KUALA LUMPUR, 13 October 2008 - A business unit of Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd has been awarded the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Certification, the first step in the company’s effort towards meeting the highest standards of sustainability for the production of palm oil.
The business unit – its Sandakan Bay strategic operating unit (SOU) – was successfully audited by BSi Management Systems and subsequently certified by the Executive Board and Certification Board of the RSPO.
This achievement will give the world’s largest oil palm plantation company a bigger boost as it sets out to expand its markets in Europe and other parts of the world where there is a surge in demand for edible oils produced under sustainable conditions.
This is a significant achievement for the team that has been working towards obtaining RSPO Certification. It underlines the continuous effort by Sime Darby to maintain the highest standards in our operations,” Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zubir Murshid, Sime Darby’s President and Chief Executive, said.
The 12,000 ha Sandakan Bay SOU is located in eastern Sabah. It produces about 63,000 tonnes of RSPO certified crude palm oil (CPO) and 16,000 tonnes of palm kernel oil. Four other SOUs – Mostyn, Binaung, Giram and Merotai – have been audited by SIRIM and are awaiting RSPO Certification. They are among Sime Darby’s 65 SOUs. An SOU is a business unit comprising a mill and its supply base of one or more estates. Sime Darby also supports local communities by engaging smallholders to supply palm fruits to its SOUs.
“Nevertheless,” Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zubir said, “this is just another phase in our journey towards achieving full sustainability. This is a continuing journey for us and we are working towards full certification and we are confident that by 2011 all our 65 strategic operating units will be RSPO certified.’’
The first shipment of certified and traceable palm oil will be shipped from Sabah to Unimills B.V, in Holland, by the end of October. Unimills, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sime Darby Bhd, is a leading edge supplier of tailor-made vegetable oils in Europe.
RPSO Certification is a rigorous process in which the entire operations and processes of a particular business unit are thoroughly investigated. A company’s agricultural practices as well as its social and environmental management policies are assessed.For Sime Darby’s certification process, the company’s Biodiversity Assessment and the Social Impact Assessment Programmes were assessed, among others. The Biodiversity Assessment that is carried out in each unit investigates ways of enhancing the biodiversity within each area, looks at the area’s river buffer zones, mud pools, hot springs and surrounding natural forest areas. The Social Impact Assessment looks at management of plantation employees, their welfare, enhancement of their welfare, surrounding communities and other relevant stakeholders. The RSPO was created in direct response to the rapid expansion of the palm oil industry globally and the need for this expansion to be done sustainably. The RSPO has brought together members of this global industry and has set the standards for sustainable production of palm oil engraved in eight key principles and 39 criteria. This comprehensive protocol on sustainable production was developed after rigorous consultations with various investors, producers, manufacturers and NGOs. A pioneer member of the RSPO, Sime Darby Plantation owns and operates 208 palm oil estates and 65 palm oil mills in Malaysia and Indonesia.