Japanese firms to buy palm oil from sustainable sources from 2020, says Mah

Ethical concerns have led to companies blacklisting palm oil as a raw material. —  AFP pic
Ethical concerns have led to companies blacklisting palm oil as a raw material. — AFP pic

TELUK INTAN, Dec 17 — A number of Japanese companies have said that from 2020 they will only buy palm oil which has been certified to come from sustainable sources and possess sustainability certification.

Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datuk Seri Siew Keong, said the matter was confirmed during a meeting with several Japanese companies, including cosmetics firms and major soap producer, Kao Corp, during his recent working visit to Japan.

“They have decided to buy palm oil with certificates of sustainability to ensure that the commodities purchased are not obtained by destroying forests and the environment,” he told reporters after launching the ‘Get The Right Opportunity Workshop’ programme here today.

Mah, who is also member of Parliament for Teluk Intan, said his ministry would continue to ensure that all involved with the palm oil industry get the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil Certificate certification as soon as possible.

“In order to meet the ministry’s aim, some of the costs will be borne by the government. 

“For estates less than 1,000 hectares (ha), we will bear about 70 per cent and those over 1,000 ha, about 30 per cent. The move is to encourage all smallholders and estates to get certification,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said, exports of commodities-based products to October rose by 17 per cent, or RM117 billion, from RM99 billion in the same period last year.

“This shows that the country’s commodity sector recorded positive growth even though the economy sometimes goes up and down. The value of the commodity export value has improved and for me this is a good performance as the overall export of the commodity sector in 2016 was RM122 billion,” he said. 

Mah said based on the performance, the ministry expected export earnings for November and December to reach up to RM130 billion.

Mah said he also supported the efforts of Federal Land Development Authority Chairman, Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad, to start a signature petition involving about 100,000 settlers to protest against the European Union’s (EU) proposal to impose sanctions on Malaysian palm oil.

“ We need to convey the message by pointing to the EU members that oil palm is not only planted by large plantation companies, but it also involves many smallholders in the country,” he said. — Bernama

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