RSPO and Monash University Malaysia are pleased to announce our first joint research symposium. The symposium offers a platform for researchers and industry practitioners from around the globe to share and explore latest and ongoing research findings as well as to discuss future directions for the advancement of a sustainable palm oil industry.
The RSPO-Monash Joint Symposium also aims to raise awareness and interest among students and young academics, and to support their engagement in the field of palm oil sustainability. Therefore, the platform is an opportunity for students to participate and contribute to the symposium by presenting their research projects.
The event will feature research discussions on focus areas relating to the RSPO and the Monash-Industry Plant Oils Research Laboratory (MIPO) with topics such as assessment of the performance, outcomes and impacts of social and environmental sustainability, highlighting oil palm smallholders, consumer and market demands, palm oil in food and health, as well as new technologies in palm oil processing and waste. The symposium will include oral presentations, panel sessions, and poster presentations.
RSPO and Monash University would like to welcome all interested stakeholders to participate and learn from the insights shared while expanding your global network of peers.
As researchers on sustainable palm oil, students, and young academics, you will be able to:
As palm oil industry practitioners who are either RSPO or non-RSPO Members, you will be able to:
Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the RSPO.
Mr. Ananthan Krishnan has been with Sime Darby Plantation since 2002.
He is leading the Innovation Centre Asia under Product Innovation & Development for Sime Darby Oils. He holds bachelor’s degree in industrial chemistry from The University Science of Malaysia.
He has over 20 years’ experience in the palm oil processing and new product development.
Chin Sing Yun is a sustainability practitioner with 20 years of working experience in conservation. Her areas of focus include High Conservation Value (HCV) Areas and natural resource management, community-based conservation, conservation in plantations and supporting the NDPE commitment.
She holds an MSc in Conservation Biology from the University of Kent and is a member of RSPO BHCV Working Group and the IUCN WCPA – Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas.
Dr. Asad Ata is an Associate Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management at the Asia School of Business. His primary areas of research include sustainable sourcing and supply chain management. With a team of more than 35 researchers, field officers, and consultant agronomists, he leads a sustainability center for SMEs and small farmers of oil palm in Malaysia.
As of August 2021, Dr. Asad Ata has been appointed on the Technical Advisory Committee for Mechanization & Automation Research Consortium for Oil Palm (MARCOP) Malaysia, a Government-Industry platform to discuss, develop and adopt mechanization and automation technologies for oil palm. In addition he is also on the advisory board of PERTANIGA, an independent smallholder association of Oil Palm farmers in Malaysia.
Dr. Sutonya Thongrak is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness at Prince of Songkla University, Thailand. With a Ph.D in Agricultural Economics from the University of Missouri Columbia, USA, Dr. Sutonya has over 35 years of experience in teaching and research, with wide professional experience working in southern Thailand.
Her expertise spans diverse areas, including production economics, natural resources, and agricultural policy, with a specific focus on smallholders such as oil palm and coffee farmers. Dr. Sutonya has also worked in action research to strengthen oil palm smallholders for more than 10 years and have trained over 1,500 farmers in various subjects especially, economics of production at a farm level, sustainability and farmers’ group empowerment.
Guntur is the Head of the Smallholder Programme of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). In his role, he led the global implementation of RSPO smallholder strategy to drive smallholder inclusion at scale. His main focus is to increase the number of smallholders certified and improve smallholder livelihoods globally.
He is driven to collaborate with more stakeholders in creating market and investment support for smallholders. His previous career was with the World Bank where he serve the longest working on climate finance and low carbon development
At the RSPO, Hun Sung (HS) leads the Impacts and MEL unit, which holds the responsibilities of measuring, monitoring, validating and narrating the RSPO’s outcomes and impacts, while ensuring that the RSPO operates, as a whole, at the highest level of efficiency, cohesion and integrity with a unified data architecture and knowledge base.
HS is a trained economist and a data scientist, using data and insights to ‘connect the dots’ to deliver low-level troubleshooting and broad, high-level strategic analysis to drive the RSPO’s vision of transforming markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm forward. Prior to his role at the RSPO, HS worked in global consultancy roles focusing on the oil, natural gas and new energy sector. He offsets his career by volunteering time at the Singapore Zoo and social organisations.
Verité South East Asia
Kamini is a seasoned litigation lawyer specialized in Industrial Relations and Employment Law. With six years of experience representing both employers and claimants, including national worker unions at all levels of the Malaysian Judiciary System, she possesses a deep understanding of the Malaysian legal landscape and is able to navigate employment laws in other jurisdictions with ease.Transitioning to the role of the first Human Rights and Social Standards Manager for the RSPO, Kamini gained valuable insights into the human rights challenges prevalent in the global palm oil sector. This experience further fueled her commitment in creating meaningful change.
