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PRESS RELEASE: RSPO AND MONASH UNIVERSITY COLLABORATE TO BOOST SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL RESEARCH

From left to right: RSPO Chief Operating Officer, Bakhtiar Talhah, Professor Chan Eng Seng, Director of Monash-Industry Palm Oil Research Platform (MIPO), Professor Anthony Guo, Head of School of Engineering, Monash University Malaysia’s President and Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Andrew Walker.

Kuala Lumpur, 4 December 2020: The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Monash University Malaysia signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today, aimed at increasing research and awareness of sustainable palm oil among Malaysian youth and researchers, to drive continuous improvement across the industry. 

Due to the movement control order in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, signing of the MoU took place virtually between RSPO’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Bakhtiar Talhah, and Monash University Malaysia’s President and Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Andrew Walker.

During his opening remarks, RSPO’s COO, Bakhtiar Talhah said, “As the second largest palm oil producer in the world, we hope Malaysian researchers can not only help raise awareness about sustainable palm oil production and consumption, but also help to develop new strategies and tools to improve sustainable agricultural and sourcing practices across the global palm oil supply chain.” 

According to Professor Andrew Walker, “The challenges faced by the palm oil industry are multifaceted in nature and require a multidisciplinary approach to research and engagement. Monash University Malaysia is uniquely placed to work with RSPO in delivering solutions for the palm oil industry. We have been established in Malaysia for over 22 years and we work hand-in-hand with multiple stakeholders on influencing policy at the local and federal government levels. Palm oil production is an important part of the Malaysian economy, and we are delighted to be working on this crucial sustainability issue. ”

As a first step, both parties have agreed to organise a joint research symposium, which aims to offer a platform for researchers and industry practitioners from around the world to share and explore current research findings, and discuss future directions for the advancement of the palm oil industry.

RSPO and Monash University will also work together with a team of outstanding researchers and state-of-the-art research and education facilities, through the Monash-Industry Palm Oil Education and Research Platform (MIPO), established in 2018. MIPO aims to promote cross-disciplinary collaborations and university-industry linkages in developing sustainable solutions for palm oil production through research, education, and training.

Through this collaboration, RSPO hopes to provide more information and clarification to Malaysian youth and the general public about the benefits of sustainable palm oil for people, planet and prosperity. 

In recent years, RSPO has been putting more focus and effort into driving research evaluations, which are crucial in helping to fill knowledge gaps and capture lessons learned, to inform current practices, identify challenges, and improve future initiatives. 

“Until such time as sustainable palm oil becomes the norm, it’s important for consumers and especially the younger generation - our future leaders - to understand that there are different ways that palm oil can be produced. Labelling products that contain Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) and the use of the RSPO Trademark on products are simple ways for consumers who do not know anything about palm oil, to easily identify ‘good’ palm oil. We hope that Malaysian youth and researchers will further promote this important message in the Malaysian market, so we start to see more brands switching to sustainable solutions” added Bakhtiar.


About RSPO:

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed in 2004 with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders. RSPO is a not-for-profit, international, membership organisation that unites stakeholders from the different sectors of the palm oil industry including oil palm producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental or nature conservation NGOs, and social or developmental NGOs.

This multi-stakeholder representation is mirrored in the governance structure of RSPO such that seats in the Board of Governors, Steering Committees and Working Groups are fairly allocated to each sector. In this way, RSPO lives out the philosophy of the "roundtable" by giving equal rights to each stakeholder group, facilitating traditionally adversarial stakeholders in working together to reach decisions by consensus, and achieving RSPO’s shared vision of making sustainable palm oil the norm.

The seat of the association is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is currently based in Kuala Lumpur with satellite offices in Jakarta (ID), London (UK), Zoetermeer (NL), Beijing (CN) and Bogotá (CO).

About Monash University Malaysia:

Established in 1998, Monash University Malaysia is the third-largest campus of Australia's largest university. As a self-accrediting institution of higher learning, it offers a distinctly international and culturally rich environment with approximately 8,900 students from 78 different countries and 900 staff from 34 countries.

Since our inception, Monash Malaysia has built a reputation for quality, credibility and integrity, and is held in high esteem by our students, alumni, industry and government. We are committed to maximising the potential of everyone in the global community we serve, seeking to develop well-rounded individuals who embrace challenge and change. We encourage critical thinking to help discover new ideas, reveal new perspectives and devise solutions.

We maintain a long and proud tradition of excellence in education, combined with liberal values of enquiry, providing a fertile environment for bright young minds to flourish, and life-long opportunities for those wishing to enhance their education and career. Monash University Malaysia obtained a 5-star rating by MyRA (Malaysia Research Assessment) for the quality in research and innovation efforts in 2020.


For further information, kindly contact:  

Name: Sara Cowling

Position: Senior Manager - Global Communications

Email: sara.cowling@rspo.org

Name: Ridzuan Repin

Position: Associate Director, External Engagement

Email: mohammad.ridzuan@monash.edu