Palm oil is the second most imported oil in Turkey, with about 95 percent of the country’s palm oil (about 600,000 tons) coming from Malaysia. Isinsu Kestelli, philanthropist and CEO of Agrilink/AgriTrade, Turkey’s largest palm oil importer, discussed why her company places so much value on importing only sustainable palm oil. 

Participating in the Malaysian Palm Oil Council’s “CEO Insights: Learning from Industry Leaders” series, Kestelli explained the connection between the increasing Turkish demand for palm oil and her commitment to sustainability. “The world is getting more and more crowded, and we have limited resources,” she said. “We should be aware that humans are not the only living creatures on earth. We have to stop human actions (from) harming the ecosystem.”

To feed the world’s increasing population requires a balance. “This means sustainability,” she stressed. “That is why Agrilink is an RSPO member.” 

RSPO, which stands for Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, has more than 4,000 members worldwide. Malaysia, the first country in the world to produce sustainable palm oil, is building and expanding on RSPO’s foundation with its own nationally mandated MSPO certification scheme. An overwhelming majority of Malaysia’s palm oil industry has now achieved MSPO certification.  

Commenting on the negative allegations against palm oil waged by NGOs and others, Kestelli said that her company is trying to tackle these with the actual facts. “It’s unfortunate to see even prominent global environmental organizations are biased … We are disappointed to have to face such allegations.” She called on Malaysia and the Malaysian Palm Oil Council to have an even louder voice to counter these negative campaigns.

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The Malaysian Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities has launched a campaign called Sawit Divine Blessing to educate the general public about the benefits of palm oil, including its positive influence on health, the environment, careers and the nation’s economy. The Malaysian Palm Oil Council is also working to increase the use of technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain to increase traceability and sustainability.

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