Buyer policy listing: Ferrero says added EUR 1/person/year cost to EU consumers for low-contaminant & sustainable palm oil

Here's a gradually expanding listing of recent buyer policy updates on palm oil. Update for Cargill, added to top of this and sequence for most recent from the top. Early updates include: Walmart on organic, MPONGOC, J&J and a listing of TFT clients, Kao and Greenpeace challenge to key India and China producers and Adelaide Zoo switch form "palm oil free" to certified frozen desserts; adds on supply-chain certification news and the Cargill-TFT link up. Interesting contrast between Krispy and Dunkin. Also a report from Forest Heroes which seeks to "saves the Sumatran Tiger." It has a "media hit" with its campaign on Kellogg's Frosties (which has a tiger mascot). Hershey joined TFT, and Greenpeace and UCS reactions added - basically with critique of lack of third party verification and strict deadline under the TFT program. Then Bunge shifted to traceability and set to avoid high risk sourcing zones. Mondelez sets out rules on online data mapping, deforestation, and labour rights.

27 Nov 2017: Ferrero says added EUR 1/person/year cost to EU consumers for low-contaminant & sustainable palm oil

Editor's note: Also interesting to chat with mill process engineer expert who wrote this: How Cancer causing substances crept into food products containing palm oil? 20/11/2017 By EnergyWise 

Ferrero decided to directly obtain RSPO certified segregated palm oil, which keeps sustainable palm oil physically separated from non-sustainable palm oil and source it from certified sustainable plantations to the production line... "We also wanted a commitment from smallholders, (from whom RSPO was sourced), including (an assurance that they are) not using paraquat," he told Malaysia journalists after a talk on the food sector and sustainable palm oil policies at the European Palm Oil Conference on Thursday.... "So, the issue here is not in finding the right palm oil, because there is lot of palm oil in the market. The issue is whether the industry is ready to pay the right premium for the (RSPO) palm oil" he asked. Hence, for best practices in sustainable palm oil and low contaminants in palm oil, Ferrero pays a premium of 130 euros per tonne, which sums up to an additional 25 million euros, annually.... However, the impact of the price on the final product to the consumers is almost irrelevant, said Charrier. He said the company sourced 180,000 tonnes of palm oil or 0.3 per cent of the total global production annually. Out of which, 90 per cent came from Malaysia and the rest from other producing countries. "So, if all edible palm oil used in EU has the same premium as Ferrero, the extra cost would be 500 million euros per annum - that would go to the upstream of Malaysia and Indonesia. "Assuming this extra cost is fully passed to EU consumers, that would mean one euro per capita per year," he explained....

9 Dec 2016: Can the big brand buyers really get enough sustainable product?

Confidence in secure commodity supply chains 'misplaced' By David Burrows, 08-Dec-2016 -- Confident there’s enough soy, palm oil and beef to go around and your policies can weather the risks ahead on everything from climate change and deforestation to reputation and regulation? Think again, say the authors of two new reports. .... Almost three quarters (72%) of the firms believe they will be able to access a secure and sustainable supply of forestrisk commodities going forward. But this confidence may be “misplaced” for a number of reasons, CDP warned. For example, just one in five firms is looking at risks beyond the next six years, whilst only 30% of manufacturers and retailers can trace these commodities back to the point of origin. Fewer than half (42%) have evaluated the impact of the availability or quality of the commodities on their growth strategies further than 2020....

7 Dec 2016: Mondelez International palm supplier requirements, worries about saturated fats formulations

US food and beverage multinational Mondelez International set out new requirements on 10 November for its suppliers of palm oil. Key new provisions in its updated Palm Oil Action Plan require suppliers to:
- Map and assess the risk for all supplying mills on Global Forest Watch (an interactive on-line forest monitoring and alert system)
- Provide assurance that no deforestation occurs on their own concessions and exclude third-party suppliers who do not immediately cease deforestation
- Work with recognised third-party experts to protect labour rights

Findings point to risk from saturated fats outside some reduction guidelines, Harvard-Unilever study confirms link between sat fats, heart disease & importance of reformulation By Nathan Gray+ 28-Nov-2016 -- However, it goes further than previous studies by identifying links between specific saturated fatty acids – including stearic acid, which some countries such as France do not currently include in saturated fat legislation…. “Research from us and others has shown that some dairy products (such as yoghurt) and odd-chain fatty acids circulating in the blood seem to have health benefits rather than health harms, and this requires further study.”

