Parliamentary Policy Briefing: The Tipping Point of Sustainable Palm Oil – Implication on Smallholders and the Malaysian Economy

[ Policy Matters ] – Parliamentary Policy Briefing on

Title: The Tipping Point of Sustainable Palm Oil – Implication on Smallholders and the Malaysian Economy

Time and Venue

17 March 2014, 1.00 pm – 2.30 pm, Parliament

* Lunch provided

Jointly organized by

1. Democratic Action Party Parliamentary Research Unit

2. Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU)

Introduction

On Dec 5 2013, palm oil giant Wilmar International dropped a bombshell by declaring a ‘no deforestation, no peat and no exploitation’ policy.  This has sent a shockwave down the palm oil supply chain, particularly in Sarawak where up to 1 million hectare of peat land is targeted for potential oil palm expansion in recent future.  Wilmar’s policy has intensified the debate on the future trajectories of sustainable palm oil among the growers, traders, NGOs, manufacturers, state authorities, and consumer activists.

While 15% of Malaysian land is planted by oil palm, 600,000 workers directly employed in the and a GDP contribution of 6%, the dynamics of oil palm supply chain from upstream to downstream are not well understood by the law and policy makers in the country, let alone the public.

How do we understand the situation?  What position does the Malaysian government in the sustainable palm oil debate and what policy actions have been taken?

A key player in the sustainable palm oil debate is Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) – a membership-based organization set up in 2004 to promote sustainability across the oil palm supply chain through market-based mechanisms.  Its presence and approaches have gained both praises and strong criticisms.

We invite RSPO Secretary General Darrell Webber, a Malaysian, to share the his views and insights on the palm oil sector and its future development to our Member of Parliaments.

With oil palm an integral part of Malaysian economy and palm oil growers and workers forming a significant category of voters, it is timely for us to understand the dynamics within sustainable palm oil debate and its impact upon Malaysian politics, economy and society.

Subjects to be discussed: 

1. What are the policies and approaches proposed by RSPO’s market-based mechanisms?

2. Is it beneficial or counter-productive for Malaysian plantation economy?

3. Is it beneficial or counter-productive for small holders economic well-being?

Speaker

Darrel Webber joined the RSPO as Secretary General in January 2011, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was Senior Associate of Global Sustainability Associates, providing senior counsel to companies and organisations about agricultural development (including oil palm). Prior to that, he was Senior Manager Palm Oil Sector Engagement at WWF-International and regional manager for companies such as Permanis Sandilands Sdn. Bhd. and Shell Malaysia Ltd.

Moderator

Dr. Ong Kian Ming, DAP Member of Parliament for Serdang.

Thank you.

DAP Parliamentary Research Unit

Political Studies for Change (KPRU – Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan)

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