Company Research


Last updated: March 2016 

 

 

 

Ethical Consumer Palm Oil Research


Our directory uncovers the notes behind the research used for our collaborative campaign with the Rainforest Foundation. This directory provides an in-depth account of each company's policy towards palm oil or thereby lack of. 

 

 

 

Acronyms:

 

ACOP  - Annual Communication of Progress (yearly report to RSPO)

RSPO  - Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

CPO    - Crude palm oil (or refined palm oil)

PKO    - Palm kernel oil

CSPO - Certified sustainable palm oil 

 

 


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Against the Grain
 

Against the Grain was not a member of the RSPO, and did not respond to our questionnaire. On its website, the company stated 'At Against the Grain we do not believe in the destruction of rainforests in order to grow palm oil. We believe that palm oil should be grown in a sustainable way which does not endanger the rainforests and its inhabitants.

We only use RSPO certified, fully traceable, organic, Rainforest Alliance certified palm oil. Our suppliers are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, which lays down strict rules governing how the plantations are managed, that ensure sound environmental practices that don’t threaten valuable wild habitats.

Therefore all the organic palm oil used in Against the Grain’s products comes from sustainable sources, is grown on plantations that have NOT been created from tropical forest clearance and is sourced from a company who have a very good social and environmental record, and process only organic palm. We therefore have confidence that we are sourcing absolutely the best palm oil possible in terms of environmental and social impact.'

Full ingredients lists were available on its website, and no PKO or palm derivatives were found. The company therefore scored the full 60 marks available for certified and segregated use, as well as 10 marks each for group-wide commitment and positive initiatives as all its palm was organic.

 

 

 

 

Allied Bakeries

 

Allied Bakeries did respond to our questionnaire and was a member of the RSPO. Allied Bakeries is a subsidiary of Associated British Foods, but has its own palm oil policies and reports separately to the RSPO, hence its separate entry. Allied Bakeries information is also included in the figures reported by ABF. In its questionnaire response, Allied Bakeries disclosed its main supplier, gaining them 5 marks. The company stated it could only reply for Allied Bakeries so did not receive marks for group-wide disclosure. Figures for derivative certification were adjusted from those given in its ACOP as the company stated in the questionnaire 'Please note that as from December 2014 we source all derivatives as SG or MB'. The amount previously under Green Palm was moved to Mass Balance. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 87% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks for disclosure of volumes. 

 

 
Positive Initiatives

In its ACOP Allied Bakeries stated 'We have made membership of RSPO and accreditation of the handling of sustainable palm a requirement for our ingredient and sub contracted suppliers. We make all of our suppliers aware of our requirements with regard to sustainable palm. As a result of this several ingredient companies and SME manufacturers have joined RSPO and progressed towards supply chain certification'. 

As this detailed limited engagement with suppliers which had brought about progress, 5 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

Other information

In the Responsible Business section of its website Allied Bakeries stated 'Our total palm usage is around 1,000 tonnes a year (palm oil and derivatives) and as of December 2014, all of this is sourced from physical sustainable supply chains (i.e. segregated and mass balanced). Our aim is to work with our suppliers to change the final 10% of mass balanced volume to achieve 100% segregated sustainable palm by 2020.'

A statement in the FAQs section on its website quoted an out of date deadline, 'a deadline of using 100% sustainable palm oil by end of 2014.'

 

 

 

Associated British Foods plc

 

ABF did not respond to our questionnaire but was a member of the RSPO. In its ACOP, ABF reported separate figures for palm usage in three sectors; as a Processor/Trader of animal feeds, as a Consumer Goods Manufacturer, and as a Retailer of Home & Personal Care Goods. The figures were all combined in our table.

According to its ACOP figures the company scored 85% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 42% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. However, more up to date information was found in the ABF 2015 Corporate Responsibility update, which stated 'The group’s commitment to source RSPO certified sustainable palm oil products by 2015 applies across all our businesses. We aim to buy as much physically certified sustainable products as possible. However, as 70% of the volume we procure is in products containing palm oil or its derivatives, this is not always feasible. We therefore met our target by utilising the RSPO-approved Book&Claim supply chain scheme.' The company therefore scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified.

It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitments and disclosure of volumes. It scored none of the 10 marks available for disclosure of suppliers.

 

Positive initiatives

Regarding animal feeds ABF stated 'Currently there are no commercially available physical sources of segregated or mass balance product for any of the palm products

we use across our business. We are encouraging suppliers to change this. We are also engaging and educating customers on the benefits of supporting sustainable certified palm inputs'. However, as details of the engagement were not provided, no marks were given here for positive initiatives.

Regarding Consumer Goods ABF stated 'our preparations to prepare for Supply Chain Certification audits across multiple sites will also be a feature in the coming months.' As this work was only taking place in a limited part of their business, 5 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

Other information

Regarding Home & Personal Care Goods ABF stated 'Our principle third party manufacturer of finished personal care products are already RSPO members and have achieved RSPO Supply Chain Certification. Physical supply of certified material will make up the majority of our consumption during 2015 and we aspire to be 100% physical supply by end 2016. We have struggled to secure physical supply of many derivatives in many geographies. In certain geographies, where awareness of sustainability issues are less developed, the commercial terms for securing physical supply options have made supply to existing customers non-viable'.

 

In its 2014 Annual Report ABF stated 'In 2013, we reported that all our grocery businesses were committed to the responsible sourcing of palm oil and, by 2015, will use only RSPO certified palm products. We have strengthened this commitment and are now working towards all of our businesses being 100% compliant in sourcing only RSPO certified sustainable palm oil products.' 

 

 

 

Avon Products, Inc. 

 

Avon did not respond to our questionnaire but was a member of the RSPO. In its ACOP Avon stated 'Avon Products, Inc., is not a significant user of palm oil or palm kernel oil (PKO) and predominantly uses ingredients that are derivatives of palm oil and PKO. The traceability of palm/PKO derivatives is complex. We are working in collaboration with our suppliers to increase traceability of derivatives.' It appeared that the company used some palm oil and PKO, but it did not include figures for this in its ACOP. Therefore two-thirds of the 40 marks for usage, and two-thirds of the 10 marks for disclosure of volumes were deducted. No marks were scored for proportion of segregated palm as it had declared that 100% of its palm derivative use was covered by the Book & Claim system. The company also scored 10 marks for group-wide commitment.

 

Positive Initiatives

Avon also stated 'A cross-functional internal team is currently assessing the company’s palm oil sourcing. The team is working to develop a recommendation for implementing a time-bound sustainable sourcing plan with a target date for sourcing 100% deforestation- and conflict-free palm oil, PKO and PKO derivatives.' 

As detail was given of current work towards engagement, 5 marks were given for positive initiatives. 

Documents were found online that detailed Avon's palm oil commitments, but it was not clear that any work was currently underway, so no marks were given here for positive initiatives.

 

 


 

 

Bahlsen GmbH
 

Bahlsen did not respond to our questionnaire, but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 20% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitment and disclosure of volumes. 

In its ACOP Bahlsen stated 'We use no pure PKO, but it is in the recipes of our 'compounds'...Per today we introduce the compounds under the category derivatives / fractions'. The company had entered an identical figure once under derivatives, and once under PKO later in the form. This was interpreted as an error, and assumed to be derivatives.

Bahlsen stated a goal for 01/2016 to use segregated palm 'within the pure Palmfats (about 50% of all of our Palm based fats)' and from 01/2018 'within the compounds (Palm Kernel Oil based)'. No confirmation was found online that the 01/2016 goal had been reached.

 

Positive Initiatives

It also stated 'From 09/2015 we start a pilot project together with WWF and Wild Asia in Malaysia / Sabah. We want to support smallholder to become RSPO certified and afterwords establish a supply chain to Europe/Germany'.

'We regularly visit regions in Southeast Asia (esp. Indonesia, Malaysia) to us of its own picture of the situation and the implementation Certification system to make.'

More information on the project with Wild Asia was found in Bahlsen's 2015 Sustainability report, which stated on pages 19-20 'in November 2014, we travelled with WWF representatives to Malaysia, to take a look at two certification projects on location.'

'The aim of our trip was to look into cooperation possibilities by using the certification of small farmers as an example, and also to find out about how to form sustainable and transparent supply chains all the way through to Germany.'

'The cooperation project (see p. 17) starts in fall 2015'.

As the project had been initiated 10 marks were given for positive initiatives. 5 marks were also given for disclosing the location of some suppliers.

 

 

 

Beiersdorf AG (Nivea) 

 

Beiersdorf did not respond to our questionnaire, but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and none of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitment and disclosure of volumes.

 

Positive Initiatives

In its ACOP it stated 'Proactive discussions are on-going with our key raw material suppliers to understand their upstream supply chain, its palm content sourcing, and develop a plan to switch to CSP(K)O materials'. However, as no detail was given, no marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

Other information

Although in its ACOP Beiersdorf gave only figures for Green Palm and no other certifications, it stated on its website 'We have made considerable progress towards changing to sustainable palm kernel oil only using ingredients from proven sustainable sources (Certified Sustainable Palm Kernel Oil). By 2020, we intend to switch the respective ingredients to segregated or at least mass balanced palm (kernel) oil and corresponding derivatives. Until the transition is complete, we will purchase certificates on the “GreenPalm” trading platform.'

 

 

 

The Bio-D Company Ltd

 

Bio-D was not a member of the RSPO, but did respond to our questionnaire. Bio-D stated that it had '1 raw material that is RSPO certified. At the moment the product is made from either Coconut or RSPO certified palm, or both, depending on product availability. We are working with our supplier to switch this wholly to Coconut; I hope to be completely palm free for Bio-D products by the middle of 2016.' This information had been entered under 'palm kernel oil', but was understood to be a palm-based derivative. 

A further email was received with an update that 'unfortunately we are simply not big enough to exert enough influence on the supplier to guarantee they only buy coconut'. However, although the palm used had historically been mass balance certified, 'over the past year we have managed to exert enough pressure on the supplier to ensure it is segregated. Until now I don't believe anyone has offered this level of certification in surfactants. The fully segregated material I am expecting to have in place by the beginning of March.' As the company was working with its supplier to step up the certification level, 10 marks were given for positive initiatives.

Bio-D had also stated 'The palm we buy is a component of a raw material and the RSPO certified material comes from Univar'. 10 marks were given for disclosure of suppliers. As the company provided an estimate of 'less than 20 tonnes' for derivatives, 10 marks were given for disclosure of volumes. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and two-thirds of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'. It also scored 10 marks for group-wide commitments.

Bio-D also declared that it sourced organic palm to manufacture for Traidcraft.

 

 

 

Bio Spectra

 

Bio Spectra was not a member of the RSPO, and did not respond to our questionnaire. A number of ingredients were found in lists on the company website which may have been palm derivatives, eg glycerin, glyceryl oleate. However, no information was found on the company's palm oil policy.  As palm derivatives were widely used in the home-care industry, and in the absence of a clear statement to the contrary, it was assumed that Bio Spectra did use them but showed no evidence of a responsible palm policy and therefore scored zero.

 

 

 

The Body Shop International 

 

The Body Shop is owned by L'Oreal. Although The Body Shop is also a separate member of the RSPO, there was no Body Shop 2014 ACOP on the RSPO site. However, The Body Shop did respond to our questionnaire with its own figures. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 13% of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'. It also scored 10 marks each for disclosure of suppliers and volumes. Suppliers named were BASF, CRODA, COGNIS, KAO and ECOGREEN. No marks were given for group-wide disclosure as the figures did not cover all palm use by its parent company. 5 marks were given for positive initiatives in line with L'Oreal.

 

Other information

On its website, The Body Shop stated 'We source 100% sustainable palm oil from RSPO certified suppliers.' This was misleading as although its crude/refined palm oil use was from 100% segregated sources, its palm use overall including derivatives was only 13% segregated, the rest being covered by Greenpalm certificates.

 

 

 

Booja Booja

 

Booja Booja were not members of the RSPO. Ethical Consumer received email responses to our questionnaire, which stated 'we do not use any palm products in any of our products'. The company therefore scored full marks for being palm-free. 

 

 

 

Boots UK Limited 

 

Boots did not respond to our questionnaire, but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 3% of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'. It also scored 10 marks for disclosure of volumes.

 

In the ACOP question on whether its commitments covered its global use of palm oil, Boots stated 'No', and clarified that they covered just France, Germany, Ireland, United Kingdom. Therefore the 10 marks for global commitment/disclosure were not given.

Boots stated that already 'In Place' were measures to 'Engage with relevant product and ingredient suppliers to map usage and set plans to move to use of CSPO'. As detail was given of limited engagement with suppliers, 5 marks were given for positive initiatives. 

 

Other information

The company also stated that it was 'raising awareness with our supply chain particularly in areas such as SE Asia.'

The company made a brief mention of palm oil in its 2013/14 Performance Update, stating that it would 'support sustainable sourcing practices through the interim purchase of GreenPalm certificates, moving to independently Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) by 2014.' No more recent update was found.

 

 

 

Burton's Foods Ltd
 

Burton's did not respond to our questionnaire, but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 97% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitment and disclosure of volumes. 

 

Positive Initiatives

In it’s 2014 ACOP, Burton’s stated 'We are already sourcing 100% of our palm requirements via RSPO approved mechanisms and have done since 2010...We have already switched most of our supply to segregated sourcing. We are working hard with our supplier of chocolate fillings to move to segregated sourcing for the palm fraction component and hope to switch during late 2015. We are now just left with just a few materials that contain very small percentages of palm fractions/derivatives that are proving hard to source through the segregated or mass balance supply chain model, but will continue to push our suppliers hard or aim to formulate them out by the end of 2015.' 

For its work with suppliers to reformulate, 10 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

 


 

 

 

Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprungli AG 

 

Lindt was a member of the RSPO, and responded to our questionnaire. In its ACOP Lindt did not give figures for palm derivatives/fractions. Elsewhere in the ACOP it stated under 'Challenges': 'availability of segregated specific products (fractions of palm oil) in small quantities for a reasonable sustainability premium'. This suggested the company sourced fractions but did not disclose volumes. However, Lindt did respond to our questionnaire in which it stated that it did not use palm derivatives. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 27% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitments and disclosure of volumes. 

