On March 7, 2021 the Swiss population is called to vote on the economic partnership agreement between the EFTA-States and Indonesia.
Indonesia is, according to the department of foreign affairs, the third economic partner of Switzerland in South East Asia with more than 150 Swiss companies operating in this market and a strong potential for growth.
Among other objectives, the agreement strives to liberalize the trade of goods and services in a way to contribute to the objectives of sustainable development.
In the context of palm oil, the parties integrated a sustainable management of the vegetable oils sector and associated trade clause to the agreement. The parties commit to «effectively apply laws, policies and practices aiming at protecting primary forests (...), halting deforestation, peat drainage and fire clearing in land preparation (...).». Furthermore, a unilateral ordinance by the Swiss government is in preparation and will require sustainability certificates in order for palm oil to benefit from the agreement.
An interesting fact about palm oil and why it is widely used is its efficiency. According to the WWF's website, to produce the same amount of alternative oils a surface of land 4 to 10 times greater would be needed.