LOS ANGELES, October 1 /PRNewswire/ --

- Malaysian Plantation is First to Receive International Certificate for Responsible Practices

The American Palm Oil Council (APOC) today announced that a Malaysian palm oil plantation has been certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the world's only international association formed to codify sustainable industry practices, as the first plantation to adopt the strictest standards of sustainability in its production of palm oil.

"Palm oil producers in Malaysia -- along with the Malaysian government -- are committed to preserving the country's natural resources and biodiversity," said Mohd Salleh Kassim, APOC's executive director. "We want our consumers here in the U.S. to know that palm oil purchased in Malaysia is produced in a responsible, environmentally-friendly manner. Today's announcement is a great step forward in providing our international consumers with the documentation to back-up our commitment to sustainable practices."

The Malaysia-based United Plantations Bhd last month received the RSPO Certificate of Conformance to RSPO Principles and Criteria.

Dedicated to promoting the growth and use of sustainable palm oil, the RSPO defines sustainable palm oil production as "comprised of legal, economically viable, environmentally appropriate and socially beneficial management and operations." In order to obtain the RSPO certification, United Plantations Bhd participated in thorough investigations of its nine estates, six mills and conservation areas; interviews with management, staff and workers regarding management systems and social amenities; and a meeting with 150 of the company's stakeholders to ensure that the plantation fulfills each of the RSPO criteria.

"Much emphasis has been given to developing their commitment to sustainable palm oil," stated lead assessor David Ogg in the RSPO Assessment Report for United Plantations Bhd. "There is a clear commitment to RSPO by top management and by the staff and workers in the field."

The assessment team also highlighted United Plantations' biodiversity and environmental conservation efforts in their report. The report applauds the establishment of the United Plantations "Lagoon Nature Reserve," a planting project of rare and endangered Malaysian species. The lagoon contains 18 tree families, 50 species and more than 2,000 trees, which will create a natural forest system and provide a seed bank for future prorogation. The report also notes the plantation's enforcement of zero burn policies -- which means that land can not be burned for the cultivation of palm oil -- and its research to improve palm oil seeds so that they maximize the yield thereby minimizing the land and plants needed.

The RSPO certification of United Plantations is a clear statement that Malaysia is serious about sustainability. Several other Malaysian palm oil plantation companies are expected to be certified in the near future.

The American Palm Oil Council, the U.S. association representing the Malaysian palm oil industry, works to educate the American public about the benefits of palm oil, which is used around the world in food applications, biofuel, soaps, candles, and other products.

This communication is distributed by Prism Public Affairs on behalf of the American Palm Oil Council. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.

Contact: Liza Tanner +1-202-207-3645 ltanner@prismpublicaffairs.com

Liza Tanner for American Palm Oil Council (APOC), +1-202-207-3645, ltanner@prismpublicaffairs.com