The Malaysian path to sustainable palm oil

The Malaysian path to sustainable palm oil

The world is demanding responsibly produced palm oil, and Malaysia is delivering. The country has developed its own stringent certification program, Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO), specifically for the needs of both people and planet. The country has an aggressive goal of certifying 100 percent of its palm oil by the end of the 2019. 

Malaysia’s progress has been significant especially when compared to other certification schemes.

  • The MSPO program was launched in 2015 and has certified more than 42 percent of Malaysia’s palm-planted land as of June 2019 (2.45 million of 5.85 million hectares).
  • The Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil certification program was launched in 2011 and has certified nearly 30 percent of Indonesia’s palm-planted land as of March 2019 (4.1 million of 10.2 million hectares).
  • The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil certification program was launched in 2004 and has certified nearly 19 percent of the global palm oil supply (2.9 million hectares).

According to Malaysian Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok, “The implementation of the MSPO certification is a strategic step towards enhancing the country’s palm oil competitiveness and image. This is in line with the preference of import countries and consumers worldwide to go for sustainable and safe agricultural products.” 

Malaysia is not resting on its laurels. “The number is still too small,” Kok said. So the country has put incentives in place to help family farmers – who tend more than 40 percent of Malaysia’s oil palm-planted lands – meet the sustainability guidelines.

Consumer interest in sustainability is high
According to the International Food and Information Council (IFIC) foundation, consumers care how their food is made. Its data also indicates that consumers are craving systems to identify responsibly produced foods and ingredients. 

  • 27% of shoppers report environmental sustainably as a purchase driver. 
  • 60% say it is hard to know whether the food choices they make are environmentally sustainable.
  • 63% say sustainability would have a greater influence on their choices if it were easier to identify.

Consumers also care about where their food comes from and who produces it. IFIC reports that more than half of consumers polled consider this “very important” or “important” to them. Nearly half report that knowing a manufacturer has a commitment to sustainably producing food influences their purchase decision. Nearly the same amount consider access to information about food production a factor when shopping.

The MSPO certification system is designed to meet the needs of both consumers and companies.
In addition to this Palm Oil Health website, one can learn more about MSPO-certified palm oil at The Malaysian Palm Oil Council website and The Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council website

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