Malaysia Support Strong Sustainability Requirement for Biofuel

Press Release : Malaysia Supports Strong Sustainability Requirements for Biofuels,
Calls for Fair and Transparent Criteria

Brussels, 10 September 2008 – The Malaysian government today said it welcomed the EU’s efforts to establish comprehensive and effective biofuel sustainability criteria. At the same time, it urged the EU to ensure that its sustainability scheme does not discriminate against third country producers of biofuels and that the criteria used are science-based, verifiable and WTO-compatible.

Visiting Europe this week to meet with decision makers, Malaysia’s Minister for Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Peter Chin said Brussels should “aim for ambitious targets and tough environmental criteria” for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

 “As long as the standards developed by the EU are based on sound science and are non-discriminatory, I can assure you that Malaysian producers will meet them,” Minister Chin said.

Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Yusof Basiron, CEO of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), added: “Biofuels are new, but sustainable production is not. Malaysian palm oil already has to respect the highest standards, irrespective of whether it is used for food, cosmetics or biofuels.”

The Malaysian industry voiced its concerns over the scientific basis for the current EU biofuels proposals but is working with policymakers to find a solution. The data and methodology included in the current proposals result in an unfair disadvantage for palm oil-based biodiesel, understating typical CO2 emission savings by at least 20%.

Palm oil is among the most energy-efficient crops for the production of biofuels. Without even taking into account carbon sequestration by the oil palm, palm oil achieves green house gas savings of up to 80 – 90% when compared to fossil fuels.

Malaysia is also leading the way on sustainability certification. On 27 August, Malaysia-based United Plantations Bhd, one of the world’s leading producers of palm oil, became the first company to receive certification from the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

“Certified sustainable palm oil is available in Malaysia,” Dr. Yusof Basiron said. “We trust that the EU will allow us to bring it to the European market.”  


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