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Malaysian Palm Oil Board
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Email: sustainability@mpob.gov.my

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What is DNA marker?

DNA marker is a small fragment of the DNA whose inheritance can be monitored using specialized techniques. DNA markers can be used for fingerprinting such as to identify and/or differentiate organisms even at the species or variety level.

Techno-Ecnonomic Unit

What is the largest traded vegetable oil in the world?

Palm oil is the most traded vegetable oil in the world today and has been used as a dietary constituent for centuries.

What are the uses of palm oil?

Palm oil can be used in a variety of ways. Trans-free uses of palm oil are for shortenings such as margarine, puff pastry margarine, vanaspati and for frying.
There are also a variety of non-food uses of palm oil and palm kernel oil such as for soaps, candles, rubber processing, cosmetic products, fuel for cars with modified engines, and as a substitute for diesel .

Why is palm oil important?

Oil palm produces the highest yield per unit area among all vegetable oil-yielding crops, meaning that less land is required for the production of palm oil, while it also requires comparatively lower amounts of input of fertilizers, fuels and pesticides. The World Bank notes that, "with a population increase of 11.6 percent and a 5 percent increase in per capita consumption, an additional 28 million tons of vegetable oils will have to be produced annually by 2020. Palm oil is well placed to meet this demand with the lowest requirement for new land." Large oil palm plantations also generate more employment per unit area than most other large scale farming, such as soybeans.

What is sustainable palm oil?

Certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) and palm kernel oil (CSPKO) are produced by palm oil plantations which have been independently audited and found to comply with the globally agreed environmental standards devised by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). These stringent sustainability criteria relate to good social, environmental and economic  practice.

The RSPO was established in 2003 and spearheads the global drive for environmentally-friendly production of this crucial crop. As the world’s leading initiative on sustainable palm oil, it is working on many fronts and in many countries. Members of the RSPO and participants involved in its activities come from a variety of backgrounds. They include: oil palm growers, manufacturers and retailers of palm oil products, non-governmental organisations, involved environmental affairs. The principal objective of RSPO is “to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil through cooperation within the supply chain and open dialogue between its stakeholders”. Forty per cent of the world’s palm oil producers are members of the RSPO.

Can palm oil be produced sustainably?

Oil palm is one of the most resource efficient oil crops, requiring comparatively less land, fertilizers, fuel and pesticides. It also employs more people than most other crops, and has been transformative for economies such as those of Malaysia and Indonesia. The palm oil industry like many industries in their early stages, initially developed with very little regulation. Presently, with the incorporation of regulations and accountability, the industry is taking positive steps that will translate into sustainable business practices and shared value. In addition, with the recent introduction of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), companies are learning to produce palm oil in a sustainable manner. Sustainably produced palm oil is not produced at the expense of high conservation value forests (HCVF); local and indigenous people are consulted and engaged; and companies commit to transparent stakeholder engagement.

Is palm oil healthy?

Fats account for approximately 25-35% of a healthy human diet. Palm oil is a natural source of fat that features a number of health attributes, including:
Palm oil serves as a replacement for partially hydrogenated fats (trans fats) in certain food applications. Other mono- or polyunsaturated fats (e.g. soya, canola & sunflower seed oil) need to be hydrogenated, which results in trans fats. Trans fats increase cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.
Palm oil is currently not genetically modified, unlike other vegetable oils (e.g. soya & canola).
Among vegetable oils, palm oil features the highest levels of tocotrienols, which are a rare form of Vitamin E that act as powerful antioxidants.
Red (unprocessed) and red or golden (refined) palm oils are rich sources of beta-carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A.
Studies have demonstrated that the oleic and linoleic acid from palm oil lower cholesterol.

What is the environmental impact of palm oil production?

Better managed plantations and oil palm smallholdings serve as models of sustainable agriculture, in terms of economic performance, as well as social and environmental responsibility.

Is there an additional cost in producing CSPO?

There can be an initial cost to the producer in getting the plantation up to the standard required for certification as CSPO as specified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). However, producers may be able to cover the cost of improving their practices by charging a small premium on CSPO sales.

Is there an additional cost to shoppers in buying groceries that use sustainable palm oil?

While there is a cost to producers for certification, this cost is relatively low, and has little or no impact on the final cost to the consumer.

How much of palm oil produced globally is CSPO?

In 2009, 4% or 1.75 million tonnes of palm oil produced was CSPO.  As CSPO only entered the market that year, it appears to be a good start.

What is the governing body or association responsible for producing CSPO?

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a non-profit association is responsible for overseeing the compliance of standard for CSPO.  It involves stakeholders from all sectors of the industry, including environmental and social non-government organisations. Its members include WWF and Oxfam, oil palm producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors.

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