Traceability moves: Need for traceability says consultants including PwC; Hershey Announces Results of First Phase of Palm Oil Supply Tracing - TFT traceability; RSPO Traceability Taskforce has IDH who runs Palm Oil Traceability Working Group initiative

24 March feedback from industry specialists: Traceability is being pushed by Wilmar as it shifts stance on RSPO with its TFT-led program. A new Traceability Working Group (includes several plantation companies) is reported as something parallel to the Wilmar efforts. Now, the RSPO has moved on its step up on within certification traceability that was promoted by Unilever at its November annual gathering and accepted by a vote. The stated goal: mills to record the origins of all third-party sourced FFB. This does seem to go beyond the traceable to mill goal to get to traceable to estate.

23 April comments:

The oft cited cautionary note from those in sustainability: "traceability does not equate to sustainability"

Note: There is traceability within RSPO certification and also traceability outside of RSPO certification too. Certification has tended to be more of an exclusive / big boys' game, and traceability hopes to make things more inclusive. The supply-chain cares, but likely consumers are too confused to tell the difference.

What to look out for: The concept of a "supply shed" to gear things more toward the refinery level.

The shift to traceability, background links (and we've added to bottom of this the Wilmar first report on TFT traceability):

26 April 2015: Need for traceability says consultants including PwC

Unlocking Palm Oil’s Potential By Susetyo Priyojati, Moray McLeish & Charles Vincent on 10:32 pm Apr 22, 2015; Palm oil is one of the most important agricultural commodities in Indonesia. It represents the third largest export earnings after oil, gas and coal, contributing $17.7 billion in 2013.
By comparison, textile exports were valued at $12.7 billion in the same year. In addition, between 2010 and 2013, the value of palm oil exports grew at a rate of 14.6 percent per year. Palm oil also provides work opportunities in many rural communities. According to an estimate by the Ministry of Trade, the palm oil sector generates over 15 million jobs in Indonesia which tend to be in  nderdeveloped areas. By comparison, Indonesia’s textile and clothing industry provides some 1.1 million jobs, according to Statistics Indonesia (BPS) as quoted in the Global Business Guide‘s Website....... In 2013, around 40 percent of the land covered in mature, productive plantations was owned and managed by smallholders — up from 28 percent in 2000. This represents a three hundred percent increase in production area during the same period. Moreover, immature (not yet productive) plantations constitute 28 percent of the total plantation area in Indonesia. This indicates high potential growth for palm oil production. ........There are many market-defined issues in the palm oil industry, in particular quality control and the perception of palm oil plantations as a driver of deforestation. Those issues reduce consumer confidence in this remarkable crop commodity, in which Indonesia holds a comparative advantage.......... At the root of those issues is the lack of traceability, that is the ability of palm oil users to trace their palm oil supply all the way to the plantations. A traceability system could help address the issues, by providing information on the sources of oil palm fruits and their farming practices. This information would enable palm oil users to choose deforestation-free suppliers, as well as highlighting potential areas for improvement on farming practices. Comprehensive data collection and analysis is the first step towards improving the quality, image, and competitive positioning of Indonesia’s palm oil in the global market..... Susetyo Priyojati is a consultant, Moray McLeish is a technical adviser in sustainability and climate change practice, and Charles Vincent is president director, all at PwC Consulting Indonesia.

23 April 2015: Hershey Announces Results of First Phase of Palm Oil Supply Tracing  - TFT traceability

Hershey Announces Results of First Phase of Palm Oil Supply Tracing - Initial Mapping Effort is First Step to Validating Responsible Palm Oil Sources, April 21, 2015 10:25 AM Eastern Daylight Time; HERSHEY, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) today announced the results of its first phase in tracing its global palm oil supply chain. Working in partnership with The Forest Trust (TFT), Hershey has traced its supply chain to more than 94 percent of all the mills that supply its palm and palm kernel oil globally.  Key highlights of Hershey’s palm oil tracing:
• More than 1,200 mills supply palm oil to Hershey manufacturing facilities worldwide
• Mills are located in two regions; Southeast Asia (1,235 mills) and Central America (11 mills)
• Palm oil is used in 13 Hershey plants located in three countries: The United States (9 plants), Mexico (2 plants) and China (2 plants) ......

