KUALA LUMPUR: Some 23 per cent or 1.34 million hectares out of 5.8 million hectares of oil palm plantations in the country have been certified under Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) as of November 2018.
In addition, a total of 119 refineries or 26 per cent of the total 454 refineries have obtained the MSPO certification.
The Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council (MPOCC) said the government had in May 2017 made it mandatory for all plantation companies and smallholders to obtain the MSPO certification by December 2019.
MPOCC chairman Datuk M Nagarajan said efforts to implement the MSPO certification scheme are now being undertaken actively following the increasing trend in demand for certified sustainable palm oil products at the global level.
He said although the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, a global initiative to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil, was established (in 2004), there was a great need to brand the local Malaysian palm oil products to the world, thus the MSPO was implemented on a voluntary basis in January 2015.
“MSPO allows us to develop our own certification scheme, subscribe to the best practices and to the environmental requirements, as well as ensuring the sustainable supply of palm oil in Malaysia.
“To support the MSPO scheme, the government has provided RM150 million worth of incentives for estate owners, processing facilities (mills, kernel crushers and refineries) and smallholders to finance the auditing cost for the MSPO certification process,” he told Bernama in an interview.
To-date, he said some RM4.69 million had been given as incentives to the palm industry to obtain the MSPO certification.
He said the process to get the MSPO certification required a period of between three and six months, encompassing preparation of documents, audit compliance and improvement measures before the certificates are issued.
Nagarajan said for smallholders operating plantation land of 40 hectares and below, the government would cover 100 per cent of the costs of auditing and building storage facility for toxic pesticides and fertilisers, purchase of personal protective equipment, training and documentation.
Meanwhile, for plantations of over 40 hectares and processing facilities, the incentives provided covers 30 to 70 per cent of the auditing fees.
Nagarajan added that last year, MPOCC together with the Malaysian Palm Oil Board had succeeded in obtaining recognition from the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020 (Tokyo 2020) to accept MSPO as among the sustainable palm oil in its “Sustainable Sourcing Code”.
In the Tokyo 2020 Sustainable Sourcing Code (2nd edition), under the Sourcing Code for Promotion of Sustainable Palm Oil, MSPO is stated as among the certification that are in line with the Committee’s aim to contribute to the long-term expansion of a movement on sustainable palm oil. The code was established to clarify principles for elaborating specific procurement methods, the procuring process in the preparation and operational phases of the Games.
It should also fulfil its social responsibilities through procurement with consideration for sustainability, as well as economic rationality, while concentrating its sourcing efforts on products and services really essential to the delivery of the Games. — Bernama