Sime Darby Plantation (SDP) Sdn Bhd has become Malaysia’s first company to win one of the coveted Edison Awards. This recognises its ground-breaking genome initiative to develop oil palm with a higher yield.

SDP took the Bronze award for Sustainability under the Energy & Sustainability category of the 2017 Edison Awards, in recognition of its achievement in developing the Genome Select Oil Palm. Managing Director Datuk Franki Anthony Dass accepted the award in New York on April 20.

“To be chosen for this prestigious award among the best from 400 nominations received from around the world, by 3,000 panellists comprising the world’s top senior business executives, academics and innovation professionals, is a testament of our passion and pursuit of continuous improvement in sustainable plantation practices,” he said.

“Essentially, this has been one of the raisons d’etre of our foray into the oil palm genome research, which made the Genome Select Oil Palm planting material a reality in 2016.”

SDP was the first worldwide in 2009 to sequence, assemble and annotate the 1.8 billion chemical units that make up the genetic code of the oil palm. Last year, the company commenced large-scale planting of the Genome Select high-yielding oil palm.

“With the potential to produce at least 15% more oil than SDP’s current best planting material (Calix 600), the Genome Select Oil Palm will enable the company to significantly produce higher oil yields equivalent to 50,000 ha of new land, without having to increase our planted [area],” said Datuk Franki.

“This is in line with SDP’s sustainability commitment to increase yields, thus minimising green and brown field expansions. The technology is being scaled over the next three years to full capacity and we are already using this technology to develop the next generation of palms that are tolerant to drought and can be harvested more efficiently.”

With Malaysia’s oil palm industry celebrating its centenary anniversary this year, the award has special significance.

“This is a historic achievement, not just for our company but for the nation’s palm oil industry. We believe this recognition is proof of how far our palm oil industry has grown over the last 100 years,” added Datuk Franki.

“It also demonstrates that continuous and higher commitment on Research & Development initiatives are crucial and necessary for our industry to rise to greater heights and accomplish international recognition.”

SDP is a co-founding member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. It produces about 4% of the global crude palm oil output, and is the largest producer of certified sustainable palm oil, with an annual production of 2.2 million tonnes.

The Edison Awards honour excellence in innovation, development of new products and services, as well as marketing and design. Organised by Edison Universe, a non-profit organisation, the Awards have recognised the best innovations and innovators since 1987.

The Awards are named after Thomas Alva Edison, the American inventor whose extraordinary new product development methods garnered 1,093 US patents and made him one of the most influential inventors of all time.

Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd


 

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