Oil palm plantations, mills must meet standards of MSPO 2022


Oil palm plantations and palm oil processing facilities need to comply with the standards of the new Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) 2022 which was launched last month.

Director-General of Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), Datuk Dr. Ahmad Parveez Hj Ghulam Kadir said that beginning January 1, 2024, MSPO certificate holders will be re- audited based on the enhanced standards of the MSPO 2022.

As of 31 March 2022, 97.33 percent, comprising oil palm plantations and smallholders as well as 453 out of the total 464 licensed palm oil mills in the country have received the MSPO certification.

He said the new MSPO 2022 incorporates current sustainability requirements as Malaysia, being the world’s second largest producer and exporter of palm oil, aims to obtain recognition from palm oil importing countries by improving its sustainability practices.

“We have strengthened the standards criteria of the certification. The enhanced standards focus on sustainable practices, taking into account the changes in global sustainability needs.

MSPO 2022 is now the national certification scheme for oil palm plantations, smallholders and palm oil processing facilities and they need to adhere to the new standards in order to obtain the certification,” he said in a statement today.

According to him, the move to enhance the MSPO certification ensures that the management of oil palm plantations and local palm oil products meet the global sustainability standards. 

In meeting the global demand for sustainability, three elements on economic cycle, forced labour, and placement of plantation workers are added in the MSPO 2022, replacing the MSPO issued in 2013. 

MSPO 2022 also sees the palm oil industry adopting the high conservation value (HCV) concept with national interpretation in MSPO HCV guidelines. 

Other critical requirements involve policies that commit to no deforestation, no peat development, and no exploitation.

The MSPO 2022 includes protocol 29 of the International Labour Organisation which is an indicator for labours.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) from land-used change and method to measure GHG has also been included. Other critical requirements added in the MSPO 2022 are the traceability and legality of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) as well as ethical conduct.

MSPO 2022 also contains an additional standard requirement to assess conformity for FFB dealers and palm oil traders against the MSPO. This standard will ensure that all types of dealers under MPOB Licensing, including exporters and importers that purchase and sell oil palm products will not change the chemical properties of the materials. This standard covers sustainable management as well as supply chain requirements.

The new framework for MSPO 2022 standards has only five principles compared to the previous version of seven principles in order to further streamline the requirements to be consistent with the overall flow.

The MSPO 2022 also counteracts the anti-palm oil campaigns by the non-governmental organisations in the West on product quality and the management of Malaysian oil palm plantations as well as negative perceptions on palm oil.

“MSPO 2022, with enhanced standards, will address the challenges we face, particularly with regard to negative perceptions in the West. It will also ensure superior quality of our palm oil and palm oil-related products and hence, expand Malaysia’s export market.

This new certification will ensure that Malaysian palm oil products are sustainable and acceptable in the global market,” he added.