The study focuses on the palm oil industry which has been a major contributor to the economies of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. These countries have been looked upon as the major players in the industry in the world market. This environmental scanning study assessed the contributions and the challenges posed by the presence of the industry to the countries under study. This qualitative and quantitative study looked into the two trends in the impact assessment with reference to case study examples of some industry players in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. The first part dealt with the increasing focus on the cumulative impacts and the second part on the emerging requirements to link the social and economic impact to the ongoing social impact plans. An analysis on the effects of the industry’s presence within the context of input – output model, proved to have an impact on the environment, socio-economic and political situation and other relevant factors. These effects on education, housing, population, crime rate, local authority funding and quality of life of people in the regional community have led to be the basis for policies and Social Impact Plans for the Southeast Asian countries. An advocacy may be initiated on countries with emerging economies to benchmark from countries which have improved their socio-political and economic conditions considering the positive impact of the industry’s presence.