Agriculture makes a significant contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Smallholder agriculture when it is organized and productive can be a spur for sustainable development. Malaysian palm oil is proof of the successful social and economic development that can result from agriculture.
Malaysian palm supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the following ways:
SDG 1: Poverty Eradication
Palm oil supports more than 450,000 smallholder farms in Malaysia and has lifted more than one million Malaysians out of poverty.
SDG 2: Zero hunger and Enhanced Food Security
It is Malaysia’s largest agricultural crop and contributes to food security, with a higher output than the rubber and cocoa sectors. It is also Southeast Asia’s second-largest agricultural crop.
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
Palm oil contains zero trans fats, reducing the global risk from overconsumption of trans fats that has been identified by scientists and governments worldwide.
SDG 4: Quality Education
Many of Malaysia’s large plantation companies build schools for their employees’ children, enabling access to education for rural communities.
SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
Palm oil is used as a feedstock for biodiesel in Malaysia, Southeast Asia and around the world, reducing dependency on fossil fuels. Palm oil byproducts and waste products are used as advanced renewable energy sources, ensuring less waste and lower emissions.
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
The sector provides employment for more than 500,000 plantation workers in Malaysia, and the industry has taken steps through certification and enforcement to ensure workers are paid fairly. The sector contributes around 2.7% of Malaysia’s GDP.
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Palm oil is the most certified vegetable oil in the world under a number of schemes including the mandatory Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO).
SDG 15: Life on Land
Palm oil reduces land use pressure from other crops. A hectare of oil palm can produce up to 20 times more vegetable oil than other crops.
SDG 17: Partnerships to Achieve the Goal
The Malaysian sector has and continues to undertake collaborative work with UN agencies, NGOs and other members of civil society to ensure that palm oil contributes meaningfully to the SDGs.