The Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) Certification Scheme was developed as the national scheme in Malaysia for oil palm plantations, independent and organised smallholdings, and palm oil processing facilities. The Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council (MPOCC) develops, operates and manages the MSPO Certification Scheme. The MSPO Standards used under this scheme cover a range of principles and criteria (P and C) that covers the environmental, social, and economic aspects in oil palm plantation management, palm oil milling and supply chain traceability systems. The MSPO Standards include certification for independent smallholders, organised smallholders, plantations, and all processing facilities under the scheme. In 2017, an official announcement was made by the Malaysian government that the implementation of the MSPO Scheme will be made mandatory by the end of December 2019. This shows Malaysia’s commitment to and policy support for nationwide implementation of a credible oil palm certification system operated through accredited third-party certification bodies (CBs) when auditing of all field practices and milling operations is conducted against set auditable standards. This article reviews the development of the MSPO Certification Scheme, its institutional set-up, strengthening of the systems and standards through the review process, incentives to encourage adoption and tax relief, and amendments to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB)’s regulations for its implementation as a mandatory certification scheme. The paper also discusses some of the issues and challenges in implementing mandatory sustainability standards.
Received: 30 June 2020
Accepted: 3 September 2020
Available online: 31 March 2021
Page number: 1-12
Author: Sanath Kumaran, K*; Chew Jit Seng* and Balu Nambiappan**