INDONESIA should be commended
on its steady progress in awarding
10 plantation companies representing
the first batch with the
Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil
(ISPO) certification recently.
By mid-2014, all plantation companies,
local and foreign owned, will
need to obtain the mandatory certification
to operate in the republic,
which in turn is the world's largest
crude palm oil (CPO) producer.
Failure in securing the ISPO within
the stipulated period would likely
see planters' licence revoked by the
The ISPO also signifies the second
such certified sustainable palm oil
certification, after the introduction
of the voluntary Roundtable on
Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification
initiated by a grouping of
palm oil multi-stakeholders back in
To recap, GAKPI or the Indonesian
Palm Oil Association which represents
500 member companies decided
to pull out of the RSPO in October
2011 to show their support for
Indonesia's own certified sustainable
palm oil (CSPO) certification.
Apart from taking over Malaysia's
traditional top spot in oil palm hectarage
and CPO production, Indonesia
has even moved ahead of Malaysia
in terms of having its national palm
An industry observer said
Indonesia even introduced an additional
sustainable palm oil certification
instead of being monopolised
by the RSPO grouping.
given Indonesia's steady progress on
the CSPO front, will Malaysia jump on
the bandwagon soon?
Apparently Malaysia is torn
between choosing the right national
collective certifications the earlier
proposed Malaysian Sustainable
Palm Oil (MSPO) certification under
the purview of Malaysian Palm Oil
Board (MPOB) or the latest Malaysian
Responsible Palm Oil (Marespo) certification
championed by the
Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC).
With only 14% of the local palm oil
industry under the voluntary RSPO
certification, Malaysia would seriously
need to explore whether MSPO
or Marespo should be made mandato
Even at the MSPO formulation
stage, many controversial issues
were raised by industry players.
Some felt that the MSPO certification
should be made voluntary given
the stringent standards dictated by
its custodian, the MPOB.
Such stringent standards could
translate into high er costs whereby
many planters do not not want to
venture into especially when some
of them had to endure the rigorous
process of certifying their palm oil
for RSPO certification.
At one point, major planters had
to fork out about RM100 to produce
just one tonne of certified sustainable
palm oil under the RSPO.
Some quarters also hold the view
that the MSPO or ISPO certifications
could never be “credible” in the
export market particularly if one
were to benchmark with the existing
dismal offtake of the RSPO certified
sustainable palm oil to the
To make a success out of MSPO or
Marespo, the Plantation Industries
and Commodities Ministry and its
agencies, the MPOB and MPOC,
should seriously review the various
options and make a decision soon.
On the bright side, should the
MSPO be implemented, industry
sources said there were at least 10
local plantation companies that were
producing over 2 million tonnes of
CPO that can be certified immediately.
This is via tapping into the CSPO
already produced by the Malaysian
plantation companies that have
secured the RSPO certification.