Sime Darby Plantation Wins Acclaimed Edison Award for Genome Select Oil Palm

The first Malaysian company to attain the world renowned accolade

KUALA LUMPUR, 28 April 2017 – Sime Darby Plantation (SDP) became Malaysia’s first company to win the coveted Edison Award, which recognised its groundbreaking genome initiative to develop oil palms with higher yields, reducing the need for more land.

The world’s largest producer of certified sustainable palm oil, won 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.

SDP Managing Director, Datuk Franki Anthony Dass, accepted the award at a ceremony in New York, USA.

“To be chosen for this prestigious award among the best from 400 nominations received from around the world, by 3,000 panelists 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. 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,” said Datuk Franki.

In 2009, Sime Darby Plantation was the first in the world to successfully sequence, assemble and annotate the 1.8 billion chemical units that make up the genetic code of the oil palm. Seven years after successfully decoding the oil palm genome, the company commenced its first large scale planting of the Genome Select high yielding oil palms in 2016, a major milestone that will allow the company to produce more oil with existing land.

“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 50,000ha of new land, without having to increase our planted hectarage.

“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,” added Datuk Franki.

The Edison Awards is one of the world’s most prestigious accolades, honouring excellence in innovation, new product and service development as well as marketing and design. Organised by Edison Universe, a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering future innovators, the Awards has been recognising and honouring the best innovations and innovators since 1987. It is named after Thomas Alva Edison, the famous American inventor whose extraordinary new product development methods garnered 1,093 U.S. patents and made him one of the most influential inventors of all time

For this year’s edition, over 400 nominations from around the world were reviewed by industry experts before a total of 138 finalists in various categories were announced in February 2017. With Malaysia’s palm oil industry celebrating its 100th year anniversary this year, the award brings much significance for Sime Darby Plantation and the industry as a whole.

“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.

“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,” said Datuk Franki.

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