And back in 2013…Industry saturated fat pledge is a ‘mixed message’ and ‘bit of hype’, says obesity expert By Caroline Scott-Thomas+ 28-Oct-2013 -- A food industry pledge to reduce the saturated fat content in a range of foods is a ‘bit of hype’ and will fail to change diets unless more companies sign up, according to trustee of the National Obesity Forum Tam Fry.... The UK Department of Health’s public health minister Jane Ellison announced the pledge on Saturday, under which some of the signatory companies have pledged to remove saturated fat from their products, and others have said they would reduce saturated fat content.... “It’s hugely encouraging that companies providing almost half of the food available on the UK market have committed to this new Responsibility Deal pledge and they are leading the way to give their customers healthier products and lower fat alternatives,” Ellison said in a statement.... According to the DoH, cutting saturated fat consumption by 15% could prevent around 2,600 premature deaths a year in the UK, from conditions such as cardiovascular disease and stroke....

10 July 2016: Michelin goes for Greenpeace's HCS Approach

Greenpeace France’s reaction to Michelin Zero Deforestation Commitment Press release - June 13, 2016 -- Michelin Group, world leading tyre manufacturer and first world buyer of natural rubber just published a zero deforestation procurement policy based on the methodology High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach

13 December 2015: Hershey- TFT update, Proforest sourcing guidelines, Proforest - AAK, Vopak Vlaardingen, the first RSPO terminal worldwide. Croda and BASF. Uptake problem. Rabobank forecast. Swedish initiative.

Hershey Expands Sustainable Sourcing Efforts with New Deforestation Commitments December 03, 2015  •New Pulp and Paper Policy expands commitment to help prevent deforestation  •Palm Oil Tracing Update: Tracing to mills nearly complete and mapping to plantations ahead of schedule... “Preventing deforestation has never been more important,” said Susanna Zhu, Chief Procurement Officer at The Hershey Company. “We continue to learn more about the geography of our palm oil supply chain and are having productive conversations with suppliers about our expectations. While we’re pleased with our palm oil sustainable sourcing progress so far, we know there is more work to be done. This effort, along with our Pulp and Paper Policy, will help us continue to ensure that we’re achieving our high sustainable sourcing standards.” ...Beyond pulp and paper sourcing, Hershey’s additional efforts to reduce its impact on deforestation include the company’s ongoing work with The Forest Trust (TFT) to trace its palm oil supply chain to mills and plantations. As of the second quarter of 2015, Hershey has traced its supply chain to approximately 90 percent of all the mills where the company’s palm oil is processed. Additionally, Hershey has achieved 10 percent traceability of its palm volume to the original palm oil plantations. These results keep Hershey ahead of schedule to deliver planation-level traceability by the end of 2016.

Proforest - New guide to responsible sourcing published 04.11.2015  - Proforest publishes new practical guide to implementing responsible sourcing commitments

Sourcing palm oil responsibly: our partnership with AAK. 21.10.2015 With Proforest's support, palm oil giant AAK has achieved 100 percent traceability of its palm oil to mill. Here, Proforest director and co-founder Neil Judd talks about the partnership, what it means to be a 'critical friend' and the Proforest approach to responsible sourcing. AAK partnered with Proforest in May 2014...

Vopak Vlaardingen, the first RSPO terminal worldwide 03 December 2015, Vopak Vlaardingen is the first terminal in the world to obtain RSPO certification. RSPO stands for 'Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil '. This organisation was created ten years ago, with the aim of developing standards for sustainable palm oil production, in order to promote and enhance the production and consumption of sustainable palm oil

Croda bags Certified Sustainable Palm Oil for its global manufacturing facilities By Simon Pitman+, 09-Nov-2015  With the growing importance on sourcing and processing sustainable palm oil, Croda has fulfilled requirements for all of its manufacturing facilities to comply with industry standards.

