Conglomerate reveals ambitions to create 100 per cent carbon neutral sustainable certified palm oil
Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby has revealed plans to create “100 per cent carbon neutral sustainable certified palm oil”, despite admitting it has yet to align its emerging low carbon practices with competing ambitions to expand its coal operations.
Speaking to reporters at a press briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, a spokesman from Sime Darby revealed the company is in the early stages of a project to create a certification for carbon neutral palm oil, in an attempt to meet demand from customers who are increasingly demanding sustainable palm oil that does not contribute to deforestation.
In the short term, the company is confident it will meet its target to certify all 60 of its plantations under the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) accreditation scheme by the end of this year, noting that one third have already been certified and the remaining applications for plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia are in the process of being authorised.
But despite the conglomerate’s ambitions, the spokesman admitted an understanding of “what zero carbon palm oil might look like” was unlikely to emerge before 2020, adding that Sime Darby would need to address a myriad of issues before then, such as how to measure and certify palm oil-related emissions and whether the company could implement offsetting practices to deliver carbon neutrality.
In addition, Sime Darby still lacks an overarching sustainable strategy with several of its divisions aiming for targets that appear to contradict each other. For example, the plantations business is keen to expand into new areas but has yet to decide if it will develop greenfield sites or only build on already developed land, while the industrial division is keen to grow its coal machinery business in China and Australia, despite a company commitment to lowering its carbon impact.
However, a spokesman for the company said it had been working to improve environmental practices for many years, but was now keen to develop an overarching sustainability strategy for the whole organisation.
“Because sustainability’s so wide, you could almost say that [until now] we haven’t been doing sustainability at all,” he said. “We’ve been doing environmental management but I think this new approach provides us with an opportunity to look at the way we do business thorough a different lens and in a holistic way.”
Jessica Shankleman has travelled to Malaysia as part of a press trip organised and funded by Sime Darby
article source: www.businessgreen.com
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