 

Positive Initiatives

Lindt stated in its ACOP that it was 'Finalizing implementation of 100% segregated and certified palm oil procurement through engagement with suppliers'. In response to our questionnaire Lindt stated 'Working on complete switch to RSPO certified/segregated by end 2015. We have recently undergone a successful RSPO certification Audit for segregated palm oil at our last production sites in the US'. As some details of engagement were provided, 5 marks were given for positive initiatives. 

 

Other information

On its website, Lindt stated 'From 2015 onwards, only palm oil from sustainable and certified production will be used in all fillings of LINDT chocolate'

The company also stated in its ACOP, 'Please note that the sustainability practices of Russell Stover (acquired late 2014) will be stepwise adapted to the norms of the Lindt & Sprüngli Group, and are therefore not yet integrated in this ACOP.'

 

 

 

Clarins
 

Clarins were not a member of the RSPO and did not respond to our questionnaire. An online search for their ingredients found many products containing either palm oil or palm derivatives.

However, no information could be found about Clarins' sourcing policies for palm products. The company therefore scored zero.

 

 

 

Colgate-Palmolive Company

 

Colgate-Palmolive did not respond to our questionnaire, but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 1% of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'. It also scored 10 marks for group-wide commitments and disclosure of volumes.

 

Positive Initiatives

In its ACOP Colgate-Palmolive stated 'We are working with third party support to map our supply chains for palm oil and derivatives, focusing first on tracing to the mills, then assessing risk and required actions, and then moving to tracing to plantations. This process includes outreach to all first tier suppliers of palm oil and derivatives and working with them to trace our supply chain sources. We continue to identify and qualify additional sources of physically certified (RSPO) palm oil and derivatives, and continue to supplement these purchases with GreenPalm certificate purchases to cover the balance of our volumes. We continue to meet with suppliers in different parts of the world to understand their capabilities to supply certified sustainable palm oil and derivatives. We are completing identification/mapping of all palm oil/PKO derivatives globally, and plan to cover these incremental volumes with GreenPalm certificates as an interim step.'

'The identification and mapping of palm oil/PKO derivatives is a challenge, due in part to supplier flexibility in use of oils, eg PKO vs. CNO, as feedstock materials.'

As work was underway towards improving the supply chain, 5 marks were given for positive initiatives.

A Colgate-Palmolive Policy on No Deforestation was found online. In the section on palm oil it stated 'Colgate uses palm oil and its derivatives in some of our soap products, toothpastes, antiperspirants and deodorants.' It outlined its next steps, but it was not clear whether any of these were underway.

Colgate's Annual Sustainability Report contained the same information.

 

 

 

 

The Co-operative Group
 

The Co-op responded to our questionnaire and was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 39% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitments and disclosure of volumes. 

 

Positive initiatives

In its ACOP The Co-op stated 'We will continue to engage with our supply chains to encourage the increasing use of RSPO certified palm oil from physical supply chains.' 'Currently 77% of all palm oil usage is physical supply chains and we intend to ensure this level increases year on year reducing reliance on Book and Claim.' 

In its questionnaire response, The Co-op stated 'We annually conduct a traceability exercise and work with suppliers to implement strategies to progress to fully traceable certified Palm oil sources. We continue to progressively reduce reliance on Green palm certification.

We are further seeking information back to sourcing company of all palm oil and derivatives, and as able country of origin for 2015 reporting. Following which further goals will be agreed as applicable and appropriate.' 

It also stated 'through engagement with suppliers of own brand products who are also manufacturers of branded products we hope to contribute to the transformation of the palm oil market.'

As some details of engagement were provided, 5 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

Other information

On its website, The Co-op stated 'Our aim remains that all own-brand products will be sustainable, and come from a segregated Certified Sustainable Palm Oil. However, traceability issues – particularly in our non-food product supply chain – mean we will not be able to secure this in the short term. In moving towards achieving this target, we will continue to reduce reliance on GreenPalm certification (16% of all palm oil used in own-brand food products was GreenPalm certified in 2014 compared to 44% in 2013) and to stipulate, as a minimum, segregated CSPO for all our own-brand food and segregated or Mass Balanced CSPO for all our own-brand non-food requirements, where feasible.'

 

 


 

 

 

 

Delta Pronatura Dr. Krauss & Dr. Beckmann KG 

 

Delta Pronatura was not a member of the RSPO, and did not respond to our questionnaire. No information on palm oil policy could be found on either website Delta or Dr Beckmann.  

Delta Pronatura had returned an Ethical Consumer questionnaire in April 2014. This stated that it did not use crude palm oil or palm kernel oil.  The quantities of palm oil derivatives used by the company were provided. It was assumed the proportion certified would not have reduced, and the same figures were entered into the current spreadsheet. The company scored 74% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and none of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'. It also scored 10 marks for group-wide commitments, but none for disclosure of volumes as the company had not provided up to date figures.

 

 


 

Doves Farm
 

Doves Farm was not a member of the RSPO, and did not respond to our questionnaire. On its website, the company stated 'The Palm Oil used in our products is responsibly sourced from an organic supplier in Colombia. It is fully traceable, GMO-Free and being produced in South America is in no way implicated in the destruction of Orangu-tan and other wildlife habitats that is occurring in Southeast Asia. The palm oil is produced to the standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network'.

'Our producers are dedicated to enhancing their local environment, for example setting aside at least 10% of their land for ‘wildlife corridors’, which is not only valuable for the natural fauna and flora in its own right, but helps control pests and diseases in the organic palm crop.

Certification is achieved from the Rainforest Alliance.

Full ingredients lists were available on its website, and no PKO or derivatives were found. The company therefore scored the full 60 marks available for certified and segregated use, as well as 10 marks each for group-wide commitment and positive initiatives as all its palm was organic. 5 marks were also given for disclosing the country of origin.

 

 

 

Divine

 

Divine were not members of the RSPO. Ethical Consumer received email responses to our questionnaire, which stated 'we do not use any palm oil in our products', and confirmed this included palm kernel oil and derivatives. The company therefore scored full marks for being palm-free.

 

 

 

Dr Hauschka (WALA Heilmittel GmbH )

 

Neither Dr Hauschka nor its parent Wala was a member of the RSPO. Ethical Consumer received a statement in response to our questionnaire:

'We are very keen to source as many as possible of the plant oils we use in our Dr.Hauschka Skin Care products from certified organic growers. This also applies to our palm oil, which, however, plays a fairly minor role in our products, since it is an ingredient only used in our Pure Care Cover Sticks. On average, we use approx. 20 kg organic palm oil in our Dr. Hauschka Skin Care products per year. For comparison: in the same period we need about 30,000 kg of organic sunflower oil.

As we are aware of the problems that are partly associated with palm oil plantation especially in Indonesia and Malaysia, we have deliberately decided not to use any palm oil from Southeast Asia. The palm oil we use is certified organic and produced in South America. Here we have found a reliable partner who is genuinely concerned with sustainable cultivation and takes into account the strict requirements of a nature-friendly production and various aspects of environmental protection in palm oil production. If, as in this case, palm oil is produced locally, in an environmentally responsible manner and in cooperation with local farming enterprises, we see no reason not to use this valuable raw material.

However, we are also aware of the problems associated with emulsifiers/surfactants from conventionally produced palm kernel oil, although we do have a realistic picture of the current market situation. Even when asked directly, the suppliers of some of the emulsifiers/surfactants that can be used for natural cosmetics do not specify precisely which starting materials they use (e.g. rapeseed, soybean, coconut or palm oil). Therefore we prefer to use emulsifying substances which do not come from palm oil (lecithin, wool fat, coconut derivatives). Moreover, in the few instances where this is not the case we use emulsifiers from RSPO-certified palm oil wherever possible (available).

In addition we are in close contact with our suppliers and continue to work towards replacing the emulsifiers currently still obtained from palm oil by emulsifiers made from other raw materials. For example, a few years ago the purchasing department of Dr. Hauschka Skin Care succeeded in persuading a glycerol manufacturer to produce glycerol from organic coconut oil instead of conventional palm oil and to supply this to WALA. The price we have to pay for the palm-oil-free organic raw material obtained in this manner is about ten times the world market price for the conventional product. However, as the idea of environmental protection and promotion of organic farming is firmly anchored in our company philosophy we consider this a worthwhile investment.'

In response to an email requesting confirmation of whether the company used PKO, Wala replied 'We do not use palm kernel oil as such in the Dr. Hauschka products'...'However, we can't and also won't pass on an estimate on the used derivates.' The company did state 'Currently we are in the conversion process to switch all remaining palm(kern)oil based derivatives to RSPO quality. About 60% of the derivatives in which palm(kernel) oil is used are already RSPO certified.'

In a previous response to Ethical Consumer in 2013, the company had estimated that while it only used about 30kg of palm oil, it used 10-17 tonnes of palm based derivatives. In the absence of new volume figures for derivatives, the lower estimate of 10 tonnes was used, with 60% of those entered as Mass Balance certified. The company therefore scored 60% of the 40 marks available for 'Proportion RSPO certified or organic or not used', and less than 1% of the 20 marks for 'proportion segregated' for its organic palm oil. Two-thirds of the marks for disclosure of volumes were given for the estimate of palm oil used, and the declaration that no PKO was used.

10 marks were also given for positive initiatives for several measures the company had taken to find alternatives to conventional palm. 10 marks were given for group-wide commitment, and 5 marks for disclosure of supplier location.

 

 

 

Dri-Pak

 

Dri-Pak was not a member of the RSPO, but responded to our questionnaire, stating 'We have now discontinued dry Soap Flakes, the main product that used palm oil. We’ve switched production to a liquid variety that uses sunflower oil. We do use a surfactant that contains palm oil in our Liquid Soda Crystals and Liquid bicarb products. We buy it from KemCare supplied under the RSPO Book & Claim process. KemCare are members of the RSPO and are also RSPO SCCS accredited'.  The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and none of the 20 marks available for proportion segregated.

10 marks were given for positive initiatives for switching from palm to sunflower oil. 10 marks were given for disclosure of suppliers, and 10 for group wide commitment. 

 


 

 

 

Earth Friendly Products

 

Earth Friendly was not a member of the RSPO, and did not respond to our questionnaire. On its website the company stated 'Earth Friendly Products uses coconut oil based surfactants as opposed to palm oil to prevent the environmental and socio-economic impacts of palm oil that have caused substantial and irreversible damage to the natural environment.'

There were other ingredients in its products that did not specify which plant they originated from, eg Glycerin (plant-based skin softener): 

According to the notes from Ethical Consumer's previous research in 2014, there was a 'Questionnaire returned stating no palm oil or derivatives used.' It was assumed this was still correct and that the company's products were palm-free.

 

 

 

Ecover NV

 

Ecover was a member of the RSPO, and did respond to our questionnaire. The company stated by email 'We are finalizing our 2014 volumes and will be able to guarantee again to cover all our volumes for 2014 for both brands (Ecover & method) in the two regions. This currently through book&claim. Over the next coming years, our efforts will then be focused on an even higher level of palm oil alternatives (local crops) and moving to a segregated supply chain.'

Ecover stated in its questionnaire response 'We have been covering 100% of our volume since 2011 with book & claim and now plan to identify segregated options.' As an action for the coming year it listed in its ACOP 'Include our US business in covering PO and PKO volumes', also stating later 'US operation plans to cover their volume through book&claim as from 2015.' 10 marks were given for group-wide commitment as the questionnaire response gave higher figures than the ACOP (which only covered the Ecover brand), and claimed to cover global use.

The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and none of the 20 marks available for proportion segregated. It also scored 10 marks for disclosure of volumes.

In its questionnaire response the company stated 'We are not able to provide our full supplier list at this time because we have not gotten their approval to share their names yet. We will work to get their approval and provide this list as follow-up.'

 

Positive initiatives

Ecover also stated 'CSPO is not considered as a long term sustainable option if our overall consumption of palm oil keeps on rising. To use this in a technical product, like a cleaning product, is not seen as sustainable anyhow.'

The company was looking into alternatives to palm oil. The work had generated controversy as it used synthetic biology. In its questionnaire response the company stated 'We have actively replaced palm oil with locally sourced alternatives or with coconut derived ingredients wherever possible. We specifically seek out suppliers that are also RSPO members and those who provide increased traceability of feedstocks.' According to its website, Ecover was also looking into 'sustainable coconut oil, locally grown rapeseed oil, and agricultural waste streams'.10 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

Other information

In its ACOP Ecover stated its strategy was to 'Progress on identifying possible sources for segregated PKO based ingredients, depending on availability of viable alternatives. Aim to introduce 15% segregated volume by 2018. Achieve next level of Cradle to Cradle certification, which includes 15% of all ingredients coming from a certified source, by 2018. Overall switch to local & non-food resources by 2030'.

On this webpage the company also stated 'Here at Ecover we use RSPO Certified Green palm oil for all our products, so we know it’s come from sustainable sources'. This statement was misleading as covering palm use with Greenpalm certificates means the oil used is NOT from certified 'sustainable' sources.

 

 

 

Ecozone Ltd

 

Ecozone Ltd was not a member of the RSPO, but did respond to an earlier questionnaire in October 2015 when it informed Ethical Consumer that it had removed palm oil from all products. A product was found on its website which listed Sodium Palm Kernelate as an ingredient.  After being informed by email, the company said it would 'update this entry with the correct ingredients', and the ingredient was replaced with Sodium Coco Sulphonate.

The company had also responded in April 2014 to a previous questionnaire, stating 'We have committed ourselves to removing as many petrochemical derived cleaning agents from our products as possible. As a consequence of this drive we have been made aware that some palm oil has been used as an alternative to these agents. We would prefer in these instances that palm oil is not used however we are restricted by the costs of sourcing supplementary raw materials and given the size of our company this is not always a viable option for us.

As we continue to grow and expand we will use our increased influence to exert greater pressure on our supply chain to use raw materials that are sustainably sourced both in respect to palm oil to all raw materials used to make our products.

Further to this we have made a commitment to eradicate palm oil from all of our cleaning products by 2016.'

The company was understood to have fulfilled its commitment and to be palm-free, and therefore scored full marks.

 

 

 

The Esteé Lauder Companies Inc.

 

ELC did not respond to our questionnaire. The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. had become a member of the RSPO in March 2015, but no ACOP was yet available. 5 marks were deducted for incompleteness of information. On its website the company stated:

'A few of our brands use palm oil that is extracted from the palm fruit. We source all of this palm fruit oil from Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) identity-preserved sources. The majority of our brands use certain ingredients that are derivatives of palm kernel oil, processed by our suppliers. We have already begun to substitute existing non-certified PKO derivative ingredients with RSPO certified Mass Balance (MB) alternatives in some of our formulae. This substitution process is expected to continue over several years.'

