Malaysian firm launches first online market for sustainable palm oil

Worker unloads palm oil fruit bunches at a plantation in Slim River
A worker unloads palm oil fruit bunches at an oil palm plantation in Slim River, Malaysia August 12, 2021. Picture taken August 12, 2021. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 (Reuters) - Malaysian tech firm DiBiz launched the world's first online marketplace for sustainable palm oil on Tuesday to encourage sales of products certified as environmentally compliant as buyers have avoided the more expensive goods.

The trading platform, called Trustparent Marketplace, will link palm oil buyers and sellers across the supply chain and has additional measures for traceability to ensure the industry's commitment to "No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation".

"What this means is just like you go to Amazon to buy your products, now, every stakeholder in palm oil can come on to the Dibiz marketplace," said DiBiz co-founder and Chief Executive Officer U.R. Unnithan, who is also president of the Malaysian Biodiesel Association, told Reuters at the sidelines of an industry conference.

Critics blame the rapid expansion of palm plantations for rainforest deforestation and human rights abuses, prompting consumer boycotts against the edible oil.

But palm oil industry officials say such campaigns are hindering efforts to achieve sustainability certification and develop a market for certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO).

About 14.6 million tonnes, or 19.3% of global palm oil produced is certified by the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which is seen as a global standard for sustainability claims.

However, planters in Indonesia and Malaysia, the world's two largest palm oil producers, have complained that demand for the more expensive oil with CSPO certification is lacking despite investing millions to meet the requirements.

Reporting by Mei Mei Chu; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.