KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 — A panel of certification experts convened by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) has assessed the ability of the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification to serve as a tool for compliance with the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR).

At the recent MPOC Webinar 3.0, over 500 participants from Malaysia, Europe and around the world listened to three experts outline their assessment of the value of the MSPO, including its compliance role for the EUDR.

In a statement today, MPOC said that during the webinar, European Forest Institute technical expert Dr Josil Murray presented a gap analysis of MSPO and EUDR and highlighted many areas in which the MSPO is a successful certification.

“Areas where further alignment can be pursued were also identified. This includes reducing information gaps related to deforestation, legality, geolocation and traceability in palm oil production,” MPOC said.

International certification expert and auditor for palm oil and rubber Pierre Bois d’Enghien said the MSPO should be recognised by the EU as a compliance tool.

He said the MSPO is a good standard and meets all the sustainability requirements and legality requirements of the EUDR.

D’Enghien highlighted that the EUDR is difficult and costly and the compliance will only be achieved if the EU Commission is willing to work with — rather than just dictate to — countries in the developing world.

He said this should start with recognising and rewarding the positive efforts of trading partners, including the MSPO certification standard in Malaysia.

D’Enghien noted that Malaysia is well-positioned due to the MSPO whereas for many other countries, what is needed is a delay in EUDR implementation or increased flexibility from the EU authorities.

MSPO certification and operations services manager Tan Chee Yong said the MSPO has progressed since its introduction in 2013, and highlights the new key sustainability requirements found in the revised MSPO Standards 2022.

He also shared potential solutions for the Malaysian palm oil industry to meet the EUDR requirements, which included upgrading the MSPO trace platform and aligning MSPO’s forestry-related definitions with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations or EUDR’s.

MPOC chief executive officer Belvinder Kaur Sron said MSPO is a world-class certification standard and is valuable for exporters as they seek to comply with the EUDR.

She said discussions with both European and Malaysian experts reached the same conclusion: that MSPO is a world-class certification standard and is valuable for exporters as they seek to comply with the EUDR.

“In some areas, such as the cut-off date for deforestation, MSPO is stricter than the EUDR.

“More cooperation is now needed between the EU and the Malaysian palm oil community, to identify how MSPO can be accepted and recognised by the EU,” Belvinder added. — Bernama