Industry players positive after EU
PETALING JAYA: The recent news on
European Union (EU) lawmakers’ views on the long standing issue of the
sustainable palm oil production in Malaysia, is a positive development
for the local palm oil industry, but some uncertainties still remain.
On Monday, news reported that the EU policymakers were increasingly
convinced that Malaysia is on the same path as the EU on the
sustainability of palm oil production, however more scientific data to
support Malaysia’s case was needed.
It was reported that Dan
Jorgensen, who is the vice-chairman of the environment, public health
and food safety committee in the European Parliament, had promised to
bring Malaysia’s case on its discrimination versus other oils in the
Renewable Energy Directive (RED).
Jorgensen was on a week-long
visit to Malaysia together with two other EU MPs – Martin J. Callanan
(committee on the environment, public health and food safety) and Ole K.
Christensen (member of the ACP-EU committee).
The MPs were
impressed with the work undertaken by the government and the palm oil
industry with its efforts in sustainability.
industry players, the issue has been a long standing issue between the
industry and western countries.
“We have been accused of all sort
of things from deforestation to killing of wildlife in the past. This
is a positive development especially for the Government. Industry
players have been trying to clear up the misunderstanding,” said a
“It is good to note that our efforts have started to bear
fruit,” said another player, adding that the move was a positive
development for the palm oil industry. However, it still remains to be
seen the outcome of the scientific data needed for the EU to make a
The local palm oil industry has been questioned
especially by the EU on the sustainability of palm oil production for
food and biodiesel applications for some time.
Malaysia has also
been alleged to have destroyed the orang utans, forests and loss of
biodiversity by NGOs. And these NGOs have been campaigning against palm
oil imports into the EU, especially for biofuels.
Malaysia was being accused by environmentalists for cutting down trees
to plant palm oil trees, the country had at least 50% of forest covered
as compared with Denmark (12%) and UK (20%).
had 22 Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified mills.
Palm Oil Council chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron has
recently reiterated that Malaysia had ample permanent forest reserve for
biodiversity and conservation purposes.
He stressed that palm
oil was cultivated on legal agriculture land, outside the permanent
Basiron said new plantings were done on land that
was legally gazetted as agricultural land, 100% sustainable and were
all licensed and registered.
Although the recent development
provided good news to the industry, analysts expect a stricter
requirements for exporters to ship their palm oil.
“It will not
significantly affect palm oil imports into EU as only a small portion,
about 10%, is used for energy where the sustainability criteria
applies,” he said.