First growers’ cooperative receives RSPO certification

Koperasi Landskap Kelapa Sawit Sabah Bhd (LKSS) in Tawau has achieved a significant milestone by having 25 of its members complete the initial phase towards sustainable palm oil production. These members have been awarded the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certificate, marking the first such event in the region on June 9. This makes LKSS the first Malaysian growers’ cooperative to receive the RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard (RISS) certification under a group scheme. The certification permits these smallholders to earn a 40% premium by selling RSPO credits even before full accreditation, with an opportunity for a full premium upon completing all requirements.

Established in 2019 with the support of WWF-Malaysia, LKSS focuses on helping medium and small-scale growers in Tawau-Kunak prepare for group certification under Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) and RSPO standards. The cooperative has grown to over 380 members, managing around 16,000 hectares.

LKSS chairman Shim Nyuk Min expressed hopes for more members to achieve certification, with continued support for the current 25 smallholders in their next phase. The certification ceremony also featured Nur Nazifah Ahmad Rosland, RSPO Smallholder Programme Manager (Malaysia), who presented the certificates.

RSPO certification enables smallholders to generate additional income through credit sales, promote sustainable palm oil production, and meet global sustainability standards. This contributes to not just their economic prosperity but also to environmental conservation and community welfare.

Dr. Robecca Jumin from WWF-Malaysia lauded LKSS’s achievement and expressed eagerness for their future progress. WWF-Malaysia’s Sustainable Palm Oil Team (SPOT) has also facilitated the formation of other cooperatives like KLASS and KO-SALESA in Tabin and Sandakan, helping more growers work towards sustainable certification.

This initiative aligns with Sabah’s goal for 30% Totally Protected Areas and 100% RSPO certification by 2025, under a jurisdictional approach to sustainable development. The WWF-Malaysia Sabah Landscapes Programme, through its SPOT initiative, aims to support 450 growers across three landscapes, covering 45,000 hectares, to produce RSPO-certified palm oil by 2025. The program emphasizes a holistic approach to sustainability, combining conservation, sustainable production, and ecological restoration.

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