Currently serving as a Program manager to Verité South East Asia, Kamini manages projects in Malaysia and leverages her legal background to navigate complex issues. Her strong belief in everyone’s potential to contribute to positive change drives her actions, as she remains dedicated to fostering impactful changes for the betterment of the planet and her inhabitants.
Karen Lawrence has over 25 years developing collaborative and innovative science based techniques for assessing deforestation, supply chain risks and participatory spatial planning processes for protected land and seascapes, Indigenous peoples territories, community based resource management. She has field experience in spanning tropical ecosystems in four continents, including Southeast Asia and Latin America/Amazon. She holds a PhD in political ecology from King’s College London and She has extensive experience in designing, monitoring, impact assessments and evaluations of complex multi-country, regional, policy advocacy and multi-stakeholder engagement projects/programmes to demonstrate theory of change, impact and outcomes.
Her experience includes facilitating stakeholder engagement and effective processes to develop strategies, innovative approaches obtaining buy-in at director/CEO level, re-negotiating expectations to increase effective delivery of regional forestry policy programmes and transboundary approaches. More recently she has been advising the RSPO MEL team on Impact, conducting multi-country evaluations of complex natural resource management programmes as well as led research and directed a multi-stakeholder FEED-X, SOILX programmes that sort to transform the sustainability of impactful Food related value chains via innovation and industry relevant research, where the best 10 alternative proteins and oils were selected to shift the 10% of the feed industry. She also designed and facilitated a knowledge exchange programme; several international webinars to highlight feed ingredient innovation.
Professor Chong spent her past 20 years in water and wastewater treatment technologies. She researched, developed and commercialized super coagulants for water and wastewater treatment and bioreactor for treating palm oil mill effluent. She performs optimization on the performance of wastewater treatment plants and develops new applications for waste materials. She was awarded with various local and international awards including Commercialization Deal Award, ASEAN-US Science Prize for Women (Highly Commended) and Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Award, UK, Biotechnology Award (Highly Commended), UK.
She has published more than 40 international journals, 2 book chapters and a book. She has been awarded with research and commercialization grants, and commenced various projects in bioenergy and wastewater technologies across ASEAN countries. She was attached to The University of Nottingham and developed her research portfolio as her first career. She is now focusing on commercial works as the Director of Dia-Chemical Sdn Bhd which is her second career. She would like to contribute and share her knowledge gained from her research works with the industry and hope to close the missing gaps between research and commercialization.
Ir. Hong has over 15 years of experience in the palm oil and biotechnology industries covering a very wide spectrum of responsibilities, including production, engineering, project management, applied research, process safety and leadership roles.
He is currently the Commercial Head, Market Development of Novozymes, a global biotechnology company headquartered in Denmark. Throughout his career, Hong has championed the application of chemical and biochemical engineering to make the palm oil industry greener and more efficient. He is also active in environmental-related projects, including circular bioeconomy.
Hong is an award-winning author of the book “A Chemical Engineer in the Palm Oil Milling Industry”, in which he discovers the opportunities chemical engineers have in the palm oil milling industry. He is also a public speaker, where he shares his passion on how chemical engineers can contribute to a sustainable future. Passionate about volunteerism, Hong has been serving several non-profit and professional communities, including being an Honorary Secretary of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) in Malaysia Board and a founding member of the IChemE Palm Oil Processing Special Interest Group. He is also involved in developing, preparing, and reviewing national standard for sustainable palm oil production. He currently serves as a member of the Learned Society Committee of IChemE, providing strategic direction to IChemE’s technical priorities and guiding its activities as a learned society. Additionally, he sits in the Industry Advisory Panel for Chemical Engineering at several universities. As a successful engineer, he believes in supporting and inspiring tomorrow’s generation make their mark on the world. He founded the Hong Wai Onn Conference Grants and Hong Wai Onn Individual Project Award.
Hariati Sinaga is currently a lecturer at the Department of Gender Studies at the University of Indonesia.
Her research areas in the past decade include trade liberalisation and labour relations, with a strong focus on oil palm plantations in Indonesia. She is currently involved in a research focusing on Just Transition in the oil palm industry.
Chan Eng Seng is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Monash University Malaysia and the Head of MIPO Research Laboratory.
His research interests focus on the development of novel and sustainable oil and fats processing technologies for food, fuel and oleochemicals production. He graduated from the University of Birmingham, UK and he is a Fellow of IChemE and a Professional Engineer registered with the Board of Engineers Malaysia.
