Life Cycle Assessment of Palm Oil at United Plantations Berhad 2024

Schmidt J, Serena L, Eliassen J (2024)

Publication info

Life Cycle Assessment of Palm Oil at United Plantations Berhad 2024 – Results for 2004‐2023. Summary report. United Plantations Berhad, Teluk Intan, Malaysia.

Background and objectives

This report presents a summary of a detailed life cycle assessment (LCA) study of palm oil production at United Plantations Berhad (Teluk Intan, Malaysia). LCA is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the life cycle stages of a product or service from ‘cradle to grave’. The current study is a desk‐study performed on the distance, carried out January to March 2024, and it builds on top of six other large studies carried out for United Plantations in 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017, 2020, and 2023. The study in 2008 was the first LCA of palm oil ever, which is fully compliant with and critical reviewed according to the international standards on LCA: ISO 14040 and 14044.

The environmental impact of palm oil is presented as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, i.e. carbon footprint, as well as for a number of other impact categories such as biodiversity, respiratory effects and toxicity. The environmental impacts relate to the life cycle of palm oil from cultivation to the gate of the refinery, including all upstream emissions, e.g. from the production of fertilisers, fuels and machinery. The results are shown per kg of refined palm oil, as well as for United Plantations total product portfolio (corporate GHG footprint).

Over the last decades, United Plantations Berhad has worked intensively in reducing their environmental impacts. The effect of this work is illustrated by tracking the carbon footprint for the company’s production of palm oil from 2004 to 2023.

The primary purpose of the LCA is to document and assess the environmental impacts from the production of palm oil at United Plantations Berhad. Secondly, the purpose is to follow over time the GHG emissions from the production of palm oil at United Plantations Berhad. Thirdly, to quantify the absolute impact of United Plantations’ product portfolio, fourthly, to compare United Plantation’s production of palm oil with average Malaysian/Indonesian palm oil and other major vegetable oils, and fifthly, to analyse improvement options for United Plantation’s production of palm oil.

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