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Malaysian state eyes 100% certified palm oil by 2025

Staff writer |
Sabah, a state in Malaysian Borneo, is weighing a proposal to produce only palm oil certified under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an eco-certification initiative, by 2025.

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The move, if approved, would represent the first time a sub-national or state entity has committed to 100 percent certified palm oil production.

Sabah currently produces 12 percent of the world’s palm oil, making it one of biggest global players. Production comes from a wide range of actors, from smallholders to some of the biggest palm oil companies.

That diversity however, makes a state-wide certification approach challenging, since smallholders typically cannot afford the cost of certification.

But some officials think that obstacle may be worth overcoming if it enables Sabah to differentiate its palm oil from other producers, especially given the rise in the number of companies that have adopted social and environmental safeguards for palm oil sourcing.

“Both global demand and downstream industries will increasingly pull the supply chain for Certified Sustainable Palm Oil and Sabah must act to be ahead of the curve,” said Sam Mannan, Director of the Sabah Forestry Department, which owns about 100,000 hectares of palm oil plantations in the state.


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