Malaysian officials anticipate that Asian countries, much like their western counterparts, will place an increasingly stronger emphasis on sustainability. In an interview with FoodNavigator-Asia, Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) executives reconfirmed their pioneering commitment to further strengthening their country’s sustainable palm oil industry.  

MPOC Science and Environment Director Dr. Ruslan Abdullah observed that China and India, specifically, appear to be moving toward more stringent sustainability standards. He based this on “various activities” such as “the establishment of a Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil office in China, the launch of the China Sustainable Palm Oil Alliance and the India Palm Oil Sustainability Framework.” 

Malaysia was the first country anywhere in the world to produce sustainable palm oil. More than 88 percent of its palm plantations and producers are now MSPO-certified, verifying that they comply with the country’s stringent sustainability mandates that benefit the planet and people. 

In the interview, Abdullah referenced several initiatives that are distinguishing the Malaysian palm oil industry from that of other countries. They include a population survey in Borneo, where the Malaysian palm oil industry has embarked on numerous conservation efforts, to confirm that the populations of orangutans and Borneo pygmy elephants have increased over the years. 

Other focus areas include using new technologies, including blockchain and AI, to improve traceability and sustainability. Malaysia has also launched a campaign called Sawit Divine Blessing to educate the general public about the benefits of palm oil, including careers and the nation’s economy.

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