September 30/Los Angeles/Prepared Foods magazine -– The American Palm Oil Council (APOC) announced that a Malaysian palm oil plantation has been certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the world’s only international association formed to codify sustainable industry practices, as the first plantation to adopt the strictest standards of sustainability in its production of palm oil.

“Palm oil producers in Malaysia -– along with the Malaysian government -– are committed to preserving the country’s natural resources and biodiversity,” said Mohd Salleh Kassim, APOC’s executive director. “We want our consumers here in the U.S. to know that palm oil purchased in Malaysia is produced in a responsible, environmentally friendly manner. This announcement is a great step forward in providing our international consumers with the documentation to back-up our commitment to sustainable practices.”

The Malaysia-based United Plantations Bhd last month received the RSPO Certificate of Conformance to RSPO Principles and Criteria.  

Dedicated to promoting the growth and use of sustainable palm oil, the RSPO defines sustainable palm oil as production as “comprised of legal, economically viable, environmentally appropriate and socially beneficial management and operations.”  In order to obtain the RSPO certification, United Plantations Bhd participated in thorough investigations of its nine estates, six mills and conservation areas; interviews with management, staff and workers regarding management systems and social amenities; and a meeting with 150 of the company’s stakeholders to ensure that the plantation fulfills each of the RSPO criteria.  

“Much emphasis has been given to developing their commitment to sustainable palm oil,” stated lead assessor David Ogg in the RSPO Assessment Report for United Plantations Bhd.  “There is a clear commitment to RSPO by top management and by the staff and workers in the field.”

From the October 27, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash