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Information about biofuels and bioenergy in Malaysia.

  • Malaysia is a major producer and exporter of palm oil, oil derived from the oil palm.










  • Malaysia has a goal for the share of renewable energy to reach 10% of the total by 2010. [1]
  • A National Biofuel Policy was announced by the Government in August 2005 to promote development of a biofuels industry in Malaysia.
    • The National Biofuel Policy entails a four-prong strategy:
  1. the production of a biofuel blend of 5% processed palm oil and 95% diesel (or B5),
  2. encouraging the use of B5 among the public
  3. establishing an industry standard for palm biodiesel quality
  4. the setting up of biodiesel plants in Malaysia for exports. (source: MPOB)
  • In 2005, the total oil palm planted area increased by 4.5% or 174,000 hectares to 4.0 million hectares, the state of Sabah on Borneo accounted for 30% of the total area. (source: MPOB)
  • Production of crude palm oil has been increasing for 7 consecutive years and reached 15.0 million tonnes in 2005. Production growth of 7.1% was mainly attributed to the increase in matured areas, enhanced plantation and mill management, recovery in fresh fruit bunches yield per hectare to 18.88 tonnes and continued improvement in the oil extraction rate (OER) to 20.15%. (Source: MPOB)


Governmental organizations

Nongovernmental organizations

Industry Organizations/Companies


  • Historical Analysis and Projection of Oil Palm Plantation Expansion on Peatland in Southeast Asia by Jukka Miettinen, Al Hooijer, Daniel Tollenaar, Sue Page, Chris Malins, Ronald Vernimmen, Chenghua Shi, and Soo Chin Liew; ICCT, February 2012. "Study using satellite mapping data of historical and projected rates at which oil palm plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia have expanded and will expand onto peat soils."
    • "This study demonstrates that the area of industrial oil palm (OP) plantations in the peatlands of insular Southeast Asia (Malaysia and Indonesia, except the Papua Provinces) has increased drastically over the past 20 years. From a small area in 1990 to at least 2.15 million hectares in 2010, expansion has affected every region of Malaysia and Indonesia reviewed here."
    • See also indirect land use change (ILUC). [3]



  • Coconut and mango waste could help power Asia 22 March 2012 by Syful Islam for SciDev.Net: "[DHAKA] Researchers in the United States say agricultural waste from coconut and mango farming could generate significant amounts of off-grid electricity for rural communities in South and South-East Asia."
  • "Many food crops have a tough, inedible part which cannot be used to feed livestock or fertilise fields. Examples of this material — known as ['endocarp'] — include coconut, almond and pistachio shells, and the stones of mangoes, olives, plums, apricots and cherries... Endocarp is high in a chemical compound known as lignin. High-lignin products can be heated to produce an energy-rich gas that can be used to generate electricity."
  • The researchers identified high-endocarp-producing regions of the world – and noted that coconut and mango agriculture account for 72 per cent of total global endocarp production. Coconut production alone accounted for 55 per cent... Most coconut endocarp comes from South and South-East Asian countries, including Bangladesh, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • They then overlaid these findings with energy consumption data to identify communities with little access to electricity, who could benefit from endocarp-based energy.
  • [Tom] Shearin [co-author and a systems analyst at University of Kentucky] said endocarp was preferable to crop-based biofuels as it had no value as a food item. "Its exploitation as energy source does not compete with food production," he said. [5]
  • US Report Casts Doubt On Palm Fuel Benefits, 8 February 2012 by Jakarta Globe: "Indonesia has come under greater scrutiny over its policy to encourage palm oil development, following a report by US authorities that fuels derived from the commodity were not as environmentally friendly as initially believed."
    • "Last month, the US Environmental Protection Agency put out a notice that palm oil-derived biofuels such as biodiesel and renewable diesel fell short of its threshold for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings of 20 percent compared to regular diesel...."
    • "Meine van Noordwijk, chief science adviser at the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), said if more than 10 percent of palm oil originated from peatland plantations, then the EPA’s standards could not be met, regardless of all other efforts."
    • "In 2009, 22 percent of Indonesia’s palm oil plantations were on peat soil, while in Malaysia the figure was 13 percent, according to the EPA...."
    • "In 2008 the EU banned biofuels from palm oil grown from deforesting tropical forests peatlands."[6]
  • EPA Rejects Palm-Oil Based Biodiesel for Renewable Fuels Program, 27 January 2012 by Business Week: "The Environmental Protection Agency said that biodiesel made from palm oil doesn’t meet the requirements to be added to its renewable fuels program because its greenhouse-gas emissions are too high."
    • "In a regulatory filing today, the EPA said that palm-oil biodiesel, which is primarily produced in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, provides reductions of as much as 17 percent in greenhouse-gas emissions compared to traditional diesel fuel, falling short of a 20 percent reduction necessary to qualify under the law."
    • "By failing to meet that threshold, oil companies can’t use palm fuels to meet national renewable fuel standards. Other fuels they can use are made from soy beans, animal fat, recycled cooking grease or similar materials...."
    • "Environmental groups, which are locked in a fight with the EPA over its approval of corn-based ethanol under the same program, praised the decision as an important marker by the agency. Palm-oil production has led to the deforestation of 6.5 million hectares (16.1 million acres) in Malaysia and Indonesia, according to Friends of the Earth."[7]