24 March 2015: Taking a step towards FFB traceability and legality by RSPO News, 24 March 2015; The first meeting for RSPO FFB Legality and Traceability Task Force kicked off recently in Jakarta, Indonesia. The newly established task force held a mandate to work towards producing an improved supply chain standard to assure the traceability of robust Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB). The Task force took into account all legal requirements related to the implementation of the new indicator of 4.1.4 in the RSPO Principles & Criteria 2013, where mill(s) shall record the origins of all third-party sourced FFB.........  The meeting was attended by 17 constituent representatives, including Indonesian growers, Malaysian growers, financial institutions, environmental NGOs, IDH and RSPO Secretariat. The task force appointed Sabarinah Marzuky from Sime Darby and Bpk. Agung from WWF Indonesia as Interim Co-Chairs..... The meeting began with a presentation on FFB Trading from a Landscape Perspective conducted by Earth Innovation Institute followed by IDH sharing their experience in managing the Palm Oil Traceability Working Group initiative. The task force’s term of reference was one of the main topics discussed at this first meeting in addition to key activities for 2015, among which will be to pilot and share the approaches for FFB legality issues to wider stakeholders that will complement each other... To complete the structure and continue on this progressive journey, the taskforce agreed to reconvene in April, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

29 January 2015: Wilmar brings change with disclosure of names of suppliers to its refineries and kernel crushing plants via TFT. Includes traceability ratios for each facility covered.
 Comment: Having logged into the Dashboard yesterday, it was interesting to see names of suppliers to each key facility (refineries and palm kernel crushing plants) covered. A snapshot of map also shows the level of detailed attained - GPS location of even individual smallholder suppliers with map boundary of estates supplying to Wilmar (including its own estates and those of large suppliers) - a map example was shown and presumably available to buyers from Wilmar (but without this fine level of detail for public access). I big step up in marketing compliance scrutiny for suppliers of palm oil products with Wilmar pushing with more data. Notably, there is also a grievance process and ultimately a plantation grower has been caught up in it (on Sulawesi estate land clearance) and promising to abandon development (likely to sell off the estate?). In the last year or so, key targets under NGO scrutiny include fast growing plantations in the sub and 100,000 plus hectare or so category. Those with large unplanted land banks may also face very tight scrutiny as (technical) NGOs are keeping a close eye via remote sensing / satellite imagery studies and many RSPO growers have submitted vector boundaries of their concession areas (and more of these are being put on line and available to public scrutiny), aiding this effort. One key website with official RSPO company data included is:

  • Wilmar's supply policy 4Q2014 report here:
  • Wilmar Opens Palm Oil Supply Chain to Scrutiny By Reuters on 08:54 pm Jan 22, 2015;  Singapore-based Wilmar said it would give outsiders, from customers to environmentalists worried about deforestation, access to online maps showing where it buys palm oil in Indonesia and Malaysia;  Oslo, Norway. Wilmar International Ltd., the world’s largest palm oil processor, opened its supply chains to outside scrutiny on Thursday in what environmentalists called an unprecedented step to help safeguard tropical forests. Singapore-based Wilmar said it would give outsiders, from customers to environmentalists worried about deforestation, access to online maps showing where it buys palm oil at more than 800 mills in Indonesia and Malaysia.....
  • Can palm oil companies deliver on deforestation promises? BY Oliver Balch Monday 26 January 2015 07.00 GMT; Wilmar, the world’s largest palm oil trader, has committed not to engage in deforestation. But with little control over smallholders, can palm oil companies shake of their environmentally destructive reputation? On the face of it, the praise appears merited. Wilmar’s new policy (which also includes a ban on developing palm on peat areas) stands to save more than 1.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide by 2020 – equivalent to the combined annual energy-related carbon emissions of Central and South America.... That’s all supposing the company can deliver, of course. So can it?  On its wholly owned, directly managed palm plantations, meeting its pledge should be straightforward. The real challenge arises with the franchised or independent smallholder farmers from whom Wilmar buys around one third of its raw supply....