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Strengths and Limitations of the MSPO

1. Has MSPO covered all concerns raised by producers/consumers/NGOs to ensure that it is accepted by all?

MSPO has covered all the requirements pertaining to the principles and criteria of sustainability. Since it is still new, it will take time for it to be accepted by the bulk of the stakeholders.

2. What are the strong points of MSPO compared to other certification standards?

MSPO is a national standard, committing the country to fulfill sustainability requirements. It targets to get the whole industry on board within the shortest possible time and strive for continuous improvement.

3. Is it robust enough to answer all the criticisms which have not been addressed by other certification standards?

There is no single certification standard that can fulfill all the concerns of all the stakeholders.

4. Unlike RSPO which is a multi-stakeholder approach, MSPO is basically driven by the Malaysian industry and government institutions with no NGO’s involvement. Will this be its weakest link?

The MSPO standards were opened for public comments i.e. the general public including NGOs, for a period of two months. The standards have been appropriately amended by taking into consideration all comments submitted.

5. How will traceability work for the MSPO system?

Traceability will be based on identity preserve, segregation and mass balance concept.

6. Is the sustainability requirement of MSPO more stringent?

MSPO is a well-balanced standard giving equal weightage to the 3Ps (People, Planet, Profit) of sustainability.

7. How does MSPO address peat land conversion?

MPOB has developed guidelines for best practices on peat land as state law allows planting on peat land which has been gazetted for agriculture use. However, such planting on fragile lands should be minimized.

8. How does MSPO address issues on HCV, riparian reserve and biodiversity?

MSPO addresses all these concerns in various clauses of the requirements. Generally, HCV, riparian reserved and areas of biodiversity will be protected according to national laws.

Implementation of MSPO Certification

1. The second issue is on the implementation of the MSPO certification system.  Yes, we have the MSPO standards already, but what are the time-table and action plans to execute the certification process?  Have the industry members been fully informed on the process?

MPOB has developed the certification procedure for auditing of sustainability under the MSPO scheme.  The timeline and action plan for implementation of MSPO certification are in place.

2. What is the time-table envisaged by MPOB or government to encourage companies to adopt MSPO certification?

As soon as possible, but we hope everyone will be on board by 2020.

3. Have the certifying bodies (CBs) being appointed and trained to do the third party auditing?

Certifying bodies have been identified and invited to conduct audits for MSPO.  Training was conducted by MPOB.

4. Do you have enough manpower and resources to conduct the audits etc.?  What assurance can MPOB give if there is a surge in applications received?

Audits will be conducted by third party CBs.  These CBs are certified competent to conduct audits on sustainability certification schemes. We will train more CBs as the demand for MSPO increases.

5. What are the minimum and maximum months in getting MSPO certification for those with RSPO certification and for others?

For those companies with sustainability certification, they will undergo a single stage audit until full certification and this will take a minimum of six months. For those without any sort of certification, a longer time will be needed.

6. What are the preparation and support given to smallholders to comply with MSPO certification?

Awareness programmes through roadshows, training, basic infrastructure, technical assistance through TUNAS activities. We have formed cooperatives through Sustainable Palm Oil Cluster (SPOC) which will facilitate certification. In addition, the Government has allocated RM50mil to help in the certification of smallholders.

7. What is the cost involved in having MSPO certification?  Will it be cheaper than RSPO?

The cost of implementing MSPO certification will be within the means of the industry. We believe will be cheaper than RSPO.

Recognition of MSPO

1. The final issue which concerns PORAM members is the market acceptance for MSPO. What is the real progress of MPOB and MPOC in promoting this MSPO certification (i.e. the products) to be accepted by consumers worldwide?

MPOB will work towards recognition and acceptance of MSPO by importing countries. MPOB has planned a series of promotional activities for market acceptance of MSPO.

2. What is the market acceptability and credibility of our MSPO? Have market surveys been conducted in the EU, USA etc.? What about the developing countries such as China, India and Pakistan?

MPOB will ensure market acceptability of our MSPO by working through its regional offices in Belgium, United States of America, China, Pakistan and Egypt. As the MSPO is a national standard, it can be used for G to G arrangement/negotiation.

3. How do we position our MSPO compared to other certification standards? The main complaint about RSPO certification is low uptake on CSPO and low premium. Will MSPO face the same fate or complaints?

MSPO will leverage on the fact that it is a set of Malaysian standards and this will be used as a marketing tool and G to G negotiation. Premium is market driven.