  • Sustainable palm oil initiative falters, 20 November 2011 by Mail & Guardian Online: "Environmentalists have warned that an effort to encourage the sustainable production of palm oil launched several years ago has not kept pace with expanding cultivation driven by rising demand."
    • "The issue will loom large this week at the annual meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil from November 22 to 24 in key producer Malaysia."
    • "Despite some progress, major users of palm oil are not making enough effort to source and buy sustainably produced oil, while incentives for green production remain inadequate, green groups say."
    • "Growers produced 5.2-million tonnes of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) -- accounting for about 10% of world supply -- last year but only about 56% of it was purchased."
    • "Environmentalists say the consequences for rainforests in major producers Malaysia and Indonesia -- which account for 85% of world production -- and other producing nations will be dire unless the situation changes."
    • "The forest loss contributes to climate change and further imperils threatened species like the orangutan while land disputes between local communities and large palm producers seeking to expand cultivation are rising."[8]
  • Indonesia’s withdrawal puts Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil on shaky ground, 5 October 2011 by The Star Online: "The jury is still out on the implications of Indonesia's withdrawal of its membership from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)."
    • "On the one hand, some industry observers reckon the absence of Indonesia, being a sizeable producer, can derail the workings of RPSO."
    • "But others think that as long as major palm oil producers such as Sime Darby Bhd and Wilmar International are still members of RSPO, there should be no negative impact on the grouping."
    • "It is unclear if the decision by GAPKI will have any bearing on the Malaysia Palm Oil Association's (MPOA) stand on RSPO."
    • "Fadhil Hasan, the executive director of GAPKI, was quoted as saying the association decided to resign because Indonesia already had the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO)."
    • "RSPO has just recently achieved one million hectares of certified production area around the world. Malaysia and Indonesia contribute 88% of total certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO). Out of this, Indonesia produces 40% of global CSPO, second to Malaysia with 48% of production."[9]
  • Advertising watchdog calls time on sustainable palm oil adverts, 6 July 2011 by businessGreen: "The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) has once again been ordered to change or remove adverts promoting palm oil as 'sustainable', as the sector steps up its efforts to convince EU policy makers to allow palm oil-based biofuels."
    • "MPOC, which represents the Malaysian palm oil industry, is keen to highlight its efforts to reduce the industry's environmental impact as part of a campaign to convince the EU to include fuels made from palm oil in its sustainable biofuel certification scheme."
    • "The case, determined last week, upheld FoE Europe's complaint that MPOC had breached 'les règles de l'éthique publicitaire' in an advert on the EurActiv web site earlier this year."
    • "Defining 'sustainability' by three dimensions - social, environmental and economic - the jury concluded that there was not enough evidence to show that palm oil met all three aspects."[10]
  • Mission signs contract to supply ISCC sustainability certified product, 2 May 2011 by Your Industry News: "Mission NewEnergy Limited, a global leader in providing energy from renewable sources, is pleased to announce that it has signed a contract to supply sustainability-certified product to a major international producer and distributor of refined oil products."
    • "'This is the culmination of two years of work by the Mission team in collaboration with International Sustainability & Carbon Certification System (ISCC) and FELDA. We are really proud to become the only certified supplier of palm-based products into the European market. It has opened a new market for us and we are currently in negotiations with several other buyers for our certified product,' said Nathan Mahalingam, Group CEO of Mission."
    • "In early March, Mission announced that it had established Asia’s first fully integrated ISCC certified palm biodiesel supply and production chain, in collaboration with FELDA."
    • "FELDA, a Malaysian government corporation and one of the world’s largest palm oil producers, in collaboration with Mission, Malaysia’s largest biodiesel refiner recently completed ISCC certification of two of its mills and eight plantations in Peninsular Malaysia."[11]
  • SE Asian palm oil firms go on African land safari, 29 April 2011 by Reuters: "Malaysia's Sime Darby and Singapore's Golden Agri Resources have joined a slew of global firms entering Africa by snapping up hundreds of thousands of hectares of land in Liberia, but it could still take years to turn the region into a net exporter and help ease high palm oil prices."
    • "With an increasing number of firms rushing to Africa as part of a global grab for land in the face of soaring food prices, African governments such as Nigeria and Tanzania have also thrown open their doors to planters by offering tax breaks and big land concessions."
    • "World Bank studies show Sub-Saharan Africa holds 201.5 million hectares suitable for crops, nearly half the world's total, or 16 times the combined oil palm acreage in Indonesia and Malaysia."
