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The RSPO and WWF-Malaysia held the Malaysian Sustainable Business Forum in Kuala Lumpur on 28 February 2017. The event was held as part of an outreach and engagement series focused on creating awareness of the importance of promoting Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CPSO).
The event programme included topics such as:
Business as usual no longer an option
Stephen Watson, Head of MTI WWF-Malaysia, gave the opening address to an audience of big brands such as Sime Darby Plantations, Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGV), Air Asia, Mars Malaysia, BOH Plantations, and Cargill among many others. He welcomed guests by reminding them that business as usual is no longer an option for corporate Malaysia and went on to on to say that with so many environmental threats on the horizon, it’s time for corporate Malaysia to get on board with sustainable business practices.
Mars Food Malaysia, founded in 2008, gave an inspiring presentation on how family businesses recognize the importance of doing things the right way. The company is committed to protecting forests and biodiversity, minimizing the carbon footprint of their supply chain, and respecting the rights of communities and workers affected by palm oil sourcing. In addition to capturing a new market niche, their switch to environmentally conscious business practices rewarded the company through an increase in growth, employee retention, and investor confidence.
The forum received an update on the progress of the Singapore Alliance on Sustainable Palm Oil (SASPO) which was formed from public outcry over 2015's prolonged haze pollution that caused major suffering within the Singapore community and natural areas throughout Southeast Asia. Through the ‘We Breathe What We Buy’ campaign spearheaded by WWF-Singapore, SASPO raised awareness of the link between slash and burn practices used in the production of palm oil and haze pollution. As part of their effort, SASPO enlisted public support for making a switch to sustainable palm oil. The founding members of the alliance such as IKEA, Danone, Ayam Brand, Unilever and Wildlife Reserve Singapore ultimately aim to tackle deforestation to deliver haze free products to consumers in Singapore.
Despite five decades of haze and ongoing engagement by WWF & RSPO, many Malaysian-based companies are still unaware that they contribute to deforestation and haze. The Malaysian Sustainable Business Forum provided a platform for corporate Malaysia to better understand the incentives of using CSPO and their role in transforming the Malaysian market for the betterment of all.