Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The Forest Trust (TFT), a global non-profit focused on transforming supply chains, stressed that more ambition, innovation and collaboration are vital for Malaysia to achieve industry-wide change for responsible palm oil. These transformative efforts must be undertaken by all stakeholders to ensure that the country’s palm oil industry is committed towards protecting our forests and respecting workers’ rights.
“TFT believes that company-driven ambition can bring about innovative ideas at a faster rate when its sustainability goals align with what’s happening on the ground. Mainly, the aims are to achieve resilience and economic development, especially among smallholders; to end deforestation from palm oil expansion and address issues endemic within the industry. Subsequently, government, NGOs, civil society and businesses need to work together to scale-up these practical solutions,” said Quek Karl Yen, Regional Lead of TFT in Malaysia.
Palm oil is consumed daily by billions of people around the world , and demand will rise significantly over the coming decade. Since palm oil is here to stay , TFT is now at a crucial point to engage the majority of businesses in the palm oil sector to adopt the many innovations and solutions that have been developed.
He added that through robust policies, pushing aside fear to provide transparency and pioneering change across the entire supply chain, the private sector has the leverage to drive sustainability in the palm oil sector. Since 2010, TFT Malaysia has been working with our member companies to implement their No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policies.
“At present, more than 60% of palm oil refining capacity in Malaysia and 74% in South East Asia  is covered by NDPE policies, and there is deep interest by brands and producers to support positive transformation. It is better to invite collaboration than to deny allegations of the social and environmental challenges that Malaysia’s palm oil sector currently faces,” he remarked today at a TFT film screening and panel discussion on palm oil in Malaysia, organised in partnership with the 11th Kuala Lumpur Eco-Film Festival (KLEFF).
The panel, titled ‘Palm Oil Sustainability in Malaysia: Challenges and Solutions,” involved four panellists – Nurul Hasanah, Senior Manager (TFT), Perpetua George, General Manager, Group Sustainability (Wilmar International), Prof. Helen E S Nesadurai, Professor of International Political Economy (Monash University KL) and Sheila Senathirajah, Programme Director, Palm Oil Initiative (Wild Asia).
Eight films were screened, of which seven are TFT-produced and showcase the milestones, success stories and opportunities within the palm oil industry. Approximately 80 people attended the event held in Kuala Lumpur, comprising an audience from various backgrounds – members of public, industry representatives, academics, government agencies and embassies.
“The issues and challenges surrounding palm oil is an often complex conversation to have. Forums like this encourage relevant stakeholders to find common ground to address their concerns. I am happy that KLEFF can provide such a platform for TFT, our panellists and members of the public to engage in this discussion,” said Yasmin Rasyid, President of EcoKnights and Founder of KLEFF.
TFT has been working in the palm oil sector in Malaysia for the past seven years, and the organisation works with member companies following the VTTV (Values, Transparency, Transformation and Verification) model. TFT’s role is to guide and support businesses in identifying key social and environmental risks in their palm oil supply chains with the goal of bringing tangible change in their sustainability transformation journey.
About The Forest Trust
The Forest Trust (TFT) is a global non-profit organisation focused on transforming supply chains for the benefit of nature and people. Its supply chain, social and environmental experts work in over 25 countries to ensure that commodities are sourced with respect for people and planet. TFT leverages the transformational power of companies to innovate and bring value to everyone in the supply chain – from grower to customer. Its members include Nestlé, Wilmar International, Golden Agri-Resources, Cargill, Ferrero, Mars, ADM, 3M, Asia Pulp and Paper, B&Q and Lindt.
The Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival (KLEFF) is a not-for-profit environmental film festival that was established since 2008. The main driver behind KLEFF is EcoKnights, a not-for-profit environmental organisation. KLEFF aspires to use environmental communication strategically via films and videos to increase, enhance, and encourage public awareness, action and participation in addressing solutions to today’s environmental challenges.
For further information:
Nadiah Rosli, Project Leader, Communications (Malaysia)
Tel.: +6 03 7450 3773; Email: email@example.com
Nurul Nabila Shohimi, Programme Executive
Tel: +6 03 7731 8361; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
 Malaysia holds a total refining capacity of 27 million MT per year. The five largest company groups by capacity (Wilmar, Mewah, IOI, Felda and Sime Darby) account for 60 percent of the market.