    • "Investors are often lured by the fact that land in Africa can be rented or bought at a fraction of the price in Malaysia, where estates are priced at $6,000 to $7,000 per hectare, but there are other hidden costs."
    • "Estates in Africa's top grower, Nigeria, yield about a tenth of Malaysia's 21.3 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches a hectare, FAO data shows, due to poor planting materials and the region's long dry season that stresses out water-loving oil palms."[12]
  • Palm oil planters get wise with bird of prey pest control, 20 April 2011 by Reuters: "Leading Southeast Asian producers of palm oil have tried different pest control schemes over the years, from snakes to poisons, but the high success rate -- and low cost -- of owls has prompted more planters to turn to them for help in reducing damage."
    • "Malaysia and Indonesia account for more than 90 percent of the world's supply of palm oil, while other smaller producing nations include Colombia, Benin, Kenya and Ghana."
    • "But according to the green group Deforestation Watch, crop losses caused by rats feeding on the palm fruit has been estimated to be around 5 percent of the oil yield."
    • "'The (plantations) say it's cheaper because they can decrease costs by 50 percent compared with using chemicals,' said Chaerul Saleh, a biologist at WWF-Indonesia."[13]
  • Palm Oil Lobby Fights World Bank's Environmental Initiatives in Indonesia, Malaysia, 20 April 2011 by Treehugger: "We know how destructive the palm oil industry in Indonesia and Malaysia, so it was great news when the World Bank announced that social and environmental safeguards would serve as guiding principles in its lending to the palm oil sector."
    • "The World Bank said it would try to 'support smallholders and foster benefit sharing with rural communities,' but that palm oil lobbying groups World Growth International and the Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA) attacked the Bank for doing so."
    • "The latter group issued a press release saying: 'The Bank's new framework for palm oil engagement elevates radical ideological opposition to agriculture development above the needs of the poor and hungry in Africa'—a position some are spinning as the Bank saying the environment is more important than African farmers."
    • "What that fails to recognize is the precise link between climate change, degradation of the environment, and increased vulnerability for already impoverished people, specifically in Africa."[14]
  • Malaysian palm oil giant in fight with forest people gets rebuke from RSPO, 6 April 2011 by "RSPO said IOI Corp breached 'two core membership mandates and obligations' on land conflict and conversion of high conservation forest into oil palm plantations. IOI Corp will have 28 days to deliver a proposal to resolve the outstanding issues."
    • "Should it fail to do so by May 2, 2011, RSPO told IOI it will consider 'further sanctions against your company, which may include the suspension of your license for new transactions involving Certified Sustainable Palm Oil materials including GreenPalm certificates.'"
    • "Such a move could cost IOI dearly in the marketplace. In 2009 and 2010, PT Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology (PT SMART), an Indonesian subsidiary of Golden Agri Resources, lost a number of major customers after it was found to be clearing carbon-dense peatlands and rainforests in Indonesian Borneo."
    • "The rebuke from RSPO comes just days after the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) highlighted the struggle between the people of Long Teran Kenan and IOI over two plantations on native lands in Baram, Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo."[15]
  • Indigenous community takes court ruling into own hands and seizes oil palm plantation, 31 March 2011 by "A community in Malaysian Borneo seized an oil palm plantation belonging to the IOI Group after the palm oil giant failed to respect the terms of a court ruling that the plantation was established on native customary land, reports the Rainforest Action Network (RAN)."
    • "Earlier this month, the people of Long Teran Kenan blocked the road and occupied the plantation. They have since started harvesting and selling the fruit to a nearby palm oil mill."
    • "RAN is highlighting the situation because IOI supplies palm oil to Cargill, America's largest palm oil importer. RAN says Cargill has failed to enact policies that protect against such abuses."
    • "IOI said the High Court of Sarawak did not grant 'the natives' the right to reclaim the contested land and added that the natives' customary rights on the land "can be extinguished by paying compensation." IOI further stated that the court 'did not grant any injunctions sought by the natives restraining IOI Pelita from remaining and continuing its operations on the lands.' Therefore IOI believes the actions by the people of Long Teran Kenan are 'illegal.'"[16]
  • Norway to continue palm oil investments, 30 March 2011 by "Norway's $550 billion sovereign wealth fund will continue investing in Asian palm oil companies despite criticism from environmental groups, reports Reuters."
    • "Runar Malkenes, Deputy Director of the Information Division at Norway's Ministry of Finance, told Reuters that while the fund will continue to invest in the sector, it may exclude palm oil companies that cause egregious environmental damage."
    • "Last year Norway divested its holdings in Samling, a Malaysian company associated with destructive logging practices and social conflict with indigenous groups in Malaysian Borneo."
