Malaysia's Felda Global gains sustainability approvals after 2016 withdrawal

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Malaysia’s Felda Global Ventures Bhd (FGV), the world’s third-largest palm plantation operator, has received certification that eight of its processing mills operate in an environmentally sustainable manner two years after handing over its earlier approvals.

The company said in a statement on Wednesday it had received certificates from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) at the end of 2017. In May 2016, FGV voluntarily withdrew the RSPO certificates from its 58 processing mills to correct sustainability issues in its supply chain.

“In 2018, we aim to certify another eight mill complexes by March and more than 30 mill complexes will have been audited by RSPO and the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) by end of December,” said FGV Chief Executive Officer Zakaria Arshad in the statement.

FGV also aims to gain RSPO and MSPO certification at its 70 palm oil mill complexes by the end of 2021, the company said.

The RSPO is a body of consumers, green groups and plantation firms that promotes the use of sustainable palm oil products.

Palm oil is one of the world’s most commonly used vegetable oils, used to make everything from soap and cosmetics to chocolate and cooking oil. The industry is often blamed for deforestation and occurrences of haze in Southeast Asia because of the smoke caused by open burning to clear land.

Reporting by Emily Chow; Editing by Christian Schmollinger