Malaysia Unhappy with EU Green Directive for Palm Oil

19% greenhouse gas emission savings

for palm oil deemed too low

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia is

unhappy with the EU Renewable Energy Directive (EU RED) which assigned a

much lower value of 19% greenhouse gas (GHG) emission savings to palm

oil, as this can disqualify the commodity as a biodiesel source for use

in Europe, said Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) chairman Datuk Lee

Yeow Chor.

The directive states that biofuel must result in GHG

savings of at least 35% versus fossil fuel in 2009 and also increase

over time to 50% by 2017.

Based on the lifecycle carbon analysis

(LCA) by experts over the past two years, the GHG savings from the LCA

of palm oil is actually over 50% – much higher than the EU’s estimate,

Lee told reporters on the sideline at the ongoing International Palm Oil

Sustainability Conference (IPOSC) organised by MPOC yesterday.

Lee

said: “Having such ammunition in our hands will allow MPOC to continue

negotiations with the EU. The Malaysian Palm Oil Board is also ready to

publish its own LCA data.”

Malaysia would be looking at laying

the foundation for palm oil to qualify as an advanced biofuel source in

the United States under its Renewable Fuels Standards 2 or RFS2, he

added.

Datuk Lee

Yeow Chor … ‘The Malaysian Palm Oil Board is also ready to publish

its own LCA data.’

Last month, oil palm major

producers Malaysia and Indonesia indicated that both countries would

bring up the EU RED discriminatory treatment matter to the World Trade

Organisation (WTO) to ensure that the EU rules does not reduce exports

of palm oil.

It maintains that the criteria used by the EU RED

must be science-based, verifiable and in accordance with WTO principles.

According to Lee, the palm oil industry continued to be blamed for

loss of wildlife habitat and biodiversity by many Western environmental

NGOs.

“While often there is little and no avenue to verify the

sources and statistics of these reports, it managed to leave a lasting

adverse impression on major consumers,” he said, adding that it was no

surprise that major food producers had been pressured to drop palm oil

from their product formulations.

Even the openness of the local

palm oil industry to subject itself to the Roundtable on Sustainable

Palm Oil (RSPO) certification has been criticised by certain quarters,

added Lee.

Earlier, MPOC chief executive officer Tan Sri Yusof

Basiron said Malaysia should come up with its own palm oil certification

to ensure sustainability of its exports to other parts of the world.

Tan Sri

Bernard Dompok says the Government wants to increase smallholders’

palm oil yield.

He said there were too many

certifications imposed on palm oil by major consuming nations like

Germany and the Unted States.

“Apart from the RSPO certification

sought by our plantation companies for exports mainly to the EU markets,

Malaysia must prepare itself to the demands from other major consuming

nations as well,” he added.

Meanwhile, Plantation Industries and

Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said after the official

launch of IPOSC that the Government wanted to increase smallholders’

palm oil yield.

“Most of them are producing about 2.5 tonnes to 3

tonnes per ha per year, which is below the current industry national

average of 4 tonnes per ha per year,” he said.

He expects

smallholders to attain similiar yields as their estate counterparts via

good agricultural practices, higher yield clones and better management

as well as automation.

Leave a Reply