    • "The fund, which invests revenues from the country's oil and gas industry, held 2.4 billion Norwegian crowns ($430 million) worth of palm oil-related stocks as of the end of last year."
    • "Norway's statement comes a week after Indonesian activist group Greenomics criticized Norway for continuing to hold stakes in several palm oil companies linked to deforestation, including Golden Agri Resources (GAR), which owns PT Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology (SMART], a firm that had been targeted for Greenpeace over destruction of rainforests and peatlands in Borneo."[17]
  • Palm oil giants target Africa in 'land grab' following Indonesia deforestation ban, 25 March 2011 by The Ecologist: "The world's largest palm oil producer Indonesia is due to implement a two-year ban on granting new concessions of land to plantation companies in forest areas."
    • "There are also restrictions on the availability of land in Malaysia. This has led companies like Sime Darby, which has more than half a million hectares of palm oil in Indonesia and Malaysia, to look elsewhere."
    • "Sime Darby - reported to be the largest palm oil producer in the world - has leased 220,000 hectares of land in Liberia and is considering buying a further 300,000 hectares for palm oil plantations in Cameroon."
    • "Other rival palm oil giants like Sinar Mar, Olam International and Wilmar International are also tying up land deals in Liberia, Gabon and Ghana."
    • "In Cameroon, campaigners have admitted to having strong reservations about Sime Darby's plans to lease land for palm oil plantations. Samuel Nguiffo, from the Centre for Environment and Development (CED), says even if they only develop on degraded forest, the deal is likely to involve farmland being taken away from local communities."
    • "Nguiffo believes the land has more value in terms of sustaining local livelihood but says the government will push hard for a deal, regardless of the long-term consequences for the country's food security."[18]
  • Counting the carbon cost of peatland conversion, 7 March 2011 by Nature News: "Up to 6% of carbon-rich peat-swamp forests had been cleared in Peninsular Malaysia and on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra to make way for oil-palm plantations by the early 2000s, according to a study published today. The clearances, a response to rising demand for food and biofuel, released as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the entire UK transport sector does in a year."
    • "Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study is the first attempt to systematically assign a value to the carbon loss due to peatland destruction in Southeast Asia that can be attributed directly to conversion to oil-palm plantations."
    • "Malaysia and Indonesia (which includes Sumatra and parts of Borneo) are the world's largest suppliers of palm oil, accounting for 87% of global production in 2008."
    • "Like most forests, peat-swamp forests store large amounts of carbon above ground as biomass, and this is lost when the forest is cleared. They also store large amounts of carbon in their soils, as dead organic matter decomposes slowly under marshy conditions. Draining peatlands to create agricultural land oxidizes the soil and releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."
    • "For the first 25 years after an oil-palm plantation is established in a peat-swamp forest, about 60 tonnes of carbon dioxide are released per hectare every year, according to recent research."[19]
  • Malaysian palm oil destroying forests, report warns, 2 February 2011 by the Guardian: "Study by Wetlands International claims level of palm oil-related deforestation in Malaysia is higher than previously thought."
    • "The report claims that between 2005 and 2010, almost 353,000 hectares of peat swamp forests were cleared – a third of Malaysia's total – largely for palm oil production."
    • "The clearing, draining and burning of peat swamp forests is responsible for about 10 per cent of mankind's greenhouse gas emissions, according to Wetlands International."
    • "Palm oil firms in Malaysia and Indonesia are under increasing pressure by major Western retailers and consumer goods brands, many of which use palm oil in their products, to halt the expansion of plantations that lead to forest clearance."
    • "Some Malaysian palm oil producers have also joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, but strong demand from India and China for unsustainably sourced oil means others can avoid doing so without necessarily harming their market share."[20]
  • Palm Oil Plantations Embrace Biodiversity In Attempt To Change Environmentally Destructive Reputation, 20 January 2011 by The Huffington Post: "Palm oil plantations carry a history of controversy. The cash crop is used for fuel and food, but at the same time, it destroys rainforests. Also, compared to diverse forests, monoculture plantations do not trap greenhouse gases as efficiently."
    • "These challenges are no more visible than on the United International Enterprises Estate, located in the Majung District of Malaysia. The plantation has over 1.4 million trees. Unfortunately, they are all the same."
    • "A nature reserve has been created on the plantation, populated by rare trees. The manager's goal is to increase the plant diversity to 500 plant variations."
    • "The plantation is the first to be certified by the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil Production, a group working to make palm oil more eco-friendly."[21]