Dario Altera is the “Head of Oleochemicals & Global Technology Manager” of Desmet, stationed in the Desmet Malaysian office in Kuala Lumpur. Graduated in 2001 as Chemical Engineer at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. After graduation he started working as Process Engineer in various Oil & Gas companies till 2004, when he joined Desmet Ballestra group, having ever since in his heart the love for “Green Engineering”. In Desmet Ballestra his duty changed through the years in various activities; from the initial employment as Process Engineer for Oleochemical Technologies, with special reference to Biodiesel, moving then to Start Up Department to improve his practical knowledge.
In 2009 after completion of a Master in Project Management, he started working as Project Manager, specialized in Turn Key project, completing his “360 degree” knowledge of Oleochemical Industrial plant. Dario Altera has been always strongly cooperating with the R & D department of Desmet group and actively contributing to Oleochemical plant Improvement and New Process Development. Since 2015 he worked as Biodiesel Product Manager thanks to the experience in this technology through the various duties and years. In September 2019 Dario Altera moved to Kuala Lumpur in the Desmet Ballestra Malaysia office appointed as Technical Manager of the Oleochemical Center of Excellence.
In May 2023 Dario Altera was appointed as Desmet Global Technology Manager Oleochemical to globally support the company activities, also maintaining the leadership of the Oleochemical Department based in the Kuala Lumpur office.
Dr. Kanga Rani Selvaduray obtained her PhD in Medical Health Sciences from the International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2011. She is currently the Head of Nutrition Unit at the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB). She started her career at MPOB as a scientist studying the effects of palm oil and its phytonutrients in nutrition and health and her research team has a number of patents and several publications especially in the field of tocotrienols and breast cancer research.
She then led the Lipid Nutrition Group focusing on lipid research before being appointed as the Head of the Nutrition Unit. She was awarded the Gold Medal for excellence in research by MPOB in 2001 and won the ITEX Gold Medal Award in 2006, 2015 and 2016, in addition to several awards for Best Publications by MPOB. She is actively involved in several National Regulatory and CODEX Committees as well as a Member of the Expert Working Committee for Food, Health Claims and Advertising under the Ministry of Health, Malaysia.
She also serves as a member of the Scientific Committee of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC).
Rupal Verma is a Consultant at United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and serves as a secretariat advisor for the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS). Alongside her advisory role, Rupal is an active researcher in the fields of sustainability standards, international trade, and value chains, with a special focus on their profound implications for developing nations.
Her research contributions, in particular with her work at the International Institute for Sustainable Development, include extensive studies of sustainability standards, their alignment with SDGs, and their potential impact on developing economies. Originally from India, she has served as an analyst with the Quality Council of India where she led the work on India National Platform on Sustainability Standards. Rupal holds an Erasmus Mundus master’s degree, majoring in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management.
Her educational background, combined with her practical experience and passion for sustainability, makes her a valuable contributor to the global discourse on sustainability standards, trade, and the sustainable future of our planet.
Dato’ Leong is the current president of Malaysia Biomass Industries Confederation (MBIC). He recently has been entrusted by Ministry of Plantation & Commodities to lead the consultancy study on National Biomass Action Plan 2023 – 2030 through his consultancy company Uni-Link Smart Venture Sdn Bhd. Dato’ Leong is also the Board Member of Malaysian Green Technology & Climate Change Corporation (MGTC) a government agency under the purview of Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change (NRECC).
He is appointed by the Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) as the Advisory Panel for the AAIBE Chair of Renewable Energy (2022 -2025) / Industrial Advisory Panel (IAP), Xiamen University Malaysia (2022-2023). His specialties include feasibility study on green projects, business models formulation, project fund raising, roadmap formulation for public sector etc.
A law graduate (LLB) from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom, Leena holds a Master’s in law (LLM) from the University of Exeter, United Kingdom and through the Chevening Scholarship, she obtained her second Masters in the Theory and Practice of Human Rights from the University of Essex, United Kingdom.
Admitted as a lawyer in three jurisdictions ie. United Kingdom, Singapore and Malaysia, she has practiced law and contributed to human rights initiatives for several years. Her journey led her to roles with the Bar Council Legal Aid, the Bar Council Human Rights Committee, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AIHCR).
At AICHR, she served at the Head of Unit where she pioneered human rights project development in Southeast Asia and strategised engagement on multiple thematic human rights issues. She later worked in peace-building for Myanmar’s National Peace and Reconciliation Centre and as a Senior Legal Adviser. In January 2022, Leena joined RSPO as Head of Human Rights and Social Standards.