Low uptake of sustainable palm oil  7 November 2015... Only half of RSPO-certified palm oil finds a buyer. THERE is a sluggish uptake of sustainable palm oil, and the frequent excuse is that nobody wants to pay the premium. What is the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) response to this?... Bek-Nielsen (who is RSPO co-chair, MPOA): People generally do not like broken promises. Growers are no exception and the growers who committed themselves to the RSPO in many instances feel short-changed. The producers have taken a leap of faith undergoing an herculean task (not without costs) to live up to the standards of sustainable palm oil set in force by a number of stakeholders, amongst them NGOs and multinationals like WWF, Conservation International and Unilever to mention a few....

Palm oil demand growth offers opening for niche certified producers By RJ Whitehead, 05-Nov-2015 Global demand for certified sustainable palm oil will double in five years, growing from 5.3m tonnes in 2014 to 11m by 2020, predicts Rabobank.

Swedish initiative for sustainable palm oil in chemical products by Joakim Persson / on November 1, 2015  Suppliers, manufacturers and retailers in Sweden have joined together in an initiative enabling a long-term switch to more sustainably produced, certified and traceable palm oil in both cosmetics and hygiene products such as detergents and cleaning products, reports

Is RSPO certification becoming irrelevant? By Niamh Michail+, 28-Oct-2015 Companies are increasingly demanding certified palm oil using criteria that are stricter than current RSPO standards – does the mean the RSPO certification is in danger of becoming irrelevant?

BASF’s 'new palm positioning' on RSPO certification in Asia By Michelle Yeomans+, 27-Oct-2015 BASF is expanding its commitment to only source RSPO-certified sustainable raw materials with upstream traceability for palm oil and palm kernel oil fractions and edible oil esters by 2025.

PepsiCo’s palm oil pledge should not exempt Indofood, NGOs say - The global food and beverage giant recently promised to source deforestation-free palm oil, but green groups say the commitment should apply to joint venture partners that sell its branded partners. That includes Indofood, Indonesia's largest food company. by  29 October 2015

A new business model for palm oil? The recent haze in Southeast Asia has sparked renewed calls for alternatives to palm oil products. In this interview, Forum for the Future founder Jonathon Porritt tells Eco-Business why the industry - which also provides thousands of livelihoods worldwide - needs a new business model, not boycotts.  By Vaidehi Shah  16 October 2015

19 October 2015: BASF, PepsiCo, Cargill

BASF Expands Production Capacity for Emollients and Waxes in China NewswireToday - /newswire/ - Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2015/10/08 - BASF will expand its emollients and waxes production capacity with a new plant at its site in Jinshan, Shanghai - DE000BASF111

BusinessCase: Sustainability Initiatives Have Saved PepsiCo Over $375M Since 2010 September 25, 2015; The water, energy, packaging and waste-reduction initiatives have been tallied up, and PepsiCo, Inc. asserts that its environmental sustainability initiatives have saved the company more than $375 million since its goals were established in 2010. The company proudly announced this week that it also delivered double-digit net revenue and operating profit growth during the same time period, demonstrating a solid business case. The results of PepsiCo’s Performance with Purpose commitment are detailed in its 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Report, and first-ever sustainability microsite, PepsiCo says the microsite is “an interactive and immersive experience” to engage users in discussion around how we will grow sustainably, thrive in a changing environment, and create opportunity.

Cargill Marks Anniversary of No-Deforestation Pledge With New Forest Policy; Greenpeace Wants More September 18, 2015 by Sustainable Brands; On Wednesday, just a few days from the first anniversary of the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) — an international, multi-sector commitment to safeguard the world’s forests and to help tackle climate change signed by Cargill and other major multinational companies, governments, and civil society organizations at last year’s UN Climate Summit — Cargill released a new Policy on Forests. Backed by forest protection action plans for Cargill’s priority commodity supply chains, the policy sets a comprehensive approach for the company in its efforts to prevent forest loss. “Deforestation is a global issue, but a local challenge. We’re committed to working with farmers, government, business, advocacy organizations and consumers to help craft and implement solutions tailored to the diverse landscapes we seek to protect,” said Paul Conway, Cargill’s vice chairman. “Our Policy on Forests is one of the ways we are working to feed a growing population while also sustaining vital forest ecosystems for generations to come.”