  • Biofuels: Is Palm Oil a Blessing or a Curse, 9 November 2010 by Robert Rapier: "Palm oil presents an excellent case illustrating both the promise and the peril of biofuels. Driven by demand from the U.S. and the European Union (EU) due to mandated biofuel requirements, palm oil has provided a valuable cash crop for farmers in tropical regions like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand."
    • "The high productivity of palm oil has led to a dramatic expansion in many tropical countries around the equator. This has the potential for alleviating poverty in these regions."
    • "But in some locations, expansion of oil palm cultivation has resulted in serious environmental damage as rain forest has been cleared to make room for new palm oil plantations."
    • "Palm oil represents a difficult dilemma: How does the West address negative social or environmental implications from the development of a palm oil industry (or any industry) that is helping to lift rural people out of poverty by providing an income stream for farmers? Western objectives (saving the rain forests) may be viewed as conflicting with their basic needs (feeding their families and sending their kids to school) — which is of course why globally rain forest continues to disappear."[22]
  • Malaysia's once-vaunted biofuel industry grinds to halt, 6 September 2010 by AFP: "Malaysia's once-vaunted biofuel industry has seen production grind to a halt since a March announcement that the government's mandatory switch to the green energy will be delayed to June 2011."
    • "Malaysia had ambitions to become a global leader in biodiesel and unveiled grand plans for the industry as the price of crude oil spiralled, peaking in mid-2008."
    • "However, the future of the alternative fuels is now in question given cheaper crude prices and the higher cost of Malaysia's palm oil."
    • "Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) figures show that the production of biodiesel, a mixture of diesel with five percent processed palm oil, dropped 99 percent from 12,640 tonnes in March to just 137 tonnes in July."
    • "Malaysian Biodiesel Association vice-president U.R. Unnithan said the country had the capacity to produce 2.6 million tonnes of biofuel annually but that demand had completely dried up."
    • "Unnithan said Malaysian biofuel cannot compete in international markets as many countries have protectionist measures and subsidies in place."[23]
  • Nestle caves to activist pressure on palm oil , 17 May 2010 by "After a two month campaign against Nestle for its use of palm oil linked to rainforest destruction spearheaded by Greenpeace, the food giant has given in to activists' demands. The Swiss-based company announced today in Malaysia that it will partner with the Forest Trust, an international non-profit organization, to rid its supply chain of any sources involved in the destruction of rainforests." A company press release stated that "Nestle wants to ensure that its products have no deforestation footprint."
    • "Nestle stated that under new sourcing guidelines it will only use palm oil suppliers that do not break local laws, protect high conservation forests and any forests with 'high carbon' value, protect carbon-important peatlands, and support free prior and informed consent for indigenous and local communities."
    • "For its part, Nestle has pledged that 100 percent of its palm oil will come from sustainable sources by 2015. Currently 18 percent of Nestle's palm oil is from sustainably certified sources, but the company hopes to reach 50 percent by the end of 2011."[24]
    • Related: Read about Nestle's "Responsible Sourcing" guidelines
  • Flat-headed cat endangered by palm oil, April 2010 by MNN: "According to National Geographic, a new study published in the journal PLoS ONE has indicated that the flat-headed cat's habitat is rapidly being transformed into vast biofuel plantations."
    • "Native to the swampy peat forests of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, the cats are nocturnal, elusive, tiny (they typically weigh between 3-5 pounds) and difficult to observe."
    • "Almost 70 percent of the area that historically provided good habitats for the flat-headed cat has already been converted into plantations, mostly for the purpose of growing biofuel. Furthermore, their remaining range has become fragmented, likely making it difficult for remote populations of the cat to breed with one another."
    • "The cat's predicament is not unique in the region where it lives. Tropical Southeast Asia has both one of the highest rates of biodiversity and highest rates of deforestation worldwide. Much of that deforestation is for the purpose of planting palms, a cash crop destined for the biofuel market."[25]
  • Malaysia to switch to biofuel next year, 24 March 2010 by AFP: "Malaysia, the world's second-largest palm oil producer, will make it mandatory for all vehicles to use biofuel from next year, the government announced Wednesday. Malaysia's plans to shift to biofuel -- a mixture of diesel with five percent processed palm oil -- have been delayed over the past few years due to price fluctuations."
    • "The government has said the switch to biofuel will help reduce the cost of fuel in Malaysia, where petrol is subsidised, but conservationists have criticised oil palm plantations for destroying wildlife habitats."
    • "[Commodities Minister Bernard Dompok] said Malaysia -- which aims to be the global leader in biodiesel -- has approved 56 licences for biodiesel production, which account for a production capacity of 6.8 million tonnes."[27]
  • Borneo mega-dams proposal raises fears for tribes, wildlife, 2 January 2010 by The Independent: "A massive tract of Borneo jungle, an area the size of Singapore, will soon disappear under the waters of the Bakun dam, a multi-billion-dollar project nearing completion after years of controversy."
    • "a notice extinguishing the rights of the Murum people over the affected land has already been issued, and construction has begun, but so far there is no formal relocation proposal or offer of compensation."


