BANGI: Malaysia and Indonesia need to up their game in debating and setting narratives for the palm oil industry to better tackle decades of smear campaigns, industry officials said.
“When oil palm planters are thrown allegations of reforestation, we should question back these developed nations on their track record in reforestation,” said IOI Corp Bhd chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Lee Yeow Chor.
He said stakeholders throughout the palm oil value chain should, via the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC), give due attention and credit to palm oil certification standards set by palm oil producing countries, rather than be dictated by consuming countries.
Lee, who is also Malaysian Palm Oil Council chairman, was speaking at the Palm Oil Supply and Demand Outlook Conference organised by CPOPC yesterday.
Malaysia’s Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok, who launched the conference, suggested that plantation company leaders of Malaysia and Indonesia form an alliance, within CPOPC to share communication strategies and edible oils trade politics to better tackle common challenges.
“CEOs of plantation companies across Malaysia and Indonesia can form an alliance within the CPOPC to better strategise as a united communication channel in facing barriers to palm oil trade.”
Established in 2015, the governments of Indonesia and Malaysia initiated CPOPC as a platform to promote palm oil and neutralise trade barriers as both nations collectively produce 85 per cent of the world’s supply.
Indonesia’s Deputy Minister for Coordinating of Economic Affairs Musdhalifah Machmud said both countries needed to build on matters in common rather than harp on differences.
She urged stakeholders to be more coordinated in communicating so as to be stronger in tackling smear campaigns against the palm oil industry.
Apart from the ministers from Malaysia and Indonesia, the Indonesia-Malaysia CEO Forum which featured IOI Corp’s Lee, Indonesian Palm Oil Association chairman Joko Supriyono, Malaysian Palm Oil Association CEO Datuk Nageeb Wahab, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK) CEO Tan Sri Lee Oi Hian, IJM Plantation Bhd CEO Joseph Tek, PT Eagle High Plantations Tbk CEO Ramesh Veloo, Wilmar International Ltd chief sustainability officer Jeremy Goon and Asian Agri corporate affairs director Fadhil Hasan.
Malaysia’s Primary Industries Ministry secretary-general Datuk Tan Yew Chong moderated the high-powered forum.
KLK’s Lee, in charting the next growth engine, said businesses should continue to add value to the palm oil supply chain.
He envisioned that in the next decade or so, more money would be invested in downstream businesses, such as to produce biojet fuel for airplanes and the manufacture of biodegradable plastic that are environmental friendly.