With a total landbank of 727,000 ha, Malaysia-based Sime Darby Plantations is one of the largest palm oil companies in the world and is currently the world’s largest producer of certified sustainable palm oil. There has not been recent public evidence of large-scale deforestation by Sime Darby Plantations in Asia, and the company has made significant progress in achieving Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil certification for its Southeast Asian operations. In 2019, the company announced the launch of its “Crosscheck” tool to improve supply chain traceability and transparency. Also in 2019, Sime Darby announced a new policy on dealing with suppliers who are violating the company’s NDPE policies. In early 2020, it suspended purchases from two Malaysian palm oil companies over environmental reasons. This past year, Sime Darby withdrew from the High Carbon Stock Approach amid cost issues.
Despite its leadership in certification, NGOs have raised serious concerns over the years about the impact on forests and local communities of its operations in Liberia, which were sold in the past year. In 2009, the company acquired a 63-year lease for 311,187 ha of land in Liberia, with 220,000 ha slated for development. In recognition of the difficulty of the challenges involved in addressing concerns that have been raised about deforestation and exploitation of communities there, the company decided to sell its Liberian concession in 2019.
In 2014, Sime Darby Plantations endorsed the New York Declaration on Forests. Sime Darby is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. Permodalan Nasional Berhad, a Malaysia-based government agency that is part of the PNB Group, is the majority shareholder, while Vanguard and BlackRock are among the top investors.