  • Controversial palm-oil plan may save the orang-utan, 22 July 2009 by New Scientist: Orang-utan "researchers and conservationists in Sabah, in Malaysian Borneo, may have to do what had until recently been unthinkable: join forces with the palm oil industry whose plantations have eaten into much of the orang-utan's habitat. October this year will see an unprecedented meeting of Malaysia's palm oil producers, conservationists and local government to figure out how to protect the world's last orang-utans."
    • "Such collaborations will be especially important given the poor start for the international Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), set up in 2002, which is supposed to address the issues of environmental damage and wildlife conflict by encouraging producers to ensure their plantations are certified as sustainable."
    • "Sabah's 26,000-hectare Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is home to about 1000 orang-utans....The sanctuary has been heavily fragmented by oil palm plantations, and is now an archipelago of animal 'islands'."[29]
  • Small-scale biofuels production holds more promise, says USAID, 21 June 2009 by BusinessMirror: "Decentralized biofuel production, or small-scale factories built on degraded or underused lands, has the potential to provide energy to half a billion people living in poverty in rural Asia."
    • " The report, Biofuels in Asia: An Analysis of Sustainability Options…focused on China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. It analyzed key trends and concerns and highlighted sustainability options for biofuel production."
    • "Compared with large-scale biofuels production, small-scale biofuels production for local use may deliver greater social benefits, including improvement of rural livelihoods, support of local industries, and a lower tendency toward exploitation of workers and co-opting of land from indigenous peoples."
  • The world's top 15 listed palm oil planters, 9 June 2009 by Reuters: Information on the "15 largest listed palm planters, ranked by market value....mostly located in Indonesia and Malaysia".
    • Statistics provided on "plantation holdings are in hectares and include both cultivated and uncultivated land".
  • CPO Producers Say Green Efforts Not Paying Off, 31 May 2009 by JakartaGlobe: "While many palm oil plantations and farmers are struggling to get certificates proving their palm oil is produced in a sustainable manner, others that have the certificates are complaining that buyers in Europe don’t want to buy their products because they are too expensive."
    • "When the first batch of RSPO-certified palm oil arrived in Europe in November 2008, the company involved, Malaysia-based United Plantations, was accused by environmental organizations Greenpeace and Wetlands International of not actually meeting the RSPO’s requirements....Greenpeace maintains that the roundtable’s system fails to adequately address issues like deforestation, peatland clearance and other land-related conflicts."
    • "The EU is in the process of requiring all palm oil producers to certify both crude palm oil and derivative products. Companies that do not obtain certification by 2010 will not be allowed to sell to EU countries."
  • "Green" palm planters struggling to find buyers, 30 May 2009 by "JAKARTA, May 27 - Palm oil planters in the world's top two producers Indonesia and Malaysia are struggling to find buyers for their eco-friendly palm oil...threatening to slow momentum."
    • "Under fire from green groups and some Western consumers, the palm oil industry established the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in 2004 to develop an ethical certification system that includes commitments to preserve rainforests and wildlife."
    • "...the industry had so far sold only 15,000 tonnes of certified green palm oil since the first shipment last November while output might have reached around 600,000 tonnes."
    • "The issue of 'green' palm remains contentious and some conservation groups argue that the current voluntary rules are not effective in protecting the environment."
  • Sustainability criteria must be science based, verifiable and WTO-compatible (Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities), 25 February 2009, by the World Refining Association: Malaysia's Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, the Hon. Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui, stated in an interview that “We urge the EU to ensure that its sustainability scheme does not discriminate against third country producers and that the criteria used are science based, verifiable and WTO-compatible".
    • "One of the biggest concerns in the use of biofuels is its impact on food security [...]. As far as the Malaysian Government is concerned, the local mandate B5 if fully implemented will require only 500,000 tonnes annually or a mere 3% of our national production of CPO [Crude Palm Oil]. In fact, 90% of Malaysian palm oil is used for traditional applications such as foodstuffs and oleochemicals (soap and cosmetics), while only a small fraction is destined for biofuel production."
    • "We are engaging countries such as the EU and USA that are coming up with legislations which impose sustainability criteria on our palm and biofuel products. This includes the EU Directive on Renewable Energy."


