Critical Scientists Switzerland and kritische Jurist*innen Bern organized an online event on the issue of sustainability through trade agreements with two renowned experts. Below you can find the slides of the speakers and some links to relevant documents.


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Material on the subject

The case of palm oil regulation in the currently debated trade agreement of Switzerland (and other EFTA states) with Indonesia raises the general question of whether and how sustainability concerns can and should be addressed through trade agreements. On the one hand, the trade agreement with Indonesia seems progressive by linking tariff concessions for palm oil to sustainability conditions (by referring to so-called Process and Production Method or PPMs). On the other hand, the trade agreement remains vague in its sustainability conditions and does not offer any robust legal mechanisms to control and enforce these conditions. The referendum against the trade agreement suggests that despite the PPM, sustainability concerns are not sufficiently addressed in the trade agreement. We would like to take a critical look at the legal and scientific basis for this position and arrive at a conclusion of how to address questions of sustainability in the example of palm oil more generally. For this purpose, we are going to address, for instance, the following questions:

  • How are sustainability concerns addressed in the agreement?
  • How are sustainability policies implemented on the ground and with what effects?
  • What does sustainability mean in policy documents?
  • How could one address the issue of sustaining ecosystems and livelihoods from another perspective?

We invited two speakers with profound knowledge on the subject to discuss these crucial questions with you:

  • Dr. iur. Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi (Centre for Development and Environment CDE / Bread for all)
  • Dr. Denis Ruysschaert (University Liège / Swissaid Geneva)
  • Moderated by Dr. Angelika Hilbeck (ETH Zürich / board member CSS)

The event will take place on
10 December at 18:00 on Zoom.
Places limited. Please register here.



Mobilization Material