The American Palm Oil Council (APOC), Los Angeles, announced Malaysia-based United Plantations Bhd received the Certificate of Conformance to RSPO Principles and Criteria by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the world's only international association formed to codify sustainable industry practices. It was the first plantation to adopt the strictest standards of sustainability in its production of palm oil.
“Palm oil producers in Malaysia, along with the Malaysian government, are committed to preserving the country's natural resources and biodiversity,” said Mohd Salleh Kassim, APOC's executive director. “We want our consumers here in the United States to know palm oil purchased from Malaysia is produced in a responsible, environmentally-friendly manner.”
Dedicated to promoting the growth and use of sustainable palm oil, the RSPO defines sustainable palm oil production as “comprised of legal, economically viable, environmentally appropriate and socially beneficial management and operations.”
To obtain the RSPO certification, United Plantations Bhd participated in investigations of its nine estates, six mills and conservation areas; interviews with management, staff and workers regarding management systems and social amenities; and a meeting with 150 of the company's stakeholders to ensure the plantation fulfills each of the RSPO criteria.
The assessment team highlighted United Plantations' biodiversity and environmental conservation efforts in its report. The report applauds the establishment of the United Plantations' “Lagoon Nature Reserve,” a planting project of rare and endangered Malaysian species. The lagoon contains 18 tree families, 50 species and more than 2,000 trees, which will create a natural forest system and provide a seed bank for future propogation. The report also notes the plantation's enforcement of zero burn policies — which means land can not be burned for the cultivation of palm oil — and its research to improve palm oil seeds, so they maximize the yield thereby minimizing the land and plants needed.
Several other Malaysian palm oil plantation companies are expected to be certified in the near future.