  • Biofuel producers warn EU over "unjustifiably complex" sustainability rules, 7 November 2008 by BusinessGreen: "Eight developing countries have written to the EU warning they will complain to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) if it passes proposed legislation designed to improve the environmental sustainability of biofuels by restricting the types of fuels the bloc imports."
    • "The EU is considering legislation that is intended to ban the purchase of biofuels from energy crop plantations that are believed to harm the environment and lead to food shortages by displacing land used for food crops and contributing to rainforest deforestation."
    • "[E]ight countries – Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Indonesia and Malaysia – have written to the EU to protest against the proposals" in a letter that "claims that the new rules would 'impose unjustifiably complex requirements on producers' and argues that environmental criteria 'relating to land-use change will impinge disproportionately on developing countries'."[31]
  • Biofuels standards challenged by new report on Malaysian Palm Oil , 8 October 2008 by Friends of the Earth UK: "Malaysian palm oil is finding its way into British petrol tanks despite concerns about its carbon balance and the rainforest being destroyed to produce it - according to a new report by Friends of the Earth international."
    • "The UK Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA) has reported that Malaysian palm oil being used for fuel in the UK meets a 'qualifying environmental standard', but Friends of the Earth's research reveals it is far from green."
    • The FOE report finds that Sarawak state in Malaysia "plans to more than double its 2007 levels of oil palm acreage by the expense of tropical forests" and that "companies regularly practice open burning on carbon rich peat soils releasing millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere".[32]
    • See the report Malaysian Palm Oil: Green Gold or Green Wash?
  • Biofuels and banquets put pressure on stocks of palm oil, 9 January 2008 by the Times Online, reported that "The Malaysian Government has been forced to release emergency stocks of palm oil to break a wave of panic-buying after cooking oil prices soared. The crisis has prompted palm oil rationing in a country that is one of the world’s largest producers."


