Way Forward for MSPO as a Mandatory Certification Scheme

Putrajaya: A consultation session with various palm oil stakeholders on the Way Forward for Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) Certification was held at Putrajaya Marriott Hotel which was organised by the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) in collaboration with MPOCC. The aim of the session was to gather feedback on the proposal to make MSPO certification mandatory for the palm oil industry in Malaysia, as well as to present the action plan for the MSPO certification scheme and the way forward.

The one day event was attended by more than 100 participants from various stakeholder groups representing the government, oil palm industry associations, environmental and social NGOs, academia, research institutes, indigenous peoples organisations and smallholders from the three regions; Peninsular, Sabah and Sarawak.

The event was officiated by the MPIC Minister, YB Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, who also attended the closing session to listen to the outcome and recommendations made by the participants.

In his opening remarks, the Minister sought the strong support of the oil palm industry to the proposal in making MSPO certification mandatory and charting the way forward in its implementation so that a large portion of the oil palm planted areas can become MSPO certified and allow for Malaysia to export a substantial quantity of certified sustainable palm oil in the coming years.

The Minister stressed that this year being the 100th year of commercial oil palm cultivation in Malaysia, it is therefore important to safeguard the palm oil industry and at the same time, to fulfill the increasing global demand for sustainable palm oil.

He also pointed out that the industry has come a long way, especially when Malaysia is the second largest world producer of palm oil after Indonesia; hence there is a need to safeguard and further alleviate the image of the industry to a higher level through mandatory MSPO certification.

MSPO certification has been developed based on Malaysian laws and regulations with the aim to assist oil palm plantations, palm oil processing facilities and specifically the independent as well as organised smallholdings to be certified against the MSPO Standards.

Following the opening remarks by the Minister, a total of five presentations were made to provide information on matters related to MSPO certification, promotion, smallholder engagement and auditing processes.

MPOCC CEO, Harnarinder Singh made the first presentation on ‘Way forward for MSPO as a mandatory certification scheme’, where he provided information regarding the projected target to supply 8.0 million tonnes of MSPO certified palm oil based on a total certified area of 2.0 million ha and 160 MSPO certified mills by the end of 2019. He also listed the resources that would be needed in order to achieve the projected target, including increasing the number of accredited certification bodies (CBs), trained auditors and peer reviewers.

The second presentation was by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) which provided information on the number of smallholders as well as the action plan with regard to their certification under the MSPO scheme.

The third presentation was made by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), identifying the challenges in positioning MSPO Standard among the internationally accepted standards such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and the perceived advantages in branding the Malaysian palm oil through MSPO certification.

As one of the CBs to have carried out MSPO audits, SIRIM QAS International Sdn. Bhd. made the presentation on issues towards MSPO certification from a CB’s point of view, addressing auditor competency, organisation perception and legal compliance, along with the action plan to overcome the identified issues and challenges. The last presentation was by Wild Asia Sdn. Bhd. who provided an insight into the perception and reality of smallholders in Malaysia, and the possible impact of MSPO certification on them. The presenter also listed the possible solutions including building partnerships with well-known organisations and smallholder support programmes toward certification.

Following the presentations, the participants were divided into three discussion groups to deliberate and provide feedback on the timeline and issues and challenges in making MSPO certification mandatory, getting MSPO accorded international acceptance, and accelerating MSPO certification including parallel certification, outreach programmes, stakeholder involvement and incentives.

Based on the deliberations and outcome of the consultation session, further details pertaining to the decision to make MSPO mandatory will be announced soon.

Other links:

↗ Here’s to another 100 years for Malaysian palm oil

↗ MPSO certification compliance timeline to be announced soon

↗ MSPO timeframe certification soon

↗ Collective support needed to make MSPO certification a success, says Mah

↗ Palm oil exports to hit RM70bil target, futures prices trading higher

↗ Let international recognition. Palm oil industry should respond to certification

↗ Plans for mandatory MSPO hit obstacles

↗ The recent implementation of oil palm industry to be certified

↗ Malaysia Segera Wajibkan Sertifikasi Produk Sawit

↗ Agenda Memperkasakan Industri Sawit Negara