Producing sustainable palm oil isn’t just an option in Malaysia. It’s tradition. And confirming these high standards will soon become mandatory. Malaysia’s Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) announced that Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification will become mandatory for all Malaysian palm oil producers by 2019. This certification program, first launched in 2015, helps ensure that all palm oil produced in the country is as good for the economy as it is for the environment and the Malaysian people.
The MSPO standards cover seven areas:
- Management commitment and responsibility
- Compliance to legal requirements
- Social responsibility, safety and employment conditions
- Environment, natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services
- Best practices
- Development of new plantings
Before this announcement, MSPO certification was obtained on a voluntary basis. The program is administered through the Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council (MPOCC) which is the MPIC organization entrusted to promote the development, adoption and implementation of sustainable palm oil production. Under the Ministry’s proposed timeline for obtaining MSPO certification, plantation companies that are already Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified must obtain MSPO certification by December 31 2018, while companies without RSPO certification must obtain certification by June 30 2019. Financial assistance will be given to smallholders to assist them in achieving MSPO certification.
As of January 2017, Malaysia’s total planted area was 5.74 million hectares of which 1.15 million hectares were RSPO or MSPO certified. Malaysia’s goal of having 100 percent of its plantations certified by 2019 will further demonstrate the country’s good agricultural practices and sustainability initiatives.