  • Malaysia May Revoke Biofuel Permits as Palm Oil Rises, 11 December 2007, by Bloomberg: "Malaysia, the second-biggest palm oil producer, may revoke some licenses to produce biofuel from the the surging price of the raw material makes the fuel too expensive to make, a minister said." The minister also noted that one of Malaysia's four biodiesel manufacturing plants may close in the face of increased prices for the feedstock, which has risen some 55 percent in the past year. A reduction in output by Malaysia could also make it difficult for The European Union to meet its targets for biodiesel use.[35]
  • Surging crude palm oil prices: Malaysian biodiesel plans in jeopardy, 25 April 2007 by AFP in the Daily Times (Pakistan), reports that "Surging crude palm oil prices have put a dent in Malaysian ventures to manufacture biodiesel, with licencees dragging their feet to set up factories;" currently, only six of 90 licenced firms are producing palm oil-based biodiesel, as high demand and raw material prices have threatened the financial viability of ventures, especially smaller ones.


  • Biofuel to boost palm oil prices, 14 August 2006, by Fin24, reports that Malaysia's Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister stated that biofuel "had created new demand for palm oil which is currently enjoying prices of 1,600 ringgit ($436) per tonne" and that "the first palm biodiesel plant...commenced production and would be officially launched in southern Johor state". [36]
  • Grumble in the wrong Jungle 23 June 2006 letter to the editor of the Observer from the Malaysian Palm Oil Council correcting "misrepresentation[s] of the current state of the palm oil industry and efforts taken to protect wildlife, particularly in Malaysia."


  1. Biofuel Bill ready for Parliament debate in May, 14 March 2007 from The Business Times.

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