Saturday, January 22

Sabah to host palm oil meeting in November

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KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will host the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), its ninth Annual Roundtable Meeting on Sustainable Palm Oil (RT9), this year.

The announcement was made at a joint press conference between Industrial Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah on behalf of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima and the secretary general of RSPO, Darrel Webber.

The RT is the world’s largest meeting on sustainable palm oil organized annually by RSPO as a platform to exchange views and experiences among various stakeholders in developed and developing countries; and to strengthen their cooperation and support towards a unified vision.

Last year, the RT8 held in Jakatra attracted over 800 delegates from 30 countries and RSPO expects to welcome the same number this year.

“This year, Sabah has been given the honour to host the RT9 with its theme: “RSPO Certified. Transforming the Market, Together,” which will be held from November 22 to 24,” Webber said.

The secretary general of the RSPO also pointed out that 4.9 million tonnes of certified sustainable palm oil are produced globally every year and Malaysia contributes almost 50 per cent of the volume.

Sabah, he disclosed, produces 40 per cent of the certified sustainable palm oil in Malaysia.

“Sabah is becoming an ideal location to host many international conventions, with many factors contributing to its popularity. Amongst these would be its efficiency and infrastructure; intellectual and knowledge based capacity; its charm and appeal as a diverse and culturally rich heritage; as well as the beauty and magnificence of its bio diversity.

“Most importantly is that Sabah is highly committed to embracing world class sustainable practices in the production of certified sustainable palm oil. In fact, some of the first few mills certified within Malaysia are located in Sabah.

“And Sabah contributes to over 40 per cent total certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) production in Malaysia, which is the highest producer of CSPO in the world,” Webber added.

He also said that officials from both the state and federal governments would be invited to attend the meeting.

Musa, according to him, had also agreed to host and speak at the welcoming dinner for the participants of RT9.

Tan told reporters that the event was very significant as more and more internationally acclaimed platforms and events were being hosted in Sabah.

Sabah also seemed to be the host and grounds for numerous international knowledge based and bio diversity related assemblies, which is certainly gaining world stature, he said adding: “We are indeed very proud of this.”

“I am grateful towards the RSPO for spearheading the entire palm oil supply chain from upstream to downstream in guiding and motivating world class best practices in protecting our dwelling and our people for the future of all.

“It is precisely initiatives such as the RSPO that allow for Sabah to attract investors to develop our resources, introduce technology and up-skill the current workforce with best practices,” he stressed.

This year, the RSPO expects the RT9 to continue to be well received by the international scene as sustainably produced palm oil gains increasing interest, attention and momentum as the solution to concerns faced within the sector.

Already, the RT9 has delegates from 15 countries from both grower and consumer markets who have registered to attend. For more information about RT9 and how to register, please log on to www.rt9.rspo.org.

In response to the urgent and pressing global call for sustainably produced palm oil, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed in 2004 with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders.

The seat of the association is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is currently based in Kuala Lumpur with a satellite office in Jakarta.

RSPO is a not-for-profit association that unites stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry – oil palm producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental or nature conservation NGOs and social or developmental NGOs – to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.

Such multi-stakeholder representation is mirrored in the governance structure of RSPO such that seats in the executive board and project level working groups are fairly allocated to each sector.

In this way, RSPO lives out the philosophy of the “roundtable” by giving equal rights to each stakeholder group to bring group-specific agendas to the roundtable, facilitating traditionally adversarial stakeholders and business competitors to work together towards a common objective and making decisions by consensus.