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Presenting PemPem’s supply chain management solution to the EU Commission’s Multi-Stakeholder Platform on Protecting and Restoring the World’s Forests

Joann De Zegher

Apr 25, 2024

Following a preliminary meeting with members of the EU Commission Expert Group on April 19th, PemPem Founder and CEO Joann de Zegher was invited to present PemPem’s realizations in providing traceability for smallholders in the palm fruit supply chain during the April 24 27th Meeting of the Multi-Stakeholder Platform on Protecting and Restoring the World’s Forests.

The online meeting was an occasion for members of the Expert Group to discuss the Team Europe Initiative (TEI) on Deforestation-free Value Chains, and to hear from field experts and practitioners working with smallholders to develop traceability solutions.

De Zegher described to the assembled members how PemPem is enabling supply chain traceability through PemPem’s Niaga For Farmers and Niaga For Mills products. Transactions are fully enacted in the PemPem app, from posting daily fruit prices, to organizing transport from farm to mill, to making secure electronic payments. Farmers are assured of a fair price and secure transactions, while the data generated by transactions is used to guarantee traceability, in compliance with the European Union’s Regulation on Deforestation-free products

The Regulation, which came into force on 29 June 2023 aims to reduce the EU’s impact on global deforestation and forest degradation by promoting the consumption of ‘deforestation-free’ products. Niaga For Farmers and Niaga For Mills are currently deployed in Indonesian smallholder palm fruit supply chains while other commodity markets (notably rubber, due to its particular traceability challenges) regulated by the EU law are currently being evaluated by PemPem.  

Furthermore, de Zegher underscored to members a crucial distinction between establishing smallholder farm perimeters (polygon mapping) and providing reliable data on the precise origin of harvested fruit. On its own, polygon mapping is an incomplete method, inadequate for the purposes of compliance with the EU Regulation on Deforestation-free products. Only when polygon data is coupled with traceable transactions is it possible to ensure Regulatory compliance. 

Compliance with the EU Regulation is not only possible, it’s entirely feasible and, according to de Zegher, it is essential to proceed with its implementation without delay in order to steer the industry towards sustainable practices. Although some clarification is still needed on technical definitions for what constitutes compliance, she is quite confident that implementation on a broad scale is possible, and indeed has already been able to witness benefits of traceability both for smallholders and for forests. 

De Zegher concluded, “We’re on the right track, and it’s important that the EU move forward with implementing the Regulation on Deforestation-free products. There are service providers, like PemPem, that are actually out there and making it possible today for farmers to be compliant.” 

About the Deforestation Platform 

The EU Commission's Expert Group - Multi-Stakeholder Platform on Protecting and Restoring the World's Forests aims to provide advice and assistance to the Commission in the preparation of legislative proposals and policy initiatives, the preparation of delegated acts and the implementation of Union legislation, programmes and policies in relation to the protection and the restoration of World’s forests, including illegal logging, as well as coordination and cooperation with Member States and stakeholders in that regard. 

To learn more about how the new EU Regulation can achieve deforestation-free supply chains, check out this opinion piece by Joann De Zegher, published on Project Syndicate.  

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