Malaysia’s first growers cooperative receives RSPO certification: A big step for palm oil growers towards sustainability

Malaysia’s first growers cooperative receives RSPO certification: A big step for palm oil growers towards sustainability

TAWAU: Koperasi Landskap Kelapa Sawit Sabah Bhd (LKSS) recently announced a milestone, with 25 members of the growers’ cooperative completing the first phase of their journey to sustainability. The smallholders were awarded Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certificate based on their audits. It was celebrated with the first-ever RSPO certificate handover in a ceremony held here, on Friday.

LKSS is the first growers’ cooperative in Malaysia to receive the certification for the Eligibility Phase of the RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard (RISS) under the group certification scheme. With the certification, smallholders are allowed to receive an immediate 40 per cent premium through selling RSPO credit before being fully accredited, and subsequently a full premium price upon completing all its milestones.

Established in 2019, LKSS was formed with support from WWF-Malaysia and aims to engage and assist medium-sized growers and smallholders in preparing for group certification under the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) and RSPO certification standards for the Tawau-Kunak Landscape. It has now grown to over 380 members comprising of 300 smallholders and 80 medium-sized growers with a cumulative land area of about 16,000 hectares.

“We hope that more of our members will follow in the footsteps of these 25 smallholders. Meanwhile, our sustainability team will continue to support these 25 smallholders to prepare for the next phase,” said Shim Nyuk Min, LKSS Chairman. Also present at the LKSS certification ceremony was Nur Nazifah Ahmad Rosland, RSPO Smallholder Programme Manager (Malaysia) who presented the certification on behalf of RSPO.

RSPO certification offers smallholders the opportunity to earn additional revenue through RSPO credit sales, contribute to sustainable palm oil production, and align with global sustainability standards. These benefits not only support the economic well-being of smallholders but also contribute to environmental conservation and the social welfare of local communities.

“This is a great milestone for LKSS and they deserve commendation. We are eager to see what the future holds for them and will continue to support them in their sustainability journey,” said Dr Robecca Jumin, WWF-Malaysia’s Head of Conservation, Sabah.

Since the formation of LKSS, WWF-Malaysia through its Sustainable Palm Oil Team (SPOT) has facilitated two other growers’ cooperatives, namely Koperasi Lestari Penanam Sawit Sabah Berhad (KLASS) and Koperasi Pekebun Kecil dan Sederhana Sawit Lestari Sabah Berhad (KO-SALESA).

Both KLASS and KO-SALESA consist of 50 and 37 smallholders respectively covering a combined total land area of roughly 1,300 hectares in the Tabin and Sandakan landscapes. Similar to LKSS, both cooperatives will assist medium-sized growers and smallholders to prepare for group certification for both MSPO and RSPO.

This initiative also aligns with the Sabah State government’s commitment to 30% Totally Protected Areas (TPA) and 100% RSPO certification of palm oil by 2025 as part of a jurisdictional approach to sustainable development.

Under WWF-Malaysia’s Sabah Landscapes Programme, SPOT aims to support 450 small and medium-sized growers in three priority landscapes namely Tawau-Kunak, Tabin and Lower Sugut covering 45,000 hectares to produce RSPO-certified palm oil by 2025.

Based on the living landscape’s three pillars of Protect, Produce, Restore, the Sabah Landscapes Programme combines both conservation and sustainable development by integrating the protection of forests, wildlife and rivers, with RSPO-certified production of oil palm, and restoration of ecological corridors and riparian reserves.

WWF-Malaysia (World Wide Fund for Nature-Malaysia) currently runs more than 90 projects covering a diverse range of environmental conservation and protection work, from saving endangered species such as tigers and turtles, to protecting our highland forests, rivers and seas.


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