: fauzulmuna@theinsiderstories.com

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