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
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.
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
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
“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,
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.
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.
smallholders to attain similiar yields as their estate counterparts via
good agricultural practices, higher yield clones and better management
as well as automation.