13 September 2015: Starbucks, Oregon Zoo

Starbucks and palm oil, wake up and smell the coffee  Sponsored by: RSPO By Hanna Thomas Tuesday 25 August 2015 16.31 BST; Consumer action is vital if we’re going to tackle deforestation and social exploitation in the palm oil supply chain

Oregon Zoo to only sell food made with responsibly produced palm oil Posted:  Aug 25, 2015 4:34 AM Updated:  Aug 25, 2015 4:34 AM   By FOX 12 Staff Vivian, a Malayan sun bear, climbs a log at the Oregon Zoo. Sun bears are one of many species threatened by deforestation to make way for palm oil plantations. Photo by Michael Durham, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.Vivian, a Malayan sun bear, climbs a log at the Oregon Zoo. Sun bears are one of many species threatened by deforestation to make way for palm oil plantations. Photo by Michael Durham, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.
PORTLAND, OR  Read more:

7 September 2015: Clorox's commitment

Clorox Company’s New Palm Oil Commitment is a Step Forward September 3, 2015; WASHINGTON (September 3, 2015) – The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) today commended the Clorox Company for committing to responsibly sourcing palm oil in its supply chain by 2020; Clorox Company uses palm oil in product lines such as Burt’s Bees and Green Works, which the company markets as “natural” and environmentally friendly. “This is a win for forests,” said Lael Goodman, an analyst with UCS’s Tropical Forests and Climate Initiative. “Clorox’s competitors, including Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive, have already issued deforestation-free palm oil commitments, so it’s good to see Clorox follow their lead, especially since they market some of their products as green. ” Earlier this year, UCS scored 10 major personal care companies on their palm oil sourcing standards.

24 August 2015: Why are companies hiding their sustainable credentials? FoodNavigator (some details)

Why are companies hiding their sustainable credentials? By Niamh Michail, 29-Jul-2015; Eco-labels make food taste better and consumers feel better about themselves. They boost a company's image and consumers are willing to pay more. And yet despite these benefits, only around half of total RSPO certified palm oil is sold as certified sustainable according to a report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), while just 35% of cocoa certified by the Rainforest Alliance, UTZ or Fairtrade bear a certification logo. For sugar the figures are even lower – in 2012 only 16% of certified sustainable cane sugar was sold as such, said the Food Climate Research Network (FCRN ). But why would companies go to pains to certify a key ingredient and then not inform their consumers?....
  • some feature it in certain brands as upmarket and niche and up the price tag
  • supply and demand are not always in sync and in part by a lack of industry commitment in certain consumer markets to sourcing and paying - RSPO
  • Rainforest Alliance logo may only be used if the certified ingredient was a ‘core ingredient’ ... or if it made up at least 30% of the total product
  • manufacturers weren't looking to conceal the sustainability of the ingredient – but rather the presence of the ingredient itself
  • in some countries sustainability issues simply do not resonate with consumers – such as India and China
  • Elsewhere it could be the exact opposite problem – that Western consumers are suffering from eco-label fatigue
  • standardisation of sustainability will further reduce the need for companies to communicate their efforts

22 August 2015:  Interest in sustainably sourced palm oil in India is minimal

Without India, you can forget about achieving a sustainable palm oil sector - All eyes are on India, the world’s largest palm oil importer, and whether companies can help shift consumers towards sustainable choices; India’s 1.2 billion citizens consume approximately 15% of the global supply of palm oil. The vast majority of the commodity (95% according to WWF figures) is used as edible oil, with the remainder added to haircare and beauty products. The country imports nearly all of its palm oil, more than two-­thirds of which is sourced from Indonesia.... At the annual World Bank conference on land and poverty held in Washington in March, Prabianto Mukti Wibowo, assistant deputy minister for forestry in Indonesia’s economic affairs ministry said: “We know that our primary customers are not concerned about deforestation.”
Unlike the boycotts and consumer awareness in Europe and the US, interest in sustainably sourced palm oil in India is minimal, putting little pressure on the domestic market to shift to more sustainable sources.