'Until we are able to purchase 100% PKO derivative ingredients traceable to known and certified sources, we will annually purchase Green Palm Certificates to offset the use of non-sustainable PKO derived ingredients that we procure directly.'

As only those PKO derived ingredients that were sourced directly were covered by Green Palm certificates and no volumes given, and information about PKO use was insufficient, only one-third of the 60 marks for usage were given, for the palm fruit oil as it was declared to be from identity-preserved sources. 10 marks were also given for group-wide commitment. 

 

Positive Initiatives

In its 2015 Corporate Sustainability Communication on Progress ELC stated 'Focused on high-volume suppliers, which represent approximately 80 percent of ELC’s annual  sourcing, we are beginning to map our supply chain with the aim of tracing source  materials back to plantations and growers'. 5 marks were given for positive initiatives for this work towards engagement with the supply chain.

 

Other information

In its 2014 Corporate Responsibility Report ELC stated 'We are committed to purchasing more than 50% of our palm/PKO based material volume as MB or segregated by 2020.'

ELC also stated on its website, 'By the end of 2015 all suppliers of ELC’s high-volume palm oil, PKO and PKO derived ingredients will be required to provide third-party verification that they are complying with our no deforestation policy.'

 

 


 

 

 

Faith in Nature Ltd
 

Faith in Nature was not a member of the RSPO but did respond to our questionnaire. On its website the company stated:

'Faith in Nature have always had a policy of not using petroleum or animal fat based ingredients and from the very beginning sourced our detergent from vegetable based ingredients. 

In the early days, the alternative base material was made from coconut oil. However, over the years, coconut has been replaced by palm oil, as the oil palm is a much more prolific grower than coconut. As a result, our suppliers cannot now guarantee that they will be using coconut as the base in the future. Whilst palm oil is used in a number of our ingredients, we work hard to ensure the palm oil we use is sourced responsibly.' 

This statement gave less information than when Ethical Consumer viewed the company website in 2013, when it stated that palm oil used in its soap base was from 'plantations which are monitored by the RSPO'.  Also, that suppliers of its shampoo base materials were members of the RSPO 'who are currently either sourcing from plantations which are already under the RSPO scheme, or are in the process of securing all their palm oil in the future from such sources'.

Several ingredients that could be palm derived were noted in ingredients lists online: Sodium palmate in soap, Ammonium laureth sulfate in shower gels/foam baths and in washing up liquid, Glycerin in anti-bac spray and laundry liquide, and Ammonium laureth sulfate, Polysorbate 20, Glyceryl laurate, Glycerin, Tocopherol and Glycol distearate in handwashes.

In response to a previous questionnaire in 2013 the company had stated 'We do not use any palm oil or palm kernel oil. We only use some derivatives of palm oil or palm kernel oil.' 'As part of our commitment to reduce the amount of palm oil derivatives, we carefully vet our suppliers on the source of their ingredient, including palm or palm kernel oil and their derivatives.'

On its website it stated 'Where practical alternatives exist, we are switching to non palm oil or certified sustainable palm oil alternatives, and have recently made this switch covering 24,000kg of ingredients per annum.' 'Our aim is to achieve a minimum of 90% of all palm oil derivatives completely from segregated palm, or at a minimum from Mass Balance palm within 2 years. We are actively researching new ingredients to replace those which are from standard palm, and are reformulating to reflect this.'

In its questionnaire response, the company provided figures showing 67% of palm derivatives used were certified segregated. As the company was making an effort to source palm derivatives sustainably, and did not use CPO/PKO it scored two-thirds of the 40 marks available for proportions not used. It also scored 67% of the 20 marks for the proportion of derivatives that were segregated, as well as 10 marks for group-wide commitment. 

 

 

 

 

Ferrero Trading Lux SA
 

Ferrero did not respond to our questionnaire but was a member of the RSPO. In its ACOP Ferrero only gave figures under the 'derivatives or fractions' sections. In 2014 Ferrero responded to a questionnaire from Ethical Consumer, answering the question 'Do you use crude palm oil (CPO), palm kernel oil (PKO) or palm oil derivatives in your products?' with 'Yes, palm oil derivatives.' Elsewhere in its ACOP, Ferrero states 'To date – May 2015 - we have reached traceability to the plantation for 98% of the CPO (Crude Palm Oil) volume we purchase'. According to a 2012 Ferrero CSR report, 'Ferrero has developed an exclusive technique of palm oil fractionation'. Ethical Consumer assumed Ferrero was referring to all its palm use as derivatives. 

In its 2014 CSR report, Ferrero stated that 'AS OF JANUARY 2015, FERRERO PRODUCTS ARE PRODUCED WITH ONLY PALM FRUIT OIL THAT IS 100% SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL CERTIFIED RSPO AS SEGREGATED'. As such, Ethical Consumer updated the figures on the spreadsheet.

 

The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 100% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitments and disclosure of volumes. 

 

Positive Initiatives

In its ACOP, Ferrero stated 'Since November 2014 we have worked closely with TFT and our suppliers in order to address the gaps identified during the field visits to a selection of our major suppliers’ supply base, from where we buy 74% of our palm oil. During 2015, a time-bound action plan with each grower has been undertaken and the identified issues addressed (workers conditions, group policies update, commitments towards No-Deforestation, No-Exploitation).'

As detail was given of engagement with suppliers, 10 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

Other information

On 22.12.15 Ferrero released its fourth palm oil progress report, which detailed ongoing discussions with suppliers to improve practices, and Ferrero's new membership of the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) in November 2015.

 

 

 

The Fine Cheese Company
 

The Fine Cheese Company was not a member of the RSPO, and did not respond to our questionnaire. No information was found on the company's website. However, the company had responded to a previous questionnaire in June 2015, stating:

'The Palm Oil that we use in our products is bought by the bakery in the form of Cake Margarine, the Palm Oil within this ingredient is from segregated sources.'

It had not declared any use of derivatives and was assumed not to use any. The supplier was named as New Britain Oils but no volumes were given. The company scored the full 60 marks for proportion certified and segregated or not used, as well as 10 each for group-wide commitment and disclosure of supplier.

 

 

 

 

Frank Roberts & Sons
 

Frank Roberts & Sons was an Associate member of the RSPO, and as such did not submit an ACOP. However, the company did respond to our questionnaire. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 49% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks each for disclosure of volumes and group-wide commitment.

10 marks were also given for disclosure of suppliers: Cereform (AB Mauri), Vandemoortele, Kerry Foods, Renshaws, Cake Décor and Bakemark.

 

 


 

 

 

 

Green & Blacks Ltd (part of Mondelez)

 

G&B did not respond to our questionnaire. The company was bought by Cadbury's in 2005, which was acquired in 2012 by Mondelez International.  G&B received a separate score here because all its products were organic. It stated on its website that all its products were certified by the Soil Association. The full 60 marks were given for certified and segregated use, as well as 10 for positive initiatives for sourcing organic palm.

 

 

 

Green People

 

Green People was not a member of the RSPO and did not respond to our questionnaire. On its website the company stated 'We would like to reassure our customers that the palm oil used in Green People products is from certified organic sources in countries that do not have native orang-utans such as the Philippines and Ecuador.'

It was not clear whether the company used any PKO or derivatives. In 2013 the company had declared to Ethical Consumer that they did not use PKO, and that '100% of the palm oil derivatives that we use are RSPO certified'. It was assumed that this position had not changed and therefore the company received the full 40 marks for proportion certified or not used.

Only two-thirds of the 20 marks for proportion segregated or not used were given, for the organic palm oil and non-use of PKO, as it was not clear that derivatives were certified by the segregated mechanism. An additional 5 marks were given for positive initiatives for sourcing some organic palm products. Where palm oil was found listed as an ingredient, it was also stated to be Fairly Traded. 5 marks were given for disclosure of location of suppliers, and 10 marks for group-wide commitment. 

 

 

 

Greggs Plc

 

Greggs was not a member of the RSPO, and did not respond to our questionnaire.

In 2013 Ethical Consumer viewed the Greggs Ethical Sourcing Policy in which Greggs stated 'We have already converted 100% of our liquid palm oil needs to Certified Sustainable Palm Oil'. 

Later statements make clear that Greggs also used palm oil in other forms which were not all CSPO:

In a statement clearly made before the end of 2013, Greggs claimed:

'We have already converted 100% of our liquid palm oil needs to CSPO and we require all our suppliers of palm oil to be members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). We are actively working to substantially increase the proportion of CSPO we use and plan to have 65% of our Palm Oil sourced from sustainable plantations by the end of 2013, and 100% by the end of 2015.'

Another Greggs Ethical Sourcing Policy was found online, which appeared to be from 2014 and stated 'We have already converted 100% of our boxed palm oil needs to Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) and we require all of our suppliers of bakery fats that use palm oil to be members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Over 80% of our total boxed bakery palm oil needs are now from CSPO sources'. This statement was interpreted to mean that pure palm oil was 100% certified, but fats containing partly palm oil were only 80% certified.

 

No 2015 Ethical Sourcing Policy was found. However, a new section on the website stated 'Work has continued to increase the proportion of sustainable palm oil used, with 100 per cent of our fats now using certified sustainable palm oil.' 

Finally, a response was found in the FAQs section of Greggs public website, which stated '100% of the palm oil we buy as an ingredient is sourced from a certified sustainable palm oil scheme. We’re working to progress the conversion of palm oil where it is used elsewhere within our products and ingredients'. 

 

Taking these five statements, it appeared that Greggs had progressed to a point where 100% of fats using palm were CSPO.  In line with the other companies covered in this sector it was assumed that palm kernel oil was not used. Therefore the company received two-thirds of the 40 marks available for usage, and one-third of the 20 marks available for 'Proportion segregated or not used'. Derivatives were not explicitly mentioned but were assumed to be included in the statement 'where it is used elsewhere within our products'. 10 marks were given for group-wide commitments, and 5 for positive initiatives to reflect the progress made. 5 marks were deducted for incompleteness as the information was so unclear.

 


 

 

Hain Celestial Group

 

Hain Celestial did not respond to our questionnaire, but was a member of the RSPO. In previous research Ethical Consumer found that Hain Celestial had been suspended from the RSPO for not submitting ACOPs. However, the company had since submitted the latest ACOP for 2014. The company scored 93% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 63% of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitment and disclosure of volumes.

 

Positive Initiatives

In its ACOP Hain Celestial stated 'Existing multi-ingredients with secondary palm/palm derivatives and fractions have proven to be a challenge to convert due to high minimum order commitments required for special order CSPO palm oil, palm kernel oil, derivatives and fractions or a CSPO version is not available on the market. We will continue to purchase green certificates through the Book and Claim model while working with our existing ingredient suppliers to mitigate minimum order requirements. Going forward the strategy will be for R&D and Procurement to identify and source ingredients for reformulated products and new products that only contain CSPO, when available to purchase. The time bound commitments for the purpose of this report period is only for the food goods. The challenge going forward, due in part to the complexity of palm oil derivatives and fractions, will be to assess feasibility for personal care goods across the supply chain.' 

Although reformulations with only CSPO were said to be the strategy, it was not clear that this was currently happening, so no marks were given for positive initiatives. 

Hain Celestial also stated online that 'Where there is no certified sustainable option available, we remove that ingredient as soon as we find an alternative that ensures that the quality of the product is not impacted.' As no examples were given, no marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

Other information

Online the company stated 'Straight palm products we use are fully Certified Sustainable by the RSPO'. This was confusing because the company's ACOP showed that while most of its palm fruit oil was Identity Preserved or Segregated, 29% was not certified at all. However, the figures also showed a volume of certified palm derivatives that was larger than the declared volume of derivatives used, which may account for some of the discrepancy.

 
 
 
 

Holland & Barrett Retail Limited

 

H&B was not a member of the RSPO and did not respond to our questionnaire. On its website products were found with palm oil as an ingredient, but no information was found on its palm oil sourcing policy.
 
As the company provided no evidence of sourcing certified palm, it scored zero.
 

 

 

 

Homecare (Active Brand Concepts Ltd) – Brite Range

 

Active Brand Concepts was not a member of the RSPO, and did not respond to our questionnaire. Its website, did not present ingredients lists and no mention of palm oil policy was found. As palm derivatives were widely used in this sector, and in the absence of a clear statement that ABC did not use them, the company scored zero.

 

 

 

Honesty Cosmetics

 

Honesty Cosmetics was not a member of the RSPO and did not respond to our questionnaire. When the company responded to an Ethical Consumer questionnaire in 2013 it stated that it did not use any palm products, having discontinued them some years before. A search of its website did not find any palm ingredients in any own-brand products. The company was assumed to remain palm-free and therefore scored full marks.

 

 


 

 

 

Iceland Foods Ltd

 

Iceland was not a member of the RSPO and did not respond to our questionnaire. It did not present a policy on palm oil on its website, but did list a number of own-brand products containing palm oil as an ingredient. 

As the company used palm oil but showed no evidence of working towards more sustainable sourcing, it scored zero.

 

 

 

Inika (Total Beauty Network Pty Limited)
 

Total Beauty Network was not a member of the RSPO and Inika did not respond to our questionnaire.

The Inika brand website had a FAQ response stating 'INIKA is absolutely committed to upholding the highest ethics in everything we do and produce. Our products do not contain Palm Oil although some contain an ethically sourced derivative, which has been certified by Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).'

However, a search on the parent company's website, found an ingredients list for another of their brands, Designer Brands (DB Cosmetics), which was available in Australia. This contained many ingredients that appeared to be palm derivatives, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Hydrogenated Palm Glyceride, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Retinyl Palmitate, Octyl Palmitate, Cetyl Palmitate, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide 7, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Ethyl Palmitate.

Therefore no marks could be given for group-wide commitment, but Inika scored the 40 marks available for its own palm use, which was certified. As the company's products only contained a derivative but no palm oil or PKO, it also scored two-thirds of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'.

 

 

 

Island Bakery

 

Island Bakery was not a member of the RSPO, and did not respond to our questionnaire. When the company responded to a previous questionnaire in 2013, it did use palm oil in the form of shortening, and labelled it on packaging.

