August 23 2003 - INTERNATIONAL palm oil players consisting of producers,buyers and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have pledged theircooperation towards establishing a common stand in promoting sustainableproduction of palm oil.
Malaysian Palm Oil Association chief executive M.R. Chandran said all theplayers agree that a common code of conduct and practice has to bedeveloped, agreed and implemented.
This code of conduct will be signed by all the players in a letter ofintent which will be ready by year-end.
Subsequently, this code will become a charter for players to abide with aswell as demonstrate their committment to promote sustainable palm oilproduction, Chandran told reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Chandran had earlier chaired and closed the inaugural Roundtable onSustainable Palm Oil.
The two-day forum which ended yesterday was launched by the association’schairman and Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd’s group chief executive Tan Sri AbdulKhalid Ibrahim.
The roundtable is the initiative of both Anglia Oils and Sainsbury of theUK, Malaysia’s Golden Hope Plantations Bhd and the Malaysian Palm OilAssociation, Migros of Switzerland, Unilever of the Netherlands and theWorld Wildlife Fund of Switzerland.
The roundtable was attended by 203 participants from 16 countries acrossfive continents from the entire palm oil supply chain.
As a first major step towards promoting sustainably produced palm oil, theentire supply chain agrees on a common management criteria forplantations, forest conversion, land tenure in the establishment of newplantations, procurement methods and verification processes.
At present, many misconceptions and misunderstandings arise in theindustry.
Environmentalists, for example, worry that palm oil cultivation destroysthe forest when actually the situation does not take place in Malaysia.
Another example is that some NGOs view palm oil planting methods in Ghanaas sustainable but Malaysia, on the other hand, does not carry out thebest agricultural practices.
Chandran added that the participation by the World Wildlife Fund Malaysiais a good sign as it would be able to influence 33,000 other NGOs in theworld on palm oil’s sustainability.
The organisation is a science-based NGO which carries out extensivestudies before presenting its views on palm oil and is not emotional likesome other NGOs, Chandran said.