With the increasing global attention to sustainable development, the environmental and social relevance of palm oil production are now defining issues in responsible trade. The life cycle assessment (LCA) study on refined palm oil (RPO) and its fractionated products is part of the sustainable solution provided by the Malaysian palm oil industry. The study was conducted according to established ISO (International Standards Organization standards) for LCA. The system model for this LCA study was developed and analyzed using SimaPro software, and the Eco-indicator 99 methodology was used for the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA).
An average of 1.05 t of crude palm oil (CPO) is required for the production of 1 t of RPO. The greatest environmental burden arising from refining is from CPO, and consequently from RPO for fractionation to produce refined palm olein (RPOo) and palm stearin (RPOs). This is followed by boiler fuel combustion and the transport of materials, suggesting that a potential mitigation measure for the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) and consequently the impact on climate change would be to address these three inflows into the system. It was found that sourcing CPO from mills with systems in place for capturing biogas reduced the impact on climate change by about 40%.
* Malaysian Palm Oil Board, P. O. Box 10620, 50720 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
** 39 Jalan 3, Taman Bukit Cantik, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia.
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Last updated: 28 November 2016
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