An email received in September 2015 stated that 'Our company, Island Bakery, made a conscious decision to stop using palm oil, and we have not used any in our recipes for about 18 months.'

Full ingredients lists were available on its website, and no PKO or palm derivatives were found. The company would have scored full marks for being palm-free, but no marks were given for group-wide commitment, as the company used palm oil to make biscuits for Against the Grain, who stated 'Against the Grain biscuits are made by Island Bakery Organics'. 

 


 

 

 

Jeyes Group Ltd

 

Jeyes did not respond to our questionnaire, but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 1% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and none of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated'. It also scored 10 marks for group-wide commitments, and disclosure of volumes.

In its ACOP Jeyes stated 'All of our affected raw materials are derivatives. Our supply base is dependent on their feed stocks swapping to a CSPO grade before they are able to offer CSPO grades downstream.' 

'Our raw materials are P(K)O derivatives and our suppliers continue to find it difficult to secure CSPO feed-stock for their production process. Typically they cannot advise on a timeline for CSPO compliance. This has made it difficult to comply with customer demands for CSPO in our sector; however, following significant communication with both our supply base and our customers more realistic expectations are now in place'.

It claimed that it expected to be using 100% RSPO certified palm oil products from 2018. It stated 'We do not intend to make use of the Book & Claim option for own branded products', stating 'we believe it is more important to drive supply chain commitment to a physical sourcing model rather than B&C. However, where our private label customers demand, we are using B&C'.

Jeyes stated 'We are working very hard with our supply base to encourage them to move to CSPO and are likely to be in a position to move to more than 50% of affected raw material volume to CSPO during 2016.'

'Where supply of a CSPO grade has been reported as not possible, or is extremely unlikely in the next 2 years, we are investigating formulating to non-palm alternatives. It is planned that these projects will be delivered during 2016 and will account for a move of more than 10% affected raw material to non-palm alternatives.'

'The first affected raw material to become available as a CSPO grade was during Q4-2014, at a price premium. Our private label products containing this raw material were swapped to this CSPO grade.' 

As a manufacturer for others it also stated 'We have encouraged our customer base to also communicate with our supply base on the need for CSPO graded materials to be made available.'

For its work switching to CSPO and reformulating alternatives, 10 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

 

 

Johnson & Johnson

 

J&J was a member of the RSPO, and did respond to our questionnaire. The company stated 'Due to the complexity of the palm derivatives, the best way currently for us to demonstrate our commitment to sustainable palm oil is to purchase GreenPalm certificates'. According to the figures given in its ACOP, the company would have scored 45% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and none of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'. 

However, J&J also stated in its ACOP 'We have seen that open-market bidding for large numbers of certificates as a cause for slower transitions to physical supply chain options and we remain unable to verify that Greenpalm certificates purchased from the open market are from places that meet our public commitments. We see Book & Claim as a key tool in our engagement programmes with smallholders and smaller farmers - supporting and encouraging RSPO certification regardless of scale. We will buy certificates directly from those we work with through our NGO-led projects. We will no longer buy certificates on the open market; where we cannot guarantee the source nor how the financial incentives are managed. Instead we will direct these resources into supply chain transition plans for MB and SG with our suppliers and increase our activity with NGOs to engage those most in need of financial support - smallholders and smaller plantations'.

In its April 2014 'Responsible Palm Oil Sourcing Criteria' document, J&J stated that it had a 'Healthy Future 2015 goal to source our ingredients derived from palm oil from certified sustainable sources', and that 'We currently address this goal by purchasing GreenPalm certificates to cover 100% of our estimated palm oil usage'. This statement was inconsistent with the figures J&J submitted on its 2014 ACOP which showed only 45% of palm use covered by GreenPalm. 

When asked why only 45% of its palm use was shown to be covered by GreenPalm, when its previous ACOP showed more than double that amount covered, the company replied by email:

 'In 2014, we continued to purchase Greenpalm certificates to cover our palm oil derivatives usage but ceased buying Greenpalm certificates to cover our usage of derivatives from palm kernel oil. We did this because we decided to transition away from purchasing Greenpalm certificates on the open market – to purchasing them directly from smallholders we are working with to meet our more stringent sourcing criteria.'

In a further email asking whether the RSPO recognised these certificates bought directly (rather than through Greenpalm), the company stated:

'All of the certificates we purchase are recognized by RSPO. The value of an Independent Smallholder certificate is determined either in a contract with a group of smallholders (i.e. to pay a certain price for a certain length of time) or informally each year through discussions with smallholder associations and the certificate buyers. Greenpalm reported that average Independent certificate prices in 2015 were $14.28 for palm oil and $30.05 for palm kernel oil – well above the prices of the certificates available on the open market.'

The company was considered to be covering 100% of its estimated palm oil usage through Book & Claim, and therefore scored the full 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified.

 

Positive Initiatives

In its ACOP, J&J stated that its strategy was to 'continue with the phased engagement plan with Oleochemical suppliers. Where materials pass financial viability and business continuity assessments, introduce sustainably sourced derivatives into the supply chains'. 

'Fund specific projects focused on increasing the amount of certified material available in the market through the J&J Palm Oil Fund. The fund was established to support projects on the group to increase the availability of sustainable palm oil and has helped a number of global projects to increase smallholder yields, maximise current land use and support the RSPO standard;

'supporting these suppliers with their supply chain transformation planning, helping them with 

transparency in the supply chain and validation that the oil they are using is coming from sources that meet our public criteria. We work directly with our top suppliers to support on the ground projects to either increase the amount of certified material available, improve farming conditions, conserve areas of high conservation value and support smallholders';

'J&J has Responsible Palm Oil Sourcing Criteria that we apply additionally to our palm and palm kernel derived materials. This criteria takes additional steps, above and beyond the RSPO, to ensure that materials we source for our global usage meets our demands for the conservation of forests, the protection of Free, Prior and Informed consent of local communities and indigenous peoples, and the inclusion and support of smallholders in our supply chains. In order to meet our criteria we must understand where the material in our supply chains is coming from and to that effect we have partnered with The Forest Trust (www.tft-forests.org) to map and understand the complex supply network to our global production sites. We began deploying our criteria to our top suppliers in early 2014 and progress is reported on our corporate website.'

As detail was given of current engagement with suppliers and growers, 10 marks were given for positive initiatives. The company also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitment and disclosure of volumes.

 

Other information

In its ACOP J&J stated 'In a typical J&J product, 30% of the ingredients might be palm-derived'. On its website J&J explained, 'we purchase surfactants, conditioners and emulsifiers that are derived from the class of chemicals called “oleo-chemicals”, some of which are derived from palm oil.'

 

 

 

 

The Jordans & Ryvita Company Ltd
 

The Jordans & Ryvita Company did not respond to our questionnaire but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 100% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks for disclosure of volumes. As Jordan's and Ryvita was a subsidiary of Associated British Foods (ABF), but was reporting only on its own palm usage, no marks were given for group-wide commitment. 

On the Jordans cereals website, it stated 'We are now able to use 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil thanks to the opening of a new palm oil ‘refinery’ in the UK that will only use Certified Sustainable Palm Oil from Papua New Guinea.' 5 marks were given for disclosure of the country of origin.

The company also stated 'We use the absolute minimum amount of palm oil needed to ensure our products stay fresh for the longest possible period of time.'

'As a business that is also committed to supporting wildlife, we share the very real concerns of many environmentalists regarding the ecological consequences of rainforest deforestation for palm oil production. This is a complex issue involving not only the loss of habitat for the Orang-utan and Sumatran tiger, but also the needs of indigenous rural populations and smallholders who, to a large extent, are supported by the palm oil industry.'  

On Ryvita's FAQ's, ,it stated 'The only product in our range which currently contains palm oil is our Multi-Seed Thins. We use a blend of 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil. Our ultimate intention is to remove palm oil altogether from this product in the not too distant future.' As the company worked to minimise its use of palm oil, and sourced it from 100% segregated sources, 10 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 


 


Kellogg's Company
 

Kellog's did not respond to our questionnaire, but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 17% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitment and disclosure of volumes.

 

Positive Initiatives

In its January 2016 Palm Oil Commitment update, the company stated that it's Implementation Plan included 'Requiring our suppliers to trace palm oil to plantations that are independently verified as legally compliant, meet the above principles for protecting forest, peat lands, and human and community rights, and comply with all RSPO principles and criteria. Traceability reviews were completed at year end 2015 with action plans to close gaps currently underway in 2016'.

5 marks were given for positive initiatives for traceability work with its 5 main suppliers, Cargill, Bunge, Sime Darby, ADM, and Loders Croklaan. 5 marks were given for partial disclosure of suppliers.

 

 


 

 

 

Lavera

 

Lavera was not a member of the RSPO and did not respond to our questionnaire. No information was found on Lavera's palm oil policies on its websites, but full ingredients lists were available. These showed use of palm oil derivatives, such as Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, but not palm oil or PKO.

  • A statement attributed to Pravera News from October 2013 was found which appeared to confirm this position:
  • 'we have now reached a complete abandonment of pure palm oil (INCI: Elaeis Guineensis(Palm) Kernel Oil) in the formulations of all lavera products.'
  • 'However, in the field of cosmetics it is not possible, at the moment to completely work without raw materials originating from Palm Oil.' 
  • 'Of course, we continuously research for alternatives, but up to now, no manufacturers of suitable raw materials for our formulas exist.' 
  • 'Therefore, we are currently not able to completely replace the derivatives of Palm Oil.' 

 

As the company had specifically ceased using palm oil and PKO, it received two-thirds of the marks available for usage, as well as 10 marks for group-wide commitment.

 

 

 

 

Lilly's Eco Clean

 

Lilly's was not a member of the RSPO, and did not respond to our questionnaire. The company had responded to a previous questionnaire in March 2014, stating that it did not use palm oil or PKO, but did use derivatives. It then stated by email 'It has just become available recently to purchase certified sustainable palm oil derivatives, so we can now purchase 100% sustainable'. It was not clear from its website at the time of this research whether it currently did purchase certified palm derivatives.

Lilly's' website presented ingredients lists, most of which explained where ingredients were derived from, eg *derived from coconut, wheat & sugar compounds:

>30%water, <5% anionic surfactants*, <5% non-ionic surfactants*,<5% amphoteric surfactants*, vinegar, table salt, citric acid, orange essential oil, preservative, plant extracts 

However, the laundry liquids did not explain the sources of the surfactants, and also included propylene glycol which can be palm-derived:

>30% Water, 5–15% Anionic Surfacants and Non-Ionic Surfacants, < 5% Soap, Sodium Citrate, Propylene Glycol, Naturally Derived Ethanol, Table Salt, Aloe Barbadensis, Natural Essential Oils (Limonene , Linalool, Citral, Geranoil). Preservative (Chloromethylisothiazolone (and) Methylisothiazolinone (0.01%)). 

The company was emailed again to check the source of these ingredients. In the absence of a response, the company scored two-thirds of the 60 marks available for usage as it did not use palm oil or PKO, as well as 10 marks for group-wide commitment.

 

 

 

 

Little Satsuma
 

Little Satsuma were not members of the RSPO and did not respond to our questionnaire. At the top of its website the company stated that it was 'palm-oil free', and also that 'We made one of the first ranges of Palm Oil-free Soap in the UK back in 2004, and are proud to have helped encourage other makers to change away from Palm Oil '. 

The website did not explicitly state that the company was also free of PKO or palm derivatives, but full ingredients lists were available, and no palm products were found. The company was assumed to be palm-free and therefore scored full marks.

 

 

 

 

Logocos Naturkosmetic
 

Logocos Naturkosmetic was not a member of the RSPO and did not respond to our questionnaire. A web search found a statement dated June 2015 from the company's scientific director, Heinz-Jürgen Weiland, 'For all LOGOCOS products, only palm oil from organic cultivation certified by Ecocert is used. The oil palm plantations in question are subject to an afforestation scheme, and the strongly criticized clearance of rain forest is not a part of this project'.

The company was said to be a member of FONAP, The Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil, which is a consortium of companies, associations and non-government organizations. The aim of the members was to secure palm oil that is 100 per cent from certified sustainable sources for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 

It appeared that the company currently was unable to ensure all PKO and palm derivatives were also certified, as it stated it wished to 'play a part in the process of ensuring that palm and palm kernel oil are available in sufficient quantities as approved sustainable raw materials in future. What’s more, LOGOCOS also wants to raise the issue of the derivates manufactured from palm oil – in this area, one company alone cannot exert enough influence on the oil suppliers.'

For the organic palm oil, the company scored one-third of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and one-third of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'. It also scored 10 marks for group-wide commitments. 5 marks were given for positive initiatives for sourcing organic palm oil.

 

 

 

The London Oil Refining Company

 

The London Oil Refining Company was not a member of the RSPO, and did not respond to our questionnaire. Ingredients lists were available on its website which contained various ingredients that could be palm-derived, eg sodium lauryl sulfate, glycerin, sodium laureth sulfate.

No information on palm oil policy was found. A FAQ response was found which stated 'We do not procure or use crude palm oil or palm kernel oil in any of our Astonish cleaning products. We have no plans to use either of these materials in the future!

 

Many soaps and active ingredients in detergents (also known as surfactants) are derived from palm oil and palm kernel oil. They are often used interchangeably with other plant derived materials (based on rapeseed or coconut oils) or synthetic materials, We do use some of these derivatives in 3 products, (stain remover bar, Oven and cookware paste and the pro paste).

As the company used palm derivatives but showed no evidence of commitment to source certified products, it scored zero.

 

 

 

L'Oreal

 

L'Oreal did not respond to our questionnaire, but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and less than 1% of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitment and disclosure of volumes.

 

Positive Initiatives

In its ACOP L'Oreal stated 'by 2015, 100% Palm oil and major palm derivatives should come from known sources. To reach its 2015 target (first step towards sustainability and zero deforestation commitment), L’Oreal engaged, with the support of an independent third-party, in an in-depth investigation of its palm and palm kernel oil (PO/PKO) based derivatives supply chains', and 'This first wave of investigation conducted in 2014 with the scope of L’Oreal top 12 suppliers demonstrates that achieving transparency in the PO/PKO based derivatives supply chain is very complex but possible for this commodity bought and sold in a very competitive environment. In this context, L’Oreal decided to overcome the business relationship and create an innovative business model based on a collaborative approach and will launch in 2015 a second wave of investigation with the remaining suppliers.'

As details were given of traceability work with suppliers 5 marks were given for positive initiatives. 5 marks were also given for disclosure of some suppliers; Clariant, Global Amines and Wilmar. 

 

Other information

In its ACOP the company stated 'The specificity of the cosmetics industry is to use palm and palm kernel oil based derivatives. From these two oils, after several steps of chemical transformation, we obtain: glycerol, fatty acids and fatty alcohols… depending on their moisturizing properties (glycerin), foaming, cleaning (Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocoetaine), stabilizing, emollient (isopropyl palmitate), pearlizer (glycol distearate) properties... that finally enter in more than 80% of our products.'

 

 

 

Lotte (Guylian)

 

Lotte did not respond to our questionnaire. In previous research by Ethical Consumer it was noted that Chocolaterie Guylian NV had been an RSPO member since March 2012 but was yet to submit an ACOP. At the time of this research the company was no longer an RSPO member.

Lotte Confectionary, described by the Lotte Group as its parent company, and by Guylian as the publicly listed subsidiary of the Lotte Group, acquired Chocolaterie Guylian in 2008. Lotte International Co., Ltd, the Supply Chain Management (SCM) Solution Provider of the Lotte Group, had become an RSPO member in May 2015, as a Processor/Trader. No ACOPs were yet available.

On its website in a section titled 'Guylian supports the production of sustainable palm oil', the company stated:

'GreenPalm is a certificate trading programme which is designed to tackle the environmental and social problems created by the production of palm oil. 

This means that for every ton of palm oil we use in the production of our products, we have paid a voluntary premium to a palm oil producer which is operating within the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s (RSPO) strict guidelines for social and environmental responsibility.

More than 80% of all Guylian chocolates produced and sold are Guylian Belgian Chocolate Sea Shells, made with premium Belgian chocolate with 100% cocoa butter and filled with our signature Hazelnut Praliné, that DO NOT CONTAIN ANY VEGETABLE FATS, other than cocoa butter.

Guylian chocolate Sea Shells do not contain palm oil. 

Guylian has only a small number of Chocolate Truffle products that contain sustainable GreenPalm oil.'

This final sentence was misleading as palm oil used and offset by the Green Palm mechanism is not certified 'sustainable' in itself.

Guylian did not make clear whether or not it used any palm kernel oil or palm derivatives. Therefore two-thirds of the marks for certified palm were deducted. 5 marks were given for positive initiatives to reflect the recent joining of the RSPO by Lotte International.

 

 

 

Lush

 

Lush was not a member of the RSPO and did not respond to our questionnaire. Its Ethical Buying Policy was viewed on its UK website, which listed 'removing Palm oil from our products' as one of its achievements. 

The removing of palm oil is said to have happened in 2009. However, many references were found to Lush using palm derivatives, as well as various criticisms from customers who felt Lush had been misleading. 

Statements from Lush (undated) were found which claimed it was aiming to replace all palm derived ingredients:

'Our end goal is to remove palm oil from all of our products, and we are currently investigating our surfactants which might be palm oil derived.' 'The sodium lauryl sulfate that we use is derived from coconut and/or palm kernel oil' 'The logical next step is to develop our own surfactant that is totally palm-free'

Although it had removed palm oil in 2009, the company was still struggling to source palm-free derivatives in 2015:

'We still struggle to find suppliers for surfactants where palm can still potentially be a source material - it’s very difficult for us to find the true origin of these materials.' 

Ingredients lists were available for each product, and no palm oil or PKO was found. As the company had specifically ceased using palm oil and PKO, it received two-thirds of the marks available for usage. 

 

 


 

 

 

Marks and Spencer plc

 

M&S did not respond to our questionnaire but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 48% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitments and disclosure of volumes. It scored none of the 10 marks available for disclosure of suppliers.

 

Positive initiatives

In its ACOP M&S stated 'M&S WILL CONTINUE TO WORK WITH SUPPLIERS TO ACHIEVE 100% PHYSICAL RSPO'. However, as details of the engagement were not provided, no marks were given here for positive initiatives.

 

Other information

On its website, M&S stated 'By 2015, we aim to source palm oil, soy, coffee, cocoa and Brazilian beef from locations that don’t contribute to further deforestation.

The *3,103 tonnes of palm oil we used this year was all Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified, 82% was a mix of segregated and mass balance (last year: 63%), with the remaining *18% being covered by the purchase of GreenPalm certificates to encourage the transition to sustainable supplies.'

 

 

 

Mars Incorporated

 

Mars did not respond to our questionnaire but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and none of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitments and disclosure of volumes. 

On its website, Mars stated 'We work closely with suppliers like ADM, Cargill, IOI Loders Croklaan and Wilmar to maintain 100% RSPO-certified palm oil and improve traceability in the supply chain.' 5 marks were given for limited disclosure of suppliers.

 

Positive Initiatives

In its ACOP Mars stated 'Our focus for the remainder of 2015 is to support our suppliers to perform field assessments at a number of mills, to gain greater traceability to the plantations and farms they source from.' More details were found in Mars' October update, which stated that work was underway on 'five field assessments for mills supplying a Wilmar palm oil refinery in Malaysia'. For this traceability work, 5 marks were given for positive initiatives. Mars also stated 'We are working closely with tier-1 suppliers in China and India, where supply chains are particularly complex. Our next update will include an update on our progress.'

 

Other information

Mars also stated in its ACOP 'We believe that the availability of CSPO has been hampered by the cost and complexity for producers of fully segregating CSPO from conventional palm oil supplies. Low availability has led to poor demand, creating a vicious circle. However, allowing producers to mix CSPO with conventional palm oil during transportation, processing and packaging via mass balance is increasing the availability of CSPO, speeding progress toward a sustainable supply and stimulating demand.'

 

 

 

McBride plc

 

McBride did not respond to our questionnaire, but was a member of the RSPO. McBride did not give any figures in its ACOP so no marks could be given for 'Proportion RSPO certified or organic or not used', or for disclosure of volumes. It stated 'Over 95% of our business is Private Label and 3rd Party Brand manufacture. This is our main activity. Our business focus on CSPO is limited to our Private Label and 3rd Party Brand manufacture only.' Therefore marks for group-wide commitment were not given.

'We have implemented a system to identify where PO/PKO is used as derivatives in our ingredients. We aimed to purchase our first deliveries of segregated CSPO derivatives in 2015 but achieved this ahead of plan during 2014. We aim to consume in excess of 500 mT segregated PKO equivalent in the form of derivatives.' 5 marks were given for positive initiatives for the company's work in parts of its supply chain, but no marks for proportion segregated as current volumes were not given.

'There is not availability of the majority of ingredients used in our products with only CSPO. We will continue to work with our supplier base and our customers to promote the use of CSPO and encouraging our suppliers to provide CSPO alternatives.'

'We need the action of the chemical industry to make a step change in the conversion to mass balance and segregated based raw materials. Where CSPO grades are available the cost differential makes their promotion and use challenging.'

On page 18 of its 2014 Sustainability Report, McBride explained that for its customers who required it, it used the Mass Balance or Book & Claim mechanisms, stating 'We have for some years complied with the Green Palm system within which we declare the annual amount of PO/PKO used for certain customers, then purchase certificates that offset this usage':

 As the company appeared to only make an effort to use certified oil when requested by customers, it was not felt to be making a substantial commitment. McBride therefore only scored the 5 marks for positive initiatives for the limited effort it made in part of its supply chain.

 

 


Method

 

Method was an American brand related to Ecover, who had responded to our questionnaire with information relating to both brands. As Ecover provided figures for 100% of palm derivatives used by both companies being covered by Green Palm, Ecover's scores were also applied to Method.

 

 

 

Molton Brown (KAO Corporation)

 

Molton Brown did not respond to our questionnaire, but its parent company KAO Corporation was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 25% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and none of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitment and disclosure of volumes.

 

Positive Initiatives

In its ACOP, KAO Corporation had a weblink to its Procurement Guidelines which listed a number of Objectives and Principles for Action. As it was not clear that any action was currently underway, no marks were given for positive initiatives. 

In contrast to information given during previous Ethical Consumer research in 2013, Molton Brown did use palm oil, stating on its website 'Discover fine quality soap cleanse bars for hands, face and body made from pure palm oils and dairy milk.'

 

 

 

Mondelez International Inc
 

Mondelez did not respond to our questionnaire but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 94% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 11% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks for group-wide commitments. It scored none of the 10 marks available for disclosure of suppliers.

In its ACOP Mondelez stated 'relative to question 2.1: Volumes for CPO and PKO include derivatives'. As volumes for derivatives were not given separately Mondelez only scored two-thirds of the 10 marks available for disclosure of volumes.

 

Positive initiatives

On its website Mondelez stated that in 2014 it had undertaken a 'Sustainability capability assessment', and 'asked suppliers to complete a detailed assessment of their sustainability policies and implementation'. Under ongoing activities it included 'follow-up questions from the capability assessment'. By the end of 2015 it said it required 'Suppliers’ in-bound oil to be 100% traceable to the mill level', and 'Suppliers to have published policy to address: 

  • MDLZ principles
  • verification and reporting procedures 
  • group and joint-venture operations, suppliers and oil traded on the open market.

 

We require all suppliers to be able to demonstrate policy implementation by year-end 2015, or to have time-bound plans in place.' 10 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

 

 

Montezumas Direct Ltd

 

Montezumas was not a member of the RSPO, and did not respond to our questionnaire. No information was found on its palm policy on its website. However, full ingredients lists were available and organic palm oil was found listed as an ingredient. No PKO or likely derivatives were found. Therefore the company scored the full 60 marks for usage, as well as 10 marks for positive initiatives for sourcing only organic palm oil, and 10 marks for group-wide commitment.

 

 

 

WM Morrison supermarkets plc

 

Morrisons did not respond to our questionnaire but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 93% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 22% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It scored none of the 10 marks available for disclosure of suppliers.

In its ACOP Morrisons stated 'Data in 2.2 and 2.3 is taken from a selection of suppliers who responded to our June 2015 survey.' As these answers were supposed to cover Morrisons' global use of palm, it did not score 10 marks for group-wide commitment, or disclosure of volumes. It also lost 5 marks for incompleteness.

 

Positive initiatives

Morrisons stated 'We continue to regularly survey our suppliers to ensure they are compliant with our palm oil sourcing policy and are sourcing from certified sustainable sources. We will be providing additional support and guidance to our suppliers to ensure compliance towards our end of 2015 target.' As detail was given of limited engagement with suppliers, 5 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

Other information

On its website Morrisons stated 'We are making steady progress towards our target for full segregation or mass balance by 2015 and adopting this position allows suppliers to manage costs, change their suppliers where necessary and ensure compliance with the appropriate certification regime.'

 

 


 

 

 

Nairns Oatcakes
 

Nairns Oatcakes was a member of the RSPO, but did not appear to have submitted an ACOP since 2012, and did not respond to our questionnaire. The company stated on its website 'Naturally, we insist that our palm fruit oil comes from sustainable sources and, in support of this, we are proud to say that we’re now members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).'

'Strict audits and checks are completed before any oil gets the RSPO’s seal of approval and we are happy to comply with the required supply chain systems.'

In July 2015 the company had supplied Ethical Consumer with a copy of its RSPO Supply Chain certificate, valid until August 2017, which stated that the company was certified to manufacture oatcakes and biscuits with RSPO certified segregated palm oil. 10 marks were given for group-wide commitment, but 5 marks were also deducted for incomplete information as no ACOP was available. As the company sourced some organic palm oil for its oatcakes, 5 marks were given for positive initiatives.

A product was also found on the company's website which included an ingredient that could be derived from palm oil, Glycerol Monostearate. The company was contacted to confirm whether this was palm derived, and if so whether it was RSPO certified. Nairns replied stating that 'the Glycerol Monostearate is not palm derived, it’s from Rapeseed.'

 

 

 

Neals Yard Remedies

 

Neals Yard was not a member of the RSPO, but did respond to our questionnaire. The company stated that 'From 2016, 100% of the palm used to manufacture our soaps is certified organic'. Two lines of soap had been discontinued (though still available while stocks lasted) – Neem soap, which contained palm which was 'sustainably harvested from mature wild-growing trees', and Close Shave Soap, which used uncertified oil from Indonesia, Malaysia, Colombia, Brazil, New Guinea and New Britain. As these products were no longer being purchased by the company, they were not included in the ranking. 

Neals Yard stated that in 2016, its organic milled soaps would be switching to a palm-free base. It also stated 'In 2013 we successfully changed all our glycerin (both organic and non-organic) to palm-free, amounting to an annual usage of around 12 tonnes of material no longer sourced from palm. Following this development, we then worked with another supplier to custom make an extract of picea abies especially for us using palm-free glycerin. We have also sourced a specific emulsifier (Glyceryl Stearate Citrate) in its palm-free form at additional expense to the industry standard version.' For these measures 10 marks were given for positive initiatives.

Neals Yard stated 'We are also constantly reviewing our existing product range and working to remove palm oil / palm kernel oil / palm derivatives wherever possible', but also 'Unfortunately, as of today, it is not possible to manufacture a complex range of cosmetic products (skin-care, toiletries, make-up) that is 100% palm derivative free.' 

Neals Yard also stated 'Soap bars are the only products in our portfolio where CPO/PKO are used as ingredients as such', and that in those soaps, only 'RSPO Certified Organic Palm Oil' and 'RSPO Certified Organic Palm Kernel Oil' were used. As all its use of CPO/PKO was RSPO and organic certified, the company scored two-thirds of the 60 marks available for certified and segregated use, as well as 10 marks for group-wide commitment. 5 marks were given for disclosure of some suppliers, and two-thirds of the 10 marks available for disclosure of volumes as the company was not able to give an estimation of volumes of derivatives.

 

 

 

Nestlé S.A.
 

Nestlé did not respond to our questionnaire but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 30% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks for group-wide commitments. It scored none of the 10 marks available for disclosure of suppliers.

In its ACOP the figures for amounts of crude/refined palm oil certified by different RSPO mechanisms were combined with the amounts of kernel oil and derivatives certified. Marks were not deducted for incompleteness as the total amounts certified by each mechanism were given. One third of the marks for disclosure of volumes was deducted.

 

Positive initiatives

Nestlé stated 'we have set targets (see Q3.7) to continuously increase the share of palm oil sourced from plantations that are compliant with the Nestlé Responsible Sourcing Guideline'. This included standards that went beyond those of the RSPO, 'additional requirements on peatlands and high carbon stock forests that we verify separately with the help of our partner, The Forest Trust'.

It stated:

'Our actions focus on the establishment of traceable supply chains and on the systematic identification and exclusion of companies managing plantations linked to deforestation.' 'Nestlé works progressively towards mapping the palm oil supply chain back to mill and plantation'. 'Our process of working towards more sustainable practices leads to operational challenges in finding compliant suppliers. We tackle this through supplier training and support'. 

In its 'Palm oil progress report 2014' Nestlé stated that it created a Traceability Declaration Document system, which feeds into a process of assessments against its RSG. 'The aim of these assessments is to engage mills and oil palm growers to understand their practices and provide practical inputs to allow growers to strengthen policies, systems, and practices against our RSG.'

As detail was given of engagement with suppliers, including requirements beyond RSPO standards, exclusion of companies and traceability, assessments and inputs for growers, 10 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

Misleading statement

Nestlé claimed to have used '100% sustainable palm oil since September 2013'. This was misleading as although its ACOP figures showed 100% of palm usage to be certified, only 29% was segregated, or actual certified 'sustainable' oil, the rest being covered by Book & Claim. 

 


 

 

 

Odylique (Essential Care (Organics) Ltd)

 

Essential Care was not a member of the RSPO and did not respond to our questionnaire.

On its website, the company stated 'Having been asked recently if Essential Care uses palm oil (an emphatic no!) we thought we’d explain why we don’t use it.…'

'In skincare, even if palm oil doesn’t appear on the label’s INCI list - as “Elaeis Guineensis Oil” or “sodium palmate” – the form used in soap bars – it might still be hidden in the product. Palm oil is commonly used to make emulsifiers (like stearic acid) and detergents (like sodium laureth sulphate). - We don’t use either of these and make sure none of our other ingredients are derived from palm oil either.'

The company therefore scored the full 100 marks as it was palm-free.

 

 

 

Ozkleen

 

Ozkleen was not a member of the RSPO, but responded to our questionnaire with a statement by email 'We do not use any palm oil in our products'. However, when asked twice to clarify whether it used any palm derivatives, there was no response. No ingredients information or palm policy was available on its website. In line with other cleaning companies, it was assumed likely to be using palm derivatives. As it made no clear statement to the contrary it scored zero.

 


 

 

 

 

PepsiCo 
 

Pepsi was a member of the RSPO, and responded to our questionnaire by directing us to its ACOP and website. The company scored 18% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, but one third of these marks were deducted (see next paragraph). It scored none of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It did not score 10 marks for group-wide commitments, as according to the SumofUs website its palm oil policy did 'not cover PepsiCo's business partner in Indonesia, Indofood, which produces all of PepsiCo's products in Southeast Asia.' 

 

In its ACOP Pepsi stated 'This commitment applies to palm and palm kernel oil that we use globally, including our global palm oil supply chain network, from direct suppliers to raw material sources. In addition, PepsiCo understands that palm oil derivatives may be used in limited amounts in certain ingredients procured for use in our products. While these derivatives represent a very small portion of our total palm oil supply, where we know they are used, we will apply the principles of this commitment. In addition, we will ask our suppliers to identify the use of derivatives in our ingredients as we continue to address the vast majority of our palm oil use through palm oil and palm kernel oil.'

As PepsiCo knew it used some palm derivatives, but gave no figures for their amount or a certification mechanism, one third of the 40 marks for usage, and one third of the 10 marks for disclosure of volumes were deducted.

5 marks were given for partial disclosure of suppliers, as Pepsi disclosed its main palm oil suppliers, Oleofinos, Aarhus and Wilmar. 

 

Positive initiatives

PepsiCo stated that it would:

  • 'Actively risk assess our global palm oil suppliers and source countries and engage with those suppliers operating in high-risk regions to carry out on-the-ground assessments of management activities;
  • In instances of non-compliance, proactively work with suppliers, and in rare circumstances when corrective action plans are not implemented, terminate the relationship with the supplier;
  • Develop a publicly available action plan, including indicators to track our progress and report on our performance against this commitment.'

 

It also stated that in the coming year 'PepsiCo will be:

  • Communicating to all suppliers that they must be ordinary and active members of the RSPO in order to be considered as suppliers for 2016 and beyond.
  • Engaging our suppliers to map their supply chains to the mills of origin in order to ensure that the palm oil we receive comes from responsible and sustainable sources and is also in compliance with the PepsiCo Forestry Stewardship Policy and the PepsiCo Land Use Policy.
  • Verifying and auditing the supply chains that were previously mapped.

 

Furthermore it stated 'Beyond the policies we’ve established, we are committed to implementing a third-party audit program, based on available and accepted standards, of the social, environmental and human rights aspects of our palm oil supply chain in Mexico by the end of 2016, or sooner if deemed possible. The assessments will include impacts related to land rights and will be conducted with the participation of affected communities. PepsiCo will provide a public summary of critical findings, including the methodology used for each assessment, and ensure appropriate discussions with relevant stakeholders.'

As it was not clear if any of this work was underway, no marks were given here for positive initiatives.

 

Pepsi published an Action Plan in October 2015, which included mention of 'Working with a credible third party (ProForest) to develop an auditing process; protocol will stress PepsiCo commitments on HCS[high carbon stock], HCV[high conservation value], peat lands, land rights, including FPIC [free prior and informed consent]'. In its email responding to our questionnaire Pepsi stated 'we are working with Proforest and our suppliers to develop supply chain maps to the mills. We will then undertake assessments of environmental and social risks around the mill locations, in order to identify potential risks and prioritize action.'

As detail was given of current work towards engagement, 5 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

 

 

Plamil Ltd
 

Plamil was not a member of the RSPO, and did not respond to our questionnaire. On its website Plamil stated 'Palm Oil;-Plamil acknowledges that the farming of this ingredient, which is used only in our range of Organic Chocolate Spreads, has been associated with certain environmental impacts.'

'The palm oil supplier used by Plamil has provided the company with documented assurance that the palm oil Plamil buys is sourced from [a non-Asian] organic and sustainable RSPO supply chain that has been independently audited.'

Full ingredients lists were available, and no PKO or derivatives were found. As the palm oil used was organic, and it was understood not to use other palm products, the company scored the full 60 marks for usage, as well as 10 marks each for group-wide commitments and positive initiatives for sourcing organic palm oil. 

 

 

 

Premier Foods Group Limited
 

Premier Foods did not respond to our questionnaire but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 56% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitments and disclosure of volumes. It scored none of the 10 marks available for disclosure of suppliers or positive initiatives.


Other information:

In its ACOP Premier Foods outlined progress it had made beyond using the Book & Claim (Greenpalm) mechanism:

'2010: 100% palm oil through Green Palm certificates.

2011: Started sourcing 25% palm oil through physically sustainable palm oil, remainder through Green Palm

2012: Increased to 45% palm oil through physically sustainable palm oil, remainder through Green Palm

2013: Increased to 65% palm oil through physically sustainable palm oil, remainder through Green Palm

2014: Increased to 100% palm oil through physically sustainable palm oil.

2015 and onwards: To continue to source 100% palm oil through physically sustainable palm oil'.

Premier Foods made no mention of a goal to shifting more towards segregated sources.

 

 

 

P&G (Procter & Gamble)

 

P&G did not respond to our questionnaire, but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 47% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 10% of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitment and disclosure of volumes.

 

Positive Initiatives

In its ACOP P&G stated it had a 'Plan to have 100% Mass Balance with traceability for Palm Oil by Dec'2015, traceability to plantation by 2020. Plan to have 100% traceability for PKO to Kernel Crushing Plant by Dec'2015, traceability to plantation by 2020.'

'P&G will continue to work with the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation (MISI) to understand the complex small-farmer network in our supply chain and how best to help local smallholders to improve their productivity and practices.'

'P&G is actively working with our palm suppliers to establish and execute action plan to meet our no-deforestation commitments in which RSPO P&C is one of the requirements.'

As it was not clear what work was actually underway no marks were given here for positive initiatives.

On page 44 of its 2015 Sustainability Report P&G gave more detail of its work on traceability and with smallholders, stating that 'As of June 30, 2015, 89% of our PO and PKO volume was tracked to the PO mill and PKO mill level', and 'Via the project with MISI, we made significant progress on tracking the large independent smallholder network and enabling the design of pilot programs to develop group management models to improve and maintain smallholders’ practices and productivity'. 5 marks were given for positive initiatives for work towards engagement.

 

Other information

On its website, P&G stated 'We are committed to no deforestation in our sourcing of palm oil, palm kernel oil and derivatives.'

 

 

 

Pure Nuff Stuff

 

Pure Nuff Stuff was not a member of the RSPO, and did not respond to our questionnaire. No information on palm policy was found on the company's website. In a response to Ethical Consumer in 2013 the company stated that it did not use any palm products. It was assumed this was still the case and the company scored full marks for being palm-free.

 

 

 

PZ Cussons Plc
 

PZ Cussons did not respond to our questionnaire, but was a member of the RSPO. However, no ACOP was available for 2014. 2013-14 figures were entered into the spreadsheet and 5 marks were deducted for an incomplete ACOP. The company scored 40% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and none of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'. It also scored 10 marks for group-wide commitment.

 

Positive Initiatives

PZ Cussons had published an update to its  'Palm Oil Promise', following a meeting of its Palm Oil Advisory Panel in February 2015 which stated 'In 2015, working with The Forest Trust (TFT), we mapped 88% of our supply back to refinery level and traced 75% back to the mill.' As detail was given of work towards engagement for improvements, 5 marks were given for positive initiatives. The update also outlined plans for a 'four-year smallholder programme to help enable better outcomes for farmers, the supply chain and the environment.' However, it was not clear whether work had begun. 
 

Other information

Reports were found about a joint PZ Cussons and Wilmar venture in Nigeria. PZ-Wilmar JV aimed to grow 50,000 hectares of oil palm, and had 'acquired over 26,000 hectares of plantation land in four estates in Cross River state much of which was previously State-owned plantation land which was abandoned for years to become thick forest'.

 

 

 

 


 

 

Revlon / McAndrews & Forbes

 

Neither Revlon nor McAndrews & Forbes were a member of the RSPO and did not respond to our questionnaire. No palm oil policy or ingredients lists could be found on Revlon's websites, www.revlon.com, www.revlon.co.uk, www.almay.com. As palm derivatives were widely used in the cosmetics industry, and in the absence of a clear statement to the contrary, it was assumed that Revlon did use them but showed no evidence of a responsible palm policy and therefore scored zero.

 

 

 

Reckitt Benckiser PLC 
 

RB did not respond to our questionnaire, but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and none of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitment and disclosure of volumes.

 

Positive Initiatives

In its ACOP RB stated 'Working with TFT, we have undertaken a detailed review of our physical palm oil supply chain. As part of this work, we’ve achieved traceability to refinery for 100% of our palm volumes (excluding surfactants) and we also completed a pilot risk assessment for one of our key suppliers. Following on from this, our next steps are to:

Work with palm oil suppliers to trace palm oil back to mills by end 2015;

Roll out supplier assessments to our key palm oil suppliers by end 2015; and

work with TFT to define and implement next steps (including defining the timeline for full compliance) following completion of risk assessments by end 2015.'

 

No further information was available from the RB website

As some detail was given of traceability work that had been done, but it was not clear if the next steps were currently underway, only 5 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

 

 

Rimmel / Coty

 

Neither Rimmel nor Coty was a member of the RSPO and Rimmel did not respond to our enquiries about the questionnaire.

No palm oil policy or ingredients lists could be found on Rimmel's or Coty's websites. As palm derivatives were widely used in the cosmetics industry, and in the absence of a clear statement to the contrary, it was assumed that Rimmel and Coty did use them but showed no evidence of a responsible palm policy and therefore scored zero.

 

 


 

 

 

Sainsburys Supermarket Limited
 

Sainsburys did respond to our questionnaire, and was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 59% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitments and disclosure of volumes. It scored none of the 10 marks available for disclosure of suppliers.

 

Positive initiatives

Sainsburys stated in its ACOP 'We are working to ensure our remaining volume of palm oil which is not yet certified sustainable (as mass balance or segregated) is converted in 2015 where sustainable palm derivatives are available on the market. We will continue to work with our suppliers to source sustainable palm oil and continue to provide training where necessary to ensure our suppliers know how to source certified palm oil and how to achieve chain of custody certification.' 

In response to our questionnaire, Sainsburys stated 'we ask our suppliers for information on the palm oil refiners they use in order to support traceability in the supply chain.' As detail was given of limited engagement with suppliers, 5 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

Other information

Sainsburys also stated in its questionnaire response 'Palm derivatives are present in over 1,800 separate own brand products which are manufactured by hundreds of different supplier sites', and 'We were the first British supermarket to identify palm oil rather than ‘vegetable oil’ on the labels of all fresh and chilled food'.

 

Misleading statement

On its website Sainsburys stated '97% of the palm oil used to make our own-brand products is now certified sustainable. This means that every year we buy over 11,000 tonnes of sustainable palm oil that comes from a certified source.' This was misleading as although its ACOP figures showed 100% of palm usage to be certified, only 59% was segregated, or actual certified 'sustainable' oil, the rest being covered by Book & Claim or Mass Balance. 

 

 

 

SC Johnson & Son, Inc

 

SC Johnson did not respond to our questionnaire, but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and none of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitments and disclosure of volumes.

 

Positive Initiatives

In its ACOP, the company stated 'SC Johnson uses relatively small amounts of palm oil, palm kernel oil or derivatives, but we recognize the impact that nonsustainable palm oil production has on the planet and our responsibility to future generations. As a result, we have placed nonsustainable palm oil on our restricted-use-material list for new uses and we are working to eliminate the use of nonsustainable palm oil in SC Johnson products globally as new reformulations occur. Restricted use materials cannot be used in our products or can only be used with approval by senior management with agreed upon exit dates.'


'To achieve these goals, SC Johnson will:

  • Engage suppliers in discussions and review of their palm oil, palm kernel oil or derivatives production and sourcing practices.
  • Suspend or eliminate palm oil purchases from any supplier that it is intentionally contributing to deforestation or the negative environmental or social issues or impacts created by the production of palm oil.
  • Continually review and revise policies and practices to increase supply chain sustainability.

 

'As a member of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), we share their commitment to net-zero deforestation by 2020 through the sustainable sourcing of pulp, paper, packaging and palm oil. We are committed to working with our suppliers, stakeholders and partners to achieve this goal.' The same information was posted on the company website.

As it was not clear what work was currently underway within the company supply chain, but unsustainable palm was on a restricted use list, 5 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

 

 

2 Sisters Food Group (including Fox's)

 

2 Sisters did not respond to our questionnaire, but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 99.9% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 68% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. The company stated that its commitments did not cover its global use of palm oil, and so did not score marks for group-wide commitment. However, it appeared to be presenting global figures for usage and so scored 10 marks for disclosure of volumes.

In its ACOP, 2 Sisters stated its intention to move to fully CSPO: 'We use book and claim for a small amount of palm oil (3 tons or 0.01%) and we have reported a volume of uncertified palm oil as the ingredients that the oil is entrained in come from uncertified sites which use certified ingredients. When these sites gain certification this year we will be at, or very close to,100% certified'. 

 

 

 

Sodasan Wasch-und Reingungs

 

Sodasan was not a member of the RSPO, and did not respond to our questionnaire. On its website, Sodasan had a September 2014 statement from its Managing Director on palm oil. This included 'The largest percentage of palm oil in our products is in the raw materials, particularly in the ... raw soap. However, also the sugar surfactants we use are partly produced of palm oil and up to the present we do not have a serious ecological alternative. At least the palm oil used in this raw material is RSPO certified.' The raw soap was purchased from Daabon in Columbia and was certified organic. 5 marks were given for both disclosure of the main supplier, and for positive initiatives as the main supplier was organic.

Sodasan had responded to a previous questionnaire in March 2014 and stated 'EVERYTIME PALM OIL OR PALM KERNEL OIL IS USED IN OUR PRODUCTS IT IS DERIVED FROM CERTIFIED ORGANIC RECOURCES. IN CASE OF PALM OIL DERIVATES LIKE APG, THE PALM OIL IS FROM RSPO'. It was assumed this was still the case, and so full marks were given for 'Proportion RSPO certified or organic or not used'. Only two-thirds of the 20 marks for proportion segregated were given, as the derivatives were not said to be organic. The company also received 10 marks for group-wide commitment.

 

 

 

Sonett

 

Sonett was not a member of the RSPO, but responded to our questionnaire. Suppliers were disclosed as Care, BASF, and Zschimmer & Schwarz. The company stated 'Derivatives are all RSPO', and 'Soaps are all made from certified organic palm oil'. The full 40 marks were given for 'Proportion RSPO certified or organic or not used', as well as 10 marks each for group-wide commitment and disclosure of suppliers, and 5 marks for positive initiatives for the sourcing of some organic palm products. In a statement supplied in German, the company listed a number of its products which were completely free of palm products.

 

 

 

Soyfoods Ltd

 

Soyfoods were not a member of the RSPO. Ethical Consumer received email responses to our questionnaire which stated 'We use Organic palm oil in our pastry that's supplied by Silbury Marketing', and 'we don't use any derivatives from palm oil'. Silbury organic palm oil is RSPO certified and described on its website as 'Organic, sustainable palm oil (identity preserved)'.

Soyfoods scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 100% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitment, disclosure of suppliers, and positive initiatives for sourcing organic palm oil.

 

 

 

Star Brands

 

Star Brands was a member of the RSPO since 26 January 2015, but had not yet submitted an ACOP. Data sheets with ingredients information were available on the company website.

No palm oil policy was found. In the absence of information and figures, only 5 marks were given for positive initiatives to reflect the recent joining of the RSPO 

 

 

 

Stiletto Foods 
 

Stiletto Foods was not a member of the RSPO, and did not respond to our questionnaire. However, the company did respond by email to a previous questionnaire in 2015, stating '100% RSPO certified oil also covers the use of palm kernel oil', 'We do not use any palm oil derivative ingredients', 'I cannot confirm if the palm oil when used is from “segregated” source'.

The company therefore scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion certified or not used, and none of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. 10 marks were also given for group-wide commitment.

 

 

Suma

 

Suma was not a member of the RSPO, but responded to our questionnaire. Initially, the company stated by email 'We are not able to provide you with a completed questionnaire because we don't hold information in sufficient detail from our suppliers to answer all your questions, but here is some information that I hope you will find useful. We have a range of Suma brand food and non-food products. In the development of all our new products, launched since 2014, one of the first questions we ask is "does it need palm oil in?" We aim to minimise our use of all palm oils, where possible we do not to use Palm Oil as an ingredient e.g new Suma boxed soap range launched 2014.'

'Alternatively, if we and our suppliers feel that there isn't a viable alternative ingredient then we will use certified, sustainable palm oil only e.g. new Suma Organic Spreads, launched Nov 2015 contain RSPO certified, Organic Palm Oil produced from two specific sustainable projects in Brazil and Colombia.'

After being informed that the lack of figures would mean we would be unable to accurately reflect their palm oil practices in this rating, more information was provided. All quantities were supplied as kilograms or litres, which were treated the same. Suma scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportions certified, and 39% of the 20 marks available for proportions segregated.

The company also stated 'We are working with suppliers to eliminate palm oil where possible, and move from mass balance to identity preserved where we can’t remove altogether.' 'We are waiting for some samples of non-organic spreads using shea instead of palm, to see if that can be replaced.' As the company also sourced some organic palm and had developed palm-free alternatives, 10 marks each were given for positive initiatives, and group-wide commitment.

 

 

Superdrug Stores PLC
 

Superdrug was not a member of the RSPO, but did respond to our questionnaire. The company scored 43% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and less than 1% of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'. It also scored 10 marks for group-wide commitment and two-thirds of the marks for disclosure of volumes as it combined figures for palm oil and derivatives.

The company stated that it did use palm oil and derivatives, but not PKO. Details of suppliers were not given in the questionnaire. The company stated 'Suppliers are asked to source Certified Sustainable Materials where these are commercially viable and available. Superdrug is actively monitoring the use of Palm Oil and Derivatives in all Own Brand products.' 

 


 

 

Tesco Stores Ltd
 

Tesco did respond to our questionnaire, and was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 98% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 46% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated.

In its ACOP Tesco stated 'We have not been able to complete our normal full supplier survey in time for this submission because of the changes in our business this year and thus have re- submitted our figures from our 2014 ACOP. It is our intention to complete the full survey.' 10 marks were deducted for incompleteness. Tesco only supplied figures for their stores in the UK and Ireland, and so did not gain 10 marks for group-wide disclosure.

Tesco did respond to our questionnaire, stating 'Please note I've not included our figures as we will soon be carrying out a survey with all our suppliers to understand if we have met our target of 100% sustainable palm oil by end of 2015, and then reporting this to RSPO. At the end of 2014, however, we were at approximately 82% palm oil from Mass Balance or Segregated sources.' As a result, figures were adjusted by moving an amount from the Greenpalm column to Mass Balance, leaving just 18% as Greenpalm. 

Tesco combined figures for volumes of all types of palm ingredients used, and their certification mechanisms. While it mentioned derivatives in its ACOP, and put all figures for usage under 'derivatives', a search on Tesco's online shop revealed that it did also use palm oil and palm kernel oil in own brand products. This was also confirmed in its questionnaire response. Therefore two-thirds of the 10 marks for disclosure of volumes were deducted.

5 marks were given for disclosure of suppliers, as Tesco gave some detail of suppliers in its questionnaire response.

 

Positive Initiatives

In its ACOP Tesco stated 'During the remainder of 2015 we will be continuing to work directly with our suppliers to ensure we meet our committment to 100% certified segregated/mass balance palm oil by the end of the year. This work includes 1:1 meetings with our direct product suppliers, palm oil ingredient suppliers and palm oil producers/refiners.'

On its website Tesco stated 'We have made most progress on palm oil in our UK business and are working to understand the barriers to purchasing sustainable palm oil in our non-UK markets.' 

In its questionnaire response Tesco stated 'We are now working on our palm oil strategy post-2015 and have been involved in discussions on the development of ‘RSPO Next’. We are also looking at how we can support smallholders, who represent a significant proportion (40%) of global palm oil supply. In 2015 we attended the RSPO Roundtable in Malaysia and visited smallholder plantations in Thailand to better understand the role we can play in supporting them.'

As some detail was given of engagement with suppliers in the UK, and of some work towards improving Tesco's global operations, 5 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

Other information

Tesco also stated in its questionnaire response 'Retailers have recently formed a group called 'The Retailer Traceability Group'. As part of this we have met with the large European palm oil refineries to discuss capacity building and traceability within Europe. Tesco have been part of these discussions and meetings.' 

 

 

Thorntons PLC 

 

Thornton's did not respond to our questionnaire, but was a member of the RSPO.  The company had been bought by Ferrero in 2015, but had its own ACOP for 2014. The company scored 35% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and none of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks for disclosure of volumes. 


Other information

Thorntons stated in its ACOP 'The target was to be sourcing certified palm oil for all palm containing ingredients by our audit date of Sept 2014 and subsequent certification thereafter. We are currently at over 99% of our palm usage by volume.' The meaning of this statement was not clear, given that only 35% of Thornton's 2014 palm usage was certified according to its ACOP figures. Perhaps the company had made progress since 2014.

Thorntons stated 'We will need to purchase 2015 certificates to cover the gap from last year'. 

Thornton's also stated 'The bulk products proved to be relatively easy to source, the compound ingredients were more difficult especially with smaller manufacturers, however we worked with the suppliers to find a certified option or remove the palm content'. As no actual examples were given, just 5 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

 

 

Traidcraft
 

Traidcraft did not respond to our questionnaire. Traidcraft was an associate member of the RSPO, and as such not required to submit an ACOP. Ethical Consumer had conducted an interview with Traidcraft's Sourcing Director in 2015, which included the story of how the company brought fair trade palm oil to the UK in 2014. Traidcraft worked with Dr Bronners (a US soap company) and smallholders in central Ghana to develop the supply chain. The product, which it called Fairpalm, was certified organic and Fair For Life by the Institute of Marketecology (IMO), and used in Traidcraft's cookies, chocolate spread and 'Clean and Fair' cleaning range.

The company therefore scored the full 60 marks for usage as all its palm product use was certified organic. It also scored 10 each for group-wide commitment, disclosure of suppliers, and positive initiatives. More information available here.

 

 

 

Tunnock's
 

Tunnocks was not a member of the RSPO, and did not respond to our questionnaire. A blend of palm oil and PKO is used in several of the Tunnock's products, but no palm policy could be found. The company scored zero.

 

Other information:

In November 2015 a petition was launched telling Tunnock's to 'Stop using palm oil in your products, or commit to using "identity preserved" certified palm oil which does not come from deforestation plantations and prove it on your packaging.'

 

 


 

 

Unilever
 

Unilever was a member of the RSPO, and did respond to our questionnaire. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 8% of the 20 marks available for 'proportion segregated or not used'. It also scored 10 marks for group-wide commitments and disclosure of volumes.

 

Positive Initiatives

In its ACOP Unilever listed actions in coming year including:

1) In 2014 Unilever required our palm oil suppliers to provide palm oil traceability information through the Known Sources traceability reporting platform... This requires that our direct suppliers disclose the universe of mills for all the volumes of palm oil received in their processing sites that supply Unilever directly. Unilever requires that our suppliers continue to report traceability information in 2015.

2) Unilever has appointed the consortium of Proforest, Rainforest Alliance, and Daemeter Consulting to implement our Palm Oil Assurance Programme, launched in September 2014. The programme will work with suppliers to develop time-bound plans to achieve sustainability for identified originating CPO mills and plantations or smallholders that need support to achieve RSPO certification.

3) Unilever entered a partnership with the World Resource Institute (WRI) in September 2014, which will focus on the transparency of Unilever's supply base through the Global Forest Watch (GFW) online database. In 2015, the consortium will work with WRI on risk assessment methods to identify deforestation risks that exist in our supply chain. This will enable Unilever to work closely with our suppliers on joint sustainability roadmaps to reduce the risks associated with sourcing palm oil in our supply chain.

4) Unilever has also invested in a fractionation plant in North Sumatra, Indonesia that will require RSPO certified palm kernel oil from RSPO certified plantations and smallholders. The plant will be operational in 2015. In line with the fractionation plant, in 2013 Unilever entered into an MoU partnership with IDH, RSPO, and PT Perkebunan Negara III, which will focus on smallholder sustainability improvements to enable inclusion into the sustainable supply chain. This partnership focuses on increased crop productivity and quality, and access to finance and RSPO certification for smallholders. The partnership will enter a new implementation phase in 2015.

As details were given of ongoing engagement with suppliers, 10 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

Other information

In response to our questionnaire, Unilever stated 'In markets where regulation requires labelling we will label accordingly.' This was understood to mean it did not label palm oil unless legally obliged to. In its ACOP Unilever stated 'At the end of 2014, all the palm oil (PO and PKO) bought for Unilever’s food business in Europe will be RSPO segregated. This will represent approximately 12% of our global palm oil purchases.'

 

More information was available at:

Unilever: Transforming the Palm Oil Industry

Unilever: Palm Oil supply chain

Unilever: Market Transformation in Palm Oil

 

 

United Biscuits (owned by Yildiz Holding)

 

United Biscuits did not respond to our questionnaire but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 78% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. The company stated that its commitments did not cover its global use of palm oil, and so did not score marks for group-wide commitment. However, it appeared to be presenting global figures for usage and so scored 10 marks for disclosure of volumes.

However, the company did state 'During the past 12 months United Biscuits has increased its international presence and as a consequence has expanded its palm oil sourcing policy. We will be sourcing 100% certified sustainable palm oil across our global operations in 2015. During the coming year we will engage with the supply chain of our newly acquired manufacturing sites, communicating our targets and determining the best supply option for achieving our target of a physically sustainable supply chain.'

 

Other information

In its ACOP, UB stated 'United Biscuits has seen increased interest from consumers in relation to our palm oil sourcing policy since the introduction of the new EU labelling legislation in 2014.'

Information about palm oil on its website was confusing. It stated 'UB takes a market leading position in the sourcing of Palm Oil, which comes from certified sustainable plantations and through a segregated supply chain.' It did not mention PKO or derivatives though it used them. It gave the impression all its palm use was segregated though this was assumed to be unlikely given that 22% of the palm products it used in 2014 were not segregated.

 

 

Urtekram Int. A/S
 

Urtekram was an Associate member of the RSPO, and as such had not submitted an ACOP. No information on its palm use or policies could be found on the English version of its website, and it did not respond to our questionnaire.

A comment from Urtekram dated May 2015 was found on facebook which stated:

'First of all please recognise that we have no palm oil in any of our personal care products. Some of the ingredients we use might be originating from palm oil and this is also so for most of our colleagues. If you in any INCI-list find names that contain: “Coco”, “Lauryl”, “stearate”, “cetyl” they might all originate from palm oil. Please understand that several of the washative ingredients and also our emulsifiers can not be bought anywhere with a “palm-free” declaration and a reformulation would be rather costly for us and we would end up with major changes in performance and also price. Several of the major ingredient suppliers are moving towards “segregated RSPO” and due to this fact we will within 1-2 years be able to state that we also are RSPO for our personal care products. Best regards, Urtekram'. 

As the company stated it did not use palm oil, but was open about use of derivatives, it was assumed that it did not use PKO either. The company therefore scored two-thirds of the 60 marks available for proportion not used, and 10 marks for group-wide commitment.

Ingredients lists were available, which showed the use of organic palm oil derivatives, but also non-organic derivatives which may have come from palm oil.

5 marks were given for positive initiatives for sourcing some derivatives organically.

 


 

 

Venture Foods

 

Venture Foods was not a member of the RSPO. Although the website stated 'We are not a large company so please bear with us as we really do care', an email was received from Venture Foods in response to our questionnaire which stated 'This is not something that we can help with, but would like to thank you for your enquiry.'

No information on palm policy was found on the company's website, and ingredients lists were not available. However, as all the company's products on its website were organic, it was assumed it would only use organic palm products and therefore scored the full 60 marks for usage, as well as 10 each for positive initiatives and group-wide commitment.

 

 

 

 

Village Bakery

 

Village Bakery was an Associate member of the RSPO, and as such did not submit an ACOP. The company did not respond to our questionnaire. In October 2014, the company reported that 'Village Bakery is now proud to be a supply-chain member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) showing that we fully support the use of sustainable palm oil.

Having already had a policy in place that saw us using only RSPO certified suppliers when purchasing palm oil, we are now a full member of the RSPO offering our customers and other stakeholders peace of mind that we are committed to the idea of sustainable sourcing.'

10 marks were given for group-wide commitment.

Ingredients lists were available on the company's website, which listed a number of palm ingredients. It was not clear whether these were all certified, or only the straight palm oil. The company was emailed to confirm. The company replied 'We are certified RSPO Mass Balance, this means that all the palm oil, and derivatives we use are checked and processed as RSPO certified.'  The company scored full marks for proportions certified, and none for proportions segregated.

 

 

 

 


 

 

Waitrose Ltd
 

Waitrose did not respond to our questionnaire but was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 79% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitments. It scored none of the 10 marks available for disclosure of suppliers.

In its ACOP Waitrose stated '100% of palm oil and palm kernel oil based ingredients and derivatives used in Waitrose Own Label Products are from RSPO Certified sources deploying all RSPO supply chain Options available.' Although derivatives were mentioned, no figures for volumes used or types of certification were given, so one third of the 10 marks for disclosure of volumes were deducted.

 

Positive initiatives

Waitrose stated 'We had a successful supplier conference in November 2014 where we invited our suppliers to engage with potential suppliers of SG and MB certified Oleo Chemical PO and PKO Based ingredients and derivatives. Our suppliers have identified opportunities to start incorporating physical certified sources as they become available. We are encouraged with recent developments in this area and are confident of further progress during the next 12 months.'

As detail was given of limited engagement with suppliers, 5 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

Misleading statement

On its website Waitrose stated 'the palm oil used to make all our groceries is only from certified sustainable sources.' This was misleading as although its ACOP figures showed 100% of palm usage to be certified, it was 79% that was segregated, or actual certified 'sustainable' oil, the rest being covered by Book & Claim or Mass Balance. Waitrose did make clear however, that they were referring to all palm usage and not just palm fruit oil, stating 'This includes palm oil, palm kernel oil and its derivatives.'

 

 

 

Walkers Shortbread Ltd
 

Walkers Shortbread was a Supply Chain Associate of the RSPO and as such did not report volumes in its 2014 ACOP. However, the company responded to our questionnaire. It scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 95% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitment and disclosure of volumes. As it stated that AAK, Daabon and Silbury were it's suppliers,10 marks were given for disclosure of suppliers.

On its website, Walkers stated 'The Company is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, for sourcing palm oil from sustainable forests. All the Palm Oil Walkers use is certified sustainable and for this reason our products have been recognised by the Rainforest Foundation.'

 

 

 

Wal-mart Stores Inc
 

Wal-Mart forwarded our questionnaire to its UK subsidiary, ASDA. Wal-Mart was a member of the RSPO. The company scored 52% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, but two-thirds of these marks were deducted (see next paragraph). Wal-Mart scored 8% of the 20 marks available for proportion of declared palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks for group-wide commitments. It scored none of the 10 marks available for disclosure of suppliers.

 

In its 2014 ACOP, no figures were given for palm kernel oil or palm derivatives. In Ethical Consumer's previous research Wal-Mart's 2011-12 ACOP was viewed, which referred to 'Palm oil and all palm oil derivatives (including palm kernel oil) ', stating 'It is currently challenging to identify derivatives and palm kernel oil in Walmart’s products.' In 2014, they no longer mention kernel oil or derivatives at all. As these figures were not declared, two thirds of the 40 marks for usage, and two thirds of the 10 marks for disclosure of volumes were deducted.

Information on Wal-marts website also referred only to palm oil and not derivatives:

Global Responsibility report

Policies

 

NB ASDA
 

Asda responded to our questionnaire (which was forwarded to them by Wal-mart) with separate figures for Asda alone. Unlike its parent company Wal-mart, Asda supplied figures for all three types of palm, and did cover all of its palm use with RSPO mechanisms. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 22% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks for group-wide commitments. It scored none of the 10 marks available for disclosure of suppliers. It scored one-third of the 10 marks available for disclosure of volumes as it combined figures for all palm products.
 

Misleading statement

On its website Asda stated 'In 2014 all of the 31,625 tonnes of palm oil used in Asda products was sustainable palm oil from the RSPO scheme. Of this, 6,888 tonnes comes directly from segregated sources, 19,341 comes from mass balance and 5,396 tonnes is covered by GreenPalm certificates.' This was misleading as Greenpalm was included.

 

 

Warburtons Ltd

 

Warburtons did not respondto our questionnaire, but was a member of the RSPO. Warburtons stated that its commitments did not cover its global use of palm oil. The company scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 55% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks for disclosure of volumes.

 

Positive Initiatives

In its ACOP Warburtons outlined actions it would take in the coming year:

  • 'Progress removal of non CSPO (Green palm) based ingredients.
  • Project activity to increase usage of SG based ingredients subject to availability / suitability of alternative ingredients.
  • All activity subject to continued support / commitment from supply base.'
  • As engagements did not sound definite, no marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

Other information

No information on palm oil could be found on the Warburton's website, except that it was listed in ingredients as 'sustainable palm'. A 2012 article was found which commented on Warburton's Corporate Responsibility Review, and stated 'Of the palm oil used by Warburtons, 70 per cent is utilised directly in its baking process. The report showed that, as of 2011, 100 per cent of this was derived from segregated sustainable sources. The remaining 30 per cent consists of palm oil stearin used in added ingredients such as bread improvers and emulsifiers.

“Because this has a very complicated supply chain it is much more difficult to influence,” the report said. “We are trying, nevertheless, and have set a target of achieving 100 per cent sustainable sourcing for palm oil used in added ingredients by 2015.” '

 

 

Weleda
 

Weleda was not a member of the RSPO but did respond to our questionnaire. As the company stated that its pure palm oil used in soaps was 100% Identity Preserved, that it did not use PKO and that 90% of its palm derivatives were RSPO Mass Balance, but did not give volumes, it scored 90% of the 40 marks available for 'Proportion RSPO certified or organic or not used' and two-thirds of the 20 marks available for 'Proportion segregated or not used'. 10 marks were given for group-wide commitment.

Its website was under reconstruction in late February, but when viewed in January 2016, it stated 'we do use a small amount of palm oil in our natural soaps and for the isolation of a fatty acid in our Aloe Vera Lotion. Our palm oil is fairly traded and ethically sourced (from sustainable sources) from managed forests in Columbia, and is certified by Ecocert.' 

Its ingredients information was detailed and listed also a number of palm derivatives:

'Cetearyl alcohol - A vegetable based emulsifying agent and emollient derived from Palm Kernel Oil'

'Weleda purchases Glyceryl linoleate from suppliers who are members of the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil).'

'Palm kernel acid - Weleda isolate this fatty acid from Palm Oil that is sourced in Columbia and is certified by Ecocert.'

'Potassium cocoate / Potassium olivate / Potassium stearate - These substances are the vegetable soap content, the emulsifying and cleansing agent. They are soft soaps made from Coconut Oil / Olive Oil / Palm Oil / Stearic acid (extracted from vegetable oil). The Palm Oil used by Weleda is sourced in Columbia and is certified by Ecocert.'
 

and some derivatives that may come from palm oil:

'Weleda use an Oleic acid derived from vegetable oil, it could be derived from Palm Oil.'

'Stearic acid - This is a naturally occurring fatty acid that acts as a binding agent. Palm Oil could be one of the plant oils that are raw materials for the manufacture of this substance. However, the suppliers we use are members of RSPO'

 

It also listed some derivatives that could come from palm oil but were specified to be from other sources:

'Vegetable glycerol is derived from unspecified vegetable oils excluding Palm Oil and Oleic acid is from Olive Oil.'

'The glycerin used by Weleda is made from vegetable oils other than Palm Oil.'

'The Glyceryl stearate SE used by Weleda is made from vegetable oils other than palm oil.'

For disclosing the origin of its organic palm oil, 5 marks were given. 10 marks were given for positive initiatives for sourcing some palm products organically and transparency of ingredients. 

In its 2014 Annual Report it stated that its goal of 'Fully traceable palm kernel oil supply chain for 85 per cent of the entire range by 2015' had been partially met in 2014.

Also that 'Weleda already only obtains palm oil of the highest quality from a certified organic plantation. By the end of 2015, Piperidis wants to ensure together with her team that palm kernel oil-based raw materials are also only sourced from sustainable supply chains'. In an email response the company stated that it was now having to work to transform the industry to make this goal achievable by 2018.

 

 

 

Wessanen Nederland Holding BV (Royal Wessanen)

 

Wessanen was a member of the RSPO, and Wessanen UK did respond to our questionnaire. Based on its ACOP, Wessanen Nederland scored 100% of the 40 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were certified, and 67% of the 20 marks available for proportion of palm products used that were segregated. It also scored 10 marks each for group-wide commitment and disclosure of volumes. 

Referring to the 2014 ACOP figures in its questionnaire response, Wessanen stated that 'Since these were published we have increased our use of RSPO palm oil in Wessanen UK.' This was understood to mean an increase in sourcing segregated oil rather than using GreenPalm certificates, as it also stated '63% of our Organic products contain Segregated Organic Palm Oil in 2014. This has increased in 2015 to 100%'. It also stated that of its UK brands, Kallo used only certified Mass Balance & Segregated Palm Oil, Whole Earth used only certified Segregated Palm Oil, and Clipper did not use Palm Oil in any recipe.

In its ACOP, Wessanen did not disclose palm usage figures for its private label products (those manufactured for others) - however the company confirmed in its questionnaire response that it did not use palm in those products. It also listed its suppliers, Daabon & Do It for Organic SG Palm Oil, Loaders and Do It BV for Conventional Palm Oil. 10 marks were given for supplier disclosure.

 

In it’s 2015 Supplier Quality Booklet, the Company stated:

'Raw material suppliers (palm oil / palm kernel oil) to our factories will be assessed according to the extra WNF requirements by end 2015 and they will be ask to commit to the extra requirements, if they already do not do so, and within an acceptable period of time (end of 2017 latest):

Immediate disclosure of GHG emissions associated with palm oil;

  • Zero-net land use emissions, which excludes cultivation on peat-soils and clearance of
  • high carbon stock areas for new plantations;
  • Significant GHG emissions reduction for existing plantations and mills;
  • No use of harmful pesticides (WHO Class 1A or 1B, listed by the Stockholm or Rotterdam
  • Conventions) and Paraquat;
  • Only buying Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB) from known and legal sources.'

 

The company also stated that it was substituting palm oil where possible, and would preferably develop new products without palm oil. For these measures, 5 marks were given for positive initiatives.

 

 

 

Biona (Windmill)

 

Windmill was not a member of the RSPO and did not respond to our questionnaire. The company stated on its website, 'All our products are organic'.

No palm policy was found, but full ingredients lists were available and where palm oil was present it was organic and a statement would accompany it, eg 'The Organic Palm fat used in our products comes from sustainable projects in Columbia.'

As the company was transparent about its ingredients, used only organic palm oil and appeared not to use PKO or derivatives, it scored the full 60 marks for usage. It also scored 10 marks for group-wide commitment,10 marks for positive initiatives for sourcing all organic palm oil, and 5 marks for disclosing the country of origin of its palm oil.

 

 

 


 

 

Yaoh

 

Yaoh was not a member of the RSPO and did not respond to our questionnaire. No information was found on its website about its palm oil policy. An information document was downloaded which, in contrast to the 2010 version referred to in previous Ethical Consumer research, no longer stated that the company's products were 'Free from Palm Oil'.

Ingredients lists were available which listed some ingredients that could be palm derived, such as glyceryl stearate, cetearyl glucoside, and vegetable glycerin, but did not list palm oil or PKO. 

The company was emailed again to confirm their palm policy, and replied 'unfortunately our use of these products is so minimal we are unable to trace the source of every ingredient'. In a further phonecall the company stated that it had been in touch with  the manufacturing factory, but due to its size and minimal use of ingredients that may be palm derived, it was not able to guarantee their base material. Yaoh confirmed that it did not use palm oil or PKO, using hemp and coconut oil instead. The company received two-thirds of the 60 marks available for proportions not used, and 10 for group-wide commitment.