KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 Malaysian palm oil giant
IOI Group said on Friday it would improve peatland
management and resolve labour issues in a move that comes after
it lost major customers last year when its sustainability
certification was briefly suspended.
IOI said in a statement it would also ensure third-party
suppliers comply with its sustainable standards, and would
commission an independent verification of its sustainable
policies in the second quarter of 2018. Palm oil is the most
widely used edible oil in the world, featuring in products from
cooking oil and margarine to cosmetics and soap.
In April last year the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
(RSPO) suspended IOI's certificates for allegedly violating
sustainable policies at concessions in Indonesia. Though its
certificates were reinstated four months later, leading global
buyers including food giants Nestle, Kellogg and
Hersheys held off resuming business ties with IOI.
"IOI stands firmly committed to the implementation of its
sustainability policies and believes that its progress in key
areas...sends a strong signal to stakeholders around its desire
for continued improvement," the company said on Friday.
Plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia, which produce about
85 percent of global supply, have come under scrutiny from
activists and consumer companies in recent years, particularly
over the clearing of millions of hectares of forest.
IOI first came under fire in 2015 when Amsterdam-based green
group Aidenvironment filed a complaint to the RSPO claiming that
the plantation company illegally chopped down rainforests in
Indonesia and planted palm crops on peatland.
(Reporting by Emily Chow; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)