As reported originally in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, The Institution of Chemical Engineers’ Palm Oil Processing Special Interest Group (or IChemE’s POPSIG) has relayed that Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Yaakob announced that the country remains committed to its target of becoming carbon-neutral as a nation by 2050. This plan includes the accelerated plans to reduce greenhouse gases emissions produced by the country by 45% in 2030.
In addition to the Prime Minister’s declaration, there were several commitments made at the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland in early November which are very exciting for those involved in the sustainable palm oil industry.
Several countries committed to halt and even reverse deforestation and its effects in various areas by 2030, including land degradation. This declaration and commitment is huge, especially when thinking in terms of sustainable palm oil. Irresponsibly farmed and sourced palm oil production causes a huge amount of irrevocably harmful deforestation, habitat destruction, and species displacement in various areas of the rainforest. These horrible occurrences are unfortunately still going on throughout the industry, where 80% of palm oil produced is still not certified as sustainable.
Though the efforts of the Roundtable on Palm Oil Sustainability (RSPO) has allowed strides to be made in activism, raising awareness regarding the practices of those in the palm oil industry, as well as in getting many to make the switch over to sustainably sourced palm oil, there’s still a huge way to go. With pressure from governments to end and reverse deforestation, sustainable palm oil production will be the answer for many of those still holding out. When sustainable palm oil is the choice made by farmer, producer, and consumer alike, we all win!
In addition to commitments to reverse and stop deforestation, nations also agreed to slash methane emissions by 30% (when compared to levels in 2020) by the year 2030.
This commitment is another huge win for the producers of sustainable palm oil, as this type of oil has the lowest CO2 emissions when compared to other oils like soy, grapeseed, and sunflower. When sourced sustainably, palm oil is very environmentally friendly, and can be produced with lower emissions levels than its counterparts.
An additional exciting insight into the global climate change summit was the commitment of ten of the world’s largest agricultural trading and processing companies to manage large global trade volumes in soy and palm oil.
So what does this commitment mean for the sustainable palm oil industry? Only amazing things! By managing palm oil production more closely, these companies will work toward sustainability and ethically sourcing this oil.
Getting the palm oil industry to net zero carbon emissions is a reality. Thanks to countries like Malaysia’s commitments to going carbon-neutral, not only will the country as a whole profit, but previously industries like those of palm oil will now be forced to take steps to be more sustainable and work to meet the RSPO’s standards, as well as to lower emissions to achieve complete carbon neutral status by 2040.