Johari wants MSPO to adapt to global sustainability standards

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) must adapt and respond effectively to evolving global priorities to enhance the value of the nation's palm oil sector.

Plantation and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said that the ministry would ensure continuous improvement of the MSPO certification scheme to remain relevant in meeting international sustainability standards, particularly regarding traceability, deforestation-free practices, legitimate land ownership and good labour practices.

"I welcome the MSPO 2.0 standards, an initiative to enhance certification credibility by incorporating new elements such as High Conservation Value (HCV), Social Impact Assessment (SIA), Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) and measures to address forced labour and child labour issues," he said during the MSPO 10th Anniversary Celebration and Hari Raya do today.

Johari's speech was read by the ministry's deputy secretary-general (strategic planning and management) Datuk Abdul Hadi Omar.

Present was MSPO chairman Datuk Dr Suzana Idayu Wati Osman.

Johari also emphasised the need for effective engagement sessions with stakeholders such as policymakers, consumer associations, non-governmental organisations and traders to raise awareness about Malaysia's initiatives and commitments.

"Through these steps, MSPO will gain recognition from the international business and consumer community.

"MSPO must actively participate in local and international forums or conferences, particularly those addressing sustainability or the global cooking oil industry."

Johari said that all palm oil produced by MSPO-certified producers must bear the MSPO logo on products sold both domestically and internationally.

"This is crucial to establish MSPO as a credible certification body and enable the government to be a primary defense against negative perceptions of the palm oil industry."

Johari highlighted that over the past 10 years since the establishment of MSPO, efforts by the government and industry players in elevating sustainability standards had yielded results.

He said that as of last month, 4.94 million hectares, or 87.4 per cent of the oil palm plantation area, along with 407 out of 446 palm oil mills and 151,152 smallholders, covering 542,215 hectares, had received certification.

"Additionally, MSPO has received various recognitions and signed several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with stakeholders in purchasing countries such as Japan, China, India, Mongolia, and the Philippines.

"MSPO has also signed an MoU with the Halal Development Centre to promote the country's palm oil products in the global halal market.

Recently, in bilateral discussions between the ministry and the European Union (EU) regarding the EU Deforestation-free Regulation (EUDR) and MSPO, Malaysia has received positive responses regarding its efforts to reduce deforestation rates.

"The EU has also given meaningful recognition to Malaysia's commitment to sustainable commodity production."

Johari added considering the direction of palm oil importing countries, sustainability agendas were increasingly becoming priorities in their policies.

"These policies, such as the EUDR, play a role in influencing the demand patterns of other countries towards sustainable palm oil.

"Therefore, the implementation of sustainable practices can provide economic value to the country's palm oil products," he said.

He also emphasised that since the establishment of MSPO, it had successfully ensured that the country's palm oil industry fully complied with sustainability practices as part of its commitment to addressing climate change, biodiversity conservation, greenhouse gas emissions, and good labour practices.

"The MSPO certification scheme can provide assurance to buyers regarding compliance with international sustainability standards.

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