KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — The Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification is currently at the final stage of revision and is expected to be ready by the end of 2021 or early 2022.

The revised MSPO certification is expected to have new standards that include the latest sustainability requirements and practices.

The certification scheme is the national scheme for oil palm plantations, independent and organised smallholdings, and palm-oil processing facilities.

There are three separate standards under the MSPO scheme, which are the MSPO 2530-2 requirements for independent smallholders; MSPO 2530-3 requirements for oil palm plantations and organised smallholders; and MSPO 2530-4 requirements for palm oil mills.

According to data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), as of July 29, 5.279 million hectares of oil palm-planted areas out of a total 5.865 million hectares (90 per cent) have been certified with MSPO, including the independent smallholders, organised smallholders, and estates category.

“As palm oil is used widely in the form of cooking oil, processed food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, the need for this golden crop has never been higher and is projected to increase, so does the demand for it to be sustainably produced,” director-general Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir told Bernama.

Despite its huge advantage and usage almost everywhere, be it in food, soaps, or lipsticks, palm oil has been perceived negatively by Western countries, which associate it with deforestation in Southeast Asia.

Nevertheless, the world uses more palm oil than any other vegetable oil (about 73 million tonnes in 2020).

“Palm oil will continue to be the powerhouse of the oils and fats market despite the conservation narratives focused on specific themes such as tropical deforestation and misleading anti-palm oil campaigns,” Ahmad Parveez stressed.

He said Malaysia is planning to get MSPO recognition from the Beijing Organising Committee on Olympic Winter Games 2022 (BOCOG), the same recognition that Malaysia got from the Tokyo Organising Committee on Olympic Games 2020.

An earlier discussion on this had been initiated by MPOB with BOCOG.

The MSPO has been made mandatory since Jan 1, 2020 and its status is at par with the Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification.

“Perhaps it is more premium as it complies with all the relevant national and international laws with regard to sustainability,” Ahmad Parveez said. — Bernama