Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) Deputy Chief Executive Officer Belvinder Sron has called for a greater global commitment to importing and supporting certified sustainable palm oil, for the good of our planet and its people.
Sron stressed this point while moderating a sustainability debate during the 2021 digital Palm Oil Trade Show, which drew 24,000 registered participants from around the world. “Buyers and consumers are making demands for environmental and social concerns, including taking care of the welfare of our workers,” she observed.
Acknowledging that there is still work to be done to achieve all of the palm oil industry’s sustainability goals, Sron specifically called for support for the smallholders (family farmers), who are responsible for 40% of the global palm oil output. As with many family farmers worldwide, the funds to invest in modern technology are not always readily available. With demands for such things as traceability increasing, Sron told participants: “We need to ensure [our smallholders] can be moved to digital monitoring platforms without unnecessary financial burdens.”
Echoing statements made previously by MPOC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kalyana Sundram, Sron also stressed that, in the interest of fairness, facts and science, sustainability debates should cover all oil-producing crops. The no palm oil movement is not the answer. “Closing the doors on any particular commodity with sweeping bans may risk moving to less environmentally friendly crops,” she observed.