Saturday 13 Apr 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 2): It is important to position Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) as a recognised pathway to compliance with the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) as this will provide the country’s palm oil producers access to the European market and in turn strengthen Malaysian palm oil image as a sustainable and deforestation-free choice, said Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) chief executive officer Belvinder Kaur Sron.

Speaking at the MPOA's National Palm Oil Conference 2023 (NPOC23) on Monday, she said the recognition of the MSPO as a robust sustainability certification scheme with verifiable, traceable and transparent supply will position the country’s palm oil as a trusted and responsible choice in the global market.

“This will give us the opportunity to change the image and perception of palm oil, which is often associated with deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions and even biodiversity loss.

"The EU (European Union) was the third largest export destination for palm oil last year after India and China. In terms of consumption, it was the third largest consumer of palm oil after Indonesia and India. Also, we have a lot of business in the EU, and many of our companies are invested there. So if we stop our palm oil exports to the EU, it could affect our current and future joint ventures,” Belvinder said.

It is understood that meeting the EUDR standards involves both compliance with regulatory benchmarks and due diligence requirements, she said.

“The MSPO standards meet the regulatory requirements of the EUDR under Article 3 in that they prohibit deforestation after 2019, require compliance with all laws and can link imported commodities to their source.

“Article 9 of the EUDR contains information about which importers must comply with due diligence requirements, including product description, material quantity and conclusive verification of deforestation-free status,” said Belvinder.

At the same time, Belvinder said the country needs to focus on other markets that have greater potential for palm oil exports to mitigate the risks associated with dependence on a single market. “We have to look at the new markets such as East & West Africa, Central Asia and Middle East and increase uptake of palm oil in current importing countries”.

At the 2nd Sustainable Vegetable Oils Conference in Mumbai last week, Solidaridad Asia managing director Dr Shatadru Chattopadhayay said it is critical to align the national mandatory sustainability standards, particularly the MSPO and the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil Standard with the EUDR. Aligning these standards ensures a consistent approach to sustainability across borders and simplifies compliance for palm oil producers, especially smallholders.

This alignment not only streamlines regulatory processes, but also strengthens the effectiveness of the EUDR. It minimises the risk of palm oil being diverted to markets with lower sustainability standards and ensures that all palm oil entering the EU meets robust environmental and social criteria, he added.

Edited ByTan Choe Choe
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