MSPO to set standards on palm oil products as M’sia eyes East Asia market

The standards also allow the govt to counter the negative perception of palm oil production


THE Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) Certification Framework 2022 would allow the government to strengthen its efforts in promoting palm oil products internationally, as well as counter the negative perception of palm oil production.

Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin (picture) said the recent allegations of human rights violations in the palm oil sector through forced labour are small problems compared to the larger picture of the sustainable development of the palm oil industry.

“I don’t want to exaggerate this. This is a small thing. In fact, we have a bigger effort where we want to increase our market shares in East Asian countries,” she said during her speech at the launch of the framework yesterday.

She explained that the ministry has made efforts to present Malaysia’s case to the public in an effective manner so that they can understand the importance of palm oil.

“So, for the issue of forced labour or the issue (with) the US and the European Union, this is an issue that we are going to face and we are going to provide explanations and arguments.

“We met with the US Embassy the other day, and we are waiting for the date for us to go to the US to present all these things that we have done so that they will understand in the Malaysian context,” she said.

Zuraida added that the MSPO Standards would show the world that Malaysia is serious about protecting the environment and improving the lives of those who work within the palm oil industry.

“So, with a certification like this, it shows that Malaysia is trying to overcome the problems like the complaints they receive even though we oppose it because it is unfounded.”

The MSPO is the national scheme in Malaysia for oil palm plantations, independent and organised smallholdings, and palm oil processing facilities to be certified against the requirements of the MSPO Standards.

The first MS 2530:2013 MSPO Standard series was developed in 2013 by the Department of Standards Malaysia and spearheaded by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), and later revised in 2022 (MS 2503:2022). The MSPO standard has been made mandatory since early 2020.

Like the previous standards, MSPO 2022 took into consideration the changes in the global sustainability requirements and has considered its applicability to the Malaysian palm oil industry.

Requirements such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation; the environmental, social and governance were included, and the various elements were incorporated into the MSPO Standards.

This Malaysian Standard specifies the requirements for MSPO’s chain of custody (CoC) of oil palm biomass that organisations will use to demonstrate their commitment to traceability and sourcing of MSPO certified material.

This document covers the traceability of MSPO-certified oil palm biomass material along the CoC.

This traceability will ensure that the oil palm biomass is sourced from MSPO-certified plantations and palm oil mills. Oil palm biomass (feedstock and product) in this standard is limited to solid biomass and liquid biomass.

Malaysia will continue with the journey towards the full implementation of MSPO certification, plus embark on promotional measures in major importing markets on the benefits of MSPO certified palm oil and to continue strengthening the principles and criteria of the MSPO Standards to reflect evolving international best practices.

“So, I really hope that this synergy that’s working very well between MPOB, Malaysian Palm Oil Council and Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council will continue well, and only then will we see a clear direction that all of us are moving in one direction.

“We are here to protect our palm oil, we are here to defend our palm industry, and we are here to make sure that we are the leading country in the palm oil industry globally.”

“So, with this MSPO, these criteria show that we are very much in line with environmental issues, forced labour issues, wildlife issues, and estate management issues. So, it’s all there in our MSPO,” said Zuraida.