A government’s perspective
Towards a circular economyIt’s not all about palm oil production for the global markets. Today, both Indonesia and Malaysia are working hard to move towards a ‘circular economy’ in relation to palm oil. They view the industry as a critical source of energy, both for transportation and for electricity generation. Profitable uses have been found for empty fruit bunches, palm fronds, palm fruit peels, and palm kernel shells. With more than 60 million tonnes of Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) produced every year, this has become a significant source of energy both for mill operations and for neighbouring communities – who can be provided with consistent and reliable energy. This delivers a valuable new source of revenue to offset the costs of inputs such as labour and fertiliser. (‘How the world got hooked on palm oil’) The Government of Malaysia argues that, by implementing a system of methane capture via biogas digestion, the milling part of the palm oil production system can become carbon negative. (Methane capture is achieved by retaining the POME in enclosed facilities so that the emitted gas can be captured and then burned.) In addition to this, the biomass, which has been used for years by palm oil mill operators to fuel their boilers, offers a tremendous opportunity to reduce emissions by replacing coal in power plants. And with more than 100 million tonnes of biomass expected to be produced by the Malaysian palm oil industry in 2020 alone, harnessing its value has the potential to decrease emissions and improve the livelihoods of the people living close to the mills by reducing the costs of energy that would otherwise have involved the burning of timber-based biofuels (wood and charcoal) or fossil fuels like coal. Identify a country where palm oil is grown and find out what policies and legislation its government has in place to mitigate the environmental and social impacts. Are they widely advertised and do you think they are effective? Please share your findings in the comments section and say which country you are talking about.
Engaging with Controversies in the Food System
Our purpose is to transform access to education.
We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.
We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.