19 August 2015: Italian politicians defend palm oil, Why are companies hiding their sustainable credentials? FoodNavigator news. Consumer Goods Forum palm oil sourcing guidelines.

Italian politicians defend palm oil By Caroline Scott-Thomas+, 18-Aug-2015
Italian politicians have submitted two resolutions to parliament defending alm oil in the face of anti-palm oil campaigns, calling it a raw material of fundamental importance for Italian industry.

Why are companies hiding their sustainable credentials? By Niamh Michail+, 29-Jul-2015; A sustainable logo is known to add value to a brand – so why are so many manufacturers not showing their Fairtrade, organic or sustainable credentials?

The Consumer Goods Forum Publishes Palm Oil Sourcing Guidelines  Published: Tuesday, 11 August 2015 12:16  Consumer Goods Industry’s First Ever Set of Sustainable Palm Oil Sourcing Guidelines to Help Drive Implementation of ‘Zero Net Deforestation’ Resolution; PARIS, 11th August 2015 – The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) today announced publication of the first-ever ‘Sustainable Palm Oil Sourcing Guidelines’ (the “Guidelines”). This publicly available document is an important step in helping the consumer goods and retail industries to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020, as outlined in the CGF’s Deforestation Resolution....

20 June 2015: Nutella flap - Greenpeace defends position for maker which is part of POIG and apparent client of The Forest Trust (associated with Greenpeace in both)

Greenpeace says boycotting Nutella is wrong – it’s NOT destroying the planet by Lianna Brinded Jun. 18, 2015, 6:34 PM; Greenpeace says French ecology minister Segolene Royal is wrong – Nutella is not destroying the planet and a ban wouldn’t solve the world’s environmental problems.
A couple of day ago Royal went on French television network Canal+ and said that people should stop eating the popular hazelnut spread because harvesting one of its key ingredients, palm oil, leads to deforestation. But environmental activist group Greenpeace has now told news website Quartz that “a blanket boycott of this agricultural crop will not solve problems in its production.”
It also told the site that Ferrero, Nutella’s maker, is actually a supporter of the Palm Oil Innovation Group, which includes Greenpeace, other non-governmental organisations, and some palm oil producers. .....

'Stop eating Nutella' urges French ecology minister Agence France-Presse, Paris | World | Tue, June 16 2015, 11:34 PM; France's ecology minister, Segolene Royal, has rankled the company that makes Nutella by urging the public to stop eating its irresistible chocolate hazelnut spread, saying it contributes to deforestation."We have to replant a lot of trees because there is massive deforestation that also leads to global warming. We should stop eating Nutella, for example, because it's made with palm oil," Royal said in an interview late Monday on the French television network Canal+."Oil palms have replaced trees, and therefore caused considerable damage to the environment," she explained.Nutella, she said, should be made from "other ingredients".The comments needled Ferrero, the giant Italian chocolate group that makes Nutella.Without referring to Royal directly, the company issued a statement Tuesday saying it was aware of the environmental stakes and had made commitments to source palm oil in a responsible manner.Ferrero gets nearly 80 percent of its palm oil from Malaysia. The rest of its supply comes from Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Brazil. - See more at:

7 June 2015: PepsiCo, Wal-Mart, others ask RSPO to strengthen standards; Europe set for 100% CSPO by 2020, segregated palm oil excludes small producers? Mondelez plan.

PepsiCo, Wal-Mart, others seek stronger palm oil standards  6/1/2015 -  by Jeff Gelski The R.S.P.O. was formed in 2004 to promote the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through global standards and stakeholder engagement.
BOSTON — Multinational food companies and institutional investors representing more than $5 trillion in assets signed a June 1 letter seeking stronger environmental and social regulations to qualify for certification from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.
ConAgra Foods, Inc.; Dunkin’ Brands; General Mills, Inc.; The Kellogg Co.; Mars, Inc.; PepsiCo, Inc.; and Starbucks were some of the food companies signing the letter sent to  Datuk Darrel Webber, secretary general of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Retail chains signing the letter included Albertsons-Safeway and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Other consumer packaged goods companies signing the letter included Colgate-Palmolive, Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Cos

