Volume No. 2 Issue No.: 4C Page No.: 957-967 April-June 2008

 

ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT IN MALAYSIAN PALM OIL INDUSTRY : A QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF ENVIRONMENTAL NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS

 

Mohd. Rafi Yaacob

School of Business and Management, University Technology MARA (UiTM), Terengganu Branch, 23000 Dungun, Terengganu (Malaysia)

 

Received on : October 14, 2007

 

ABSTRACT

 

Over the last three decades, Malaysia has been the largest producer and exporter of palm oil in the world. In Malaysia palm oil is the most important agricultural and contributes substantially to the economy. Nevertheless, the growth of the industry has some costs. Deforestation, depletion of flora and fauna, air and water pollution and conflicts on native customary lands (NCLs) are amongst environmental and social impacts of the industry. Environmental regulatory pressure on the industry since early 1980s has changed the industry’S environmental practices to be more environmentally responsible in its activities. Many environmental aspects of the industry have been internalised by palm oil companies. Despite some improvement in handling environmental issues, the industry has been criticised especially from Environmental Non Government Organisations (ENGOs) who have argued that the industry is not proactive enough to address environmental and social issues exacerbated by the industry. Hence, against this background, the main aim of this study is to investigate ENGOs perception of environmental strategies in Malaysian palm oil companies and how and to what extent they impose pressure on the industry to more environmentally and socially responsible. Data of this paper were based from face to face interviews with 4 important individuals from different ENGOs in the country. From the qualitative analysis of the tape-recorded interviews facilitated by NVivo software, it seemed clear that although various means had been used by ENGOs, by and large they have limited power to exert influence on the industry. Nonetheless, study also showed an increasing advocacy and activism amongst them, especially from ENGOs who worked at the grass root level. This could not be taken lightly by palm oil companies if they want to project their images as corporate responsible companies on green and social issues. Some recommendations to increase corporate environmentalism in the industry were also included at the end of this paper.

 

Keywords : Environmental management, Qualitative analysis, Non Government Organisation, Environmental regulatory pressure

 

 

BACK