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Paving the way with new solutions

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian industries need to invest more in sustainable solutions if they want to compete in the international market, says Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Ong Kian Ming.

Ong said this at a dinner hosted by national applied research and development centre Mimos, meant to mark its successful completion of a pilot project on sustainable palm oil traceability in collaboration with Procter & Gamble (P&G).

The dinner was also attended by project partners Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund and Malaysia Institute of Supply Chain Innovation.

“I see a fruitful partnership between P&G and Mimos involving Industry Revolution 4.0 technologies, such as big data, blockchain and the Internet of Things, in developing the Oil Palm Data Warehouse for sustainability.

“This is something that the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) wants to see much more of. Such a project would benefit our smallholders by increasing trust in their sustainability practices.

“I look forward to this project continuing to the next phase and expanding nationwide. I also hope this data warehouse and supply chain analytics system can be adopted by industry players and applied in other supply chains beyond oil palm, ” he added.

The Mimos and P&G’s joint pilot project was started in 2017 to create an Oil Palm Data Warehouse and analytics system using locally developed big data analytics and blockchain technology to optimise the efficiency of the industry’s data collection process.

The resulting traceability platform facilitates the tracking of private smallholders’ interactions with dealers and the movement of fresh fruit bunches produced on the farms. To date, over a thousand smallholders in Johor have been engaged and enabled to apply the solution.

The system, which establishes relationships between P&G palm suppliers to palm oil mills and refineries, enables P&G to identify areas of social and environmental risks along its supply chain. This in turn allows the global fast-moving consumer goods brand leader to plan and monitor follow-up actions for improvement and progress.

P&G global sustainability director Jack McAneny said that the project would be one of the key enablers for the entire smallholder effort in Malaysia, with the goal of not only improving yields by 30% to 50%, but also uplifting the livelihood of smallholders and ensuring sustainable practices in the P&G palm oil supply chain.

He said: “The project will bring significant benefits, consistent with P&G’s theme of collaborating to drive impact at scale.

As part of its commitment to the responsible sourcing of palm oil, P&G has declared livelihood improvement for palm oil smallholders as one of its Ambition 2030 environmental sustainability goals.

The initiative is in line with the fact that the government has made it mandatory for oil palm growers in the country to obtain Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil certification, with the aim of enabling growers to eventually attain Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil certification for assuring international markets of their sustainability.

At the same time, it is also part of Mimos’ ongoing efforts to commercialise solutions developed in partnership with the private sector.

A strategic agency under Miti, Mimos contributes to transforming Malaysia’s industry through patentable technology platforms, products and solutions. Over the past 12 years, it has filed more than 2,000 intellectual properties in various technology domains and across key socioeconomic areas.

Serving a central role in the country’s transformation journey and information and communications technology vision, it endeavours to create a culture of innovation by nurturing relationships with internal and external stakeholders, in the spirit of smart partnerships as well as inclusive growth models and strategies.