European Palm Oil Industry Sets Course for 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil by 2020  Published: June 4, 2015 6:52 a.m. ETAMSTERDAM, Jun 04, 2015 (PR Newswire Europe via COMTEX) -- AMSTERDAM, June 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Third European RSPO roundtable: regional objectives, tougher enforcement rules and innovative sustainability standards A new drive to address palm oil's global sustainability challenges emerged at RSPO's third European Roundtable held yesterday in Amsterdam, gathering an audience of around two hundred and eighty industries, NGOs and stakeholders from palm oil producing and importing countries. While all parties agreed that RSPO certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) is part of the answer and acknowledged the work done by RSPO so far, they did not see any room for complacency and stressed the importance of change.

Could Europe’s drive to segregated palm oil exclude small producers? By Caroline Scott-Thomas+SCOTT-THOMAS, 02-Jun-2015 A European push toward segregated certified sustainable palm oil may inadvertently exclude smaller producers from the supply chain, says GreenPalm manager Bob Norman.

Mondelez’s sustainable palm oil plan: “We want the whole supply chain to transform” By Caroline Scott-Thomas+, 01-Jun-2015 Mondelez International is on track to meet its goal of sourcing 100% traceable palm oil by the end of the year after reaching 70% traceability in 2014, says global director of sustainability Jonathan Horrell.

24 May 2015: Yum! Promised to Improve its Palm Oil Sourcing Policy Starting 2017, Colgate-Palmolive Releases 2014 Sustainability Report

Yum! Promised to Improve its Palm Oil Sourcing Policy Starting 2017 Byjason-seligman on May 19, 2015 The new policy sets December 2017 for putting up the latest safeguards when looking for palm oil sources. Yum!  said it will only source palm oil  from suppliers which set improvement in their carbon emission level and protect rainforests and peat terrains.  The giant fast food restaurant will implement the new roles in all its operations down to the restaurant levels. Greenpeace immediately praised the declaration, which led a crusade campaign in 2012 against the company’s paper pulp operation. Rolf Skar, Forest Campaign Director at Greenpeace USA said that Greenpeace wants Yum! to ” define more clearly terms like ‘high carbon stock forest’ and ‘best management practices’ for peat lands in order to make sure change really happens on the ground.” However, an advocacy organization called the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), on Wednesday gave a score card for the company, zero out of 100 rank on its palm oil policy, wanted Yum! to pledge much more that what is promising to do.

Colgate-Palmolive Releases 2014 Sustainability Report That Details Progress on the Company’s Sustainability Strategy Submitted by: Colgate-Palmolive Company   Posted:  May 18, 2015 – 07:00 AM EST  NEW YORK, May 18 /CSRwire/ - Colgate-Palmolive has released its 2014 Sustainability Report titled, Giving the World Reasons to Smile. This annual report details Colgate’s long-standing commitments and achievements regarding sustainability and social responsibility around the world.  This year’s highlights include: • Colgate improved the sustainability profile in 72 percent of new products and the balance of its portfolio in 2014 (based on representative products evaluated against comparable Colgate products). • Colgate reduced greenhouse gas intensity by 19.7 percent and energy use intensity by 19.1 percent since 2005 and was named a U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for the fifth year in a row, with recognition for Sustained Excellence.

16 May 2015: Forgot to post this before, a rather dramatic and unusual even ton an app to show products containing palm oil

'You will need to watch your back': The cowardly note threatening Aussie woman's family for developing app that shows which products contain jungle-wrecking palm oil By Freya Noble for Daily Mail Australia  Published: 13:30 GMT, 24 March 2015  | Updated: 15:18 GMT, 24 March 2015. A letter was sent to Lorinda Jane threatening her and her daughter. It claimed they knew where she lived and to 'watch her back.' She is President and Founder of not-for-profit Palm Oil Investigations (POI). POI are launching an app on Wednesday evening at 7pm. It tells consumers whether a product contains palm oil;

1 May 2015: The Corporate Capture of Sustainable Development by Leslie Sklair; /khorreports-palmoil/2015/05/the-corporate-capture-of-sustainable.html

22 April 2015: McDonald's supply chain commitment - refers to NY Declaration and HCS Approach

McDonald's to axe deforestation from its global supply chain