Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 16 No. 1, June 2004, p. 1-10


YUSOF Basiron*; CHAN Kook Weng*


As the palm oil industry progresses, its many aspects, such as economic, environmental and social benefits from its production are reviewed. More recently, sustainability has received great attention with efforts to integrate it into the palm oil business strategy. In the sustainability framework, the economic (financial), environmental and social aspects are reviewed for their impacts in both the short-and long-terms. The three-pronged strategy of high income, value addition and zero waste is scrutinized as part of the journey towards corporate sustainability. Doing so has once again demonstrated the benefits of the crop in supplying oil to the world.

The paper also puts together the evidence, firstly, that the oil palm can be used as a vehicle for rural poverty eradication in Malaysia and perhaps be used as a model for other countries with similar soils, climate and labour availability. Secondly, that it is a steady supplier of affordable food, non-food, biocomposites, nutritional and pharmaceutical products. And thirdly, that it is a showcase for environmental improvement. For the latter, palm oil mills are fast becoming generators of renewable energy from their biomass and biogas. R&D in these areas have provided new angles for increasing its economic sustainability, moving the industry beyond the current business of just producing palm oil.

Further, new business ventures based on new R&D findings are being set up to look at product sustainability. They include businesses such as in bioplastics, greenness of energy production, savings in fossil fuels, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and production from several new best developed practices, thereby helping the industry to slow down the process of climate change.


* Malaysian Palm Oil Board,
P. O. Box 10620,
50720 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.