Responsible Sourcing: Sustainable Palm Oil

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With rising demand for palm oil there are increasing concerns as to the sustainability of its production. Indonesia and Malaysia have seen significant increases in the area of palm oil being grown, frequently to the detriment of prime forest. These forests are unique habitats supporting critically endangered species such as orang-utans. Expansion of palm oil production is putting these vulnerable habitats at risk with increasing areas of forest felled to make way for palm oil production. It is important for companies to assess their role and where they are placed within the supply chain to ensure they are sourcing sustainably produced palm oil. ADAS can help you achieve sustainability targets through our expert knowledge and experience in responsible sourcing within supply chains.

Responsible Sourcing: Sustainable Palm Oil

WWF Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard

Since 2009 the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have published scorecards on the performance of companies on the core actions that they need to take to ensure they are acting responsibly when it comes to sourcing palm oil for their products. The last scorecard was published in 2016 which focused on the commitment of many companies on reaching their 100% certified sustainable palm oil targets by 2015. Information for the next scorecard is currently being collected by the WWF. The scorecard results will demonstrate the progress of companies in maintaining their commitments to sourcing sustainable palm oil and identify the companies who are still falling behind on their targets.

Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a voluntary organisation that promotes sustainable practices in the palm oil industry. In 2008, the RSPO developed a set of environmental and social criteria which companies must comply with in order to produce Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO). Companies must be seen to:

  • Support affordable food prices globally
  • Fulfil increasing global food demand
  • Support poverty reduction
  • Protect the environment and wildlife
  • Safeguard social interest, communities and workers

Producers of palm oil are certified through verification of the production process against RSPO Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Palm Oil Production by certified bodies. There are a number of different RSPO certification options depending on the degree to which the origin of the palm oil in your  supply chains may be traced.  These are set out in Table 1.

Table 1. RSPO Supply chain certification options (Source: RSPO)

Identity preserved: Sustainable palm oil from a single identifiable certified source is kept separately from ordinary palm oil throughout supply chain.
Segregated: Sustainable palm oil from different certified sources is kept separate from ordinary palm oil throughout supply chain.
Mass balance: Sustainable palm oil from certified sources is mixed with ordinary palm oil throughout supply chain.
RSPO credits/ book & claim: The supply chain is not monitored for the presence of sustainable palm oil. Manufacturers and retailers can buy Credits from RSPO-certified growers, crushers and independent smallholders to offset the actual palm oil that has been purchased.


ADAS services

Based on specialist knowledge of agricultural supply chains ADAS can help businesses develop and implement practical risk management strategies. ADAS provides a number of services which will help your business achieve sustainable sourcing of palm oil:

  • Responsible sourcing policy development
  • Raise awareness of importance of sustainable sourcing to stakeholders
  • Understanding current sourcing, mapping your supply chain
  • Monitoring and evaluation of progress toward sustainable sourcing

Find out more

For more information on ADAS services to support sustainable palm oil strategy please visit the Palm Oil Services page

For more information on past projects please visit the Responsible Sourcing services page.

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