The global demand for edible oils is growing exponentially. But producing crops usually comes at a price: greenhouse gasses emissions. As it turns out, meeting the demand can actually be done without contributing to climate change thanks to Malaysian sustainable palm oil.
I recently came across this article in Global Oils and Fats Business Magazine, which summarized why Malaysian palm oil is poised to be the ideal solution. It’s in great part because of the country’s and palm oil industry’s strict environmental standards and the oil palm’s natural productivity. One hectare of oil palms, which is almost two and a half acres, produces 10 times more palm oil than other major oil crops.
Malaysian land helps protect the air before palm oil production even begins. The country is one of the top 20 in the world when it comes to tree cover. More than half of Malaysia’s rainforests are conserved, and almost 70 percent of the remaining area is also blanketed with trees. As this article points out, Malaysia’s forest land is actually increasing, even with the country’s steady economic growth. In contrast, about one-third of Germany’s land is covered with trees, and only 13 percent of the United Kingdom is covered.
The article describes some of the newest steps which the Malaysian government is taking to reduce greenhouse gasses. During the palm oil milling process, a by-product called palm oil mill effluent (POME) is created. That POME holds a high concentration of biodegradable organic material. It usually collects in bodies of water where it naturally decomposes. But the breakdown creates potent methane biogas (greenhouse gas) that can harm the environment.
Malaysia now has a plan in place to trap and recycle that biogas. The country plans to build biogas facilities across Malaysian mills and educate the farmers on how to recycle this gas to replace the minimal amounts of diesel they are currently using as fuel.
As the article concludes, “Malaysia has come a long way in making its palm oil greener. So the conclusion is inescapable: When it comes to being sensible about climate change, Malaysian palm oil is second to none.”