Clariant spearheads palm oil certification in Sabah

Swiss speciality chemicals group Clariant International Ltd is spearheading a project to integrate small Malaysian palm oil producers within the global supply chains to promote traceability, certification and sustainability.

Clariant has joined hands with Wilmar International Ltd and global cosmetic products manufacturer L’Oreal to educate elements of sustainability of palm oil to some 500 smallholders and small growers in Sabah.

The ultimate objective of the project — the SPOTS (Sustainable Palm Oil and Traceability with Sabah small producers) initiative — is to transform the smallholders to be Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified by 2020, says Clariant VP and Asia-Pacific regional head Stephan Lynen.

“Only with better agricultural practices and a closer connection to global markets will living conditions improve for them as well,” he told reporters yesterday in a group interview in Kuala Lumpur.

The SPOTS initiatives was launched this week at the 13th Annual Roundtable Conference on Sustainable Palm Oil.

Lynen said L’Oreal and its suppliers are committed to implement specific action plans with regard to the sustainable sourcing of palm oil and palm-based derivatives by working on the transparency of their supply chains and supporting independent smallholders.

“We had engaged with local non-governmental organisation — Wild Asia — a local social enterprise. Wild Asia works with the small producers to ensure that they move from traceability to certification.

“A goal of this partnership is to continuously meet the environmental and social expectations of the global partners, and to ensure the smallholders are RSPO-compliant and certified by 2020,” he added.

The SPOTS initiative also aims to increase farmer productivity by at least 20% by 2020. Clariant has also set itself concrete targets that all relevant Clariant key production sites shall be RSPO certified, following the Mass Balance certification rules by 2016.

The company is also eyeing to design the roll-out plans for all relevant major production sites to enhance the usage of oleochemicals — a refined product of palm oil.