Palm oil scoring methodology
To help you select the least destructive products we have produced a palm-oil-specific ranking for biscuit, ice cream and butter and spreads companies. The scores for all the companies in these guides are at the bottom of the page.
See how the companies compare within their product sectors:
These scores take into account, amongst other things, the proportion of a company’s palm oil use that is certified, and whether it has committed to going deforestation- and peat-free.
How companies measure up on palm oil is also reflected in their score on the score tables: those that source uncertified palm oil lose half marks in the Human Rights, Climate Change and Habitats & Resources categories.
How we did it
Information was gathered from publicly available information on company websites and their annual reports to the RSPO, as well as responses to a palm oil questionnaire we sent them.
Companies were scored out of 100 possible points, with those that did not use palm oil or derivatives receiving top marks.
- up to 40 marks were awarded for the proportion of total palm oil ingredients, including derivatives, that were certified to RSPO, organic or Fairtrade standards
- up to 20 for the proportion that was from segregated sources
- 10 for a commitment to source Deforestation- and Peat-Free (DPF) palm oil
- 10 for whether companies' policies and reports covered their global operations
- 10 for whether they disclosed suppliers
- up to 10 for other positive initiatives, such as significant engagement with suppliers to improve conditions in their supply chains
- Companies could also lose up to 10 marks if their reporting was incomplete or inconsistent.
The scores out of 100 were divided by five to give a final score out of 20.
Evolution of the scoring system
A version of this methodology was originally developed for the Rainforest Foundation's Appetite for Destruction campaign.
We have adapted it to reflect recent campaigns pushing companies to go 'beyond RSPO' and commit to deforestation and peat free palm oil.
The DPF marks replace those we previously awarded for a commitment to reduce the use of palm oil. This is in acknowledgement of the fact that an outright boycott of palm oil may result in the problem being shifted rather than solved. See our forums for a discussion on this. Companies that did not use palm oil or derivatives still received a top score.
We have also weighted the scores more heavily in favour of segregated certified supply chains and against the Greenpalm 'book and claim' system and mass balance. This rewards companies that use, rather than just support, palm oil certified as sustainable.
There are no longer 10 points available under positive initiatives for labelling of palm oil on the list of ingredients, as it is compulsory in the EU since December 2014 to label palm oil in food products. However, this legislation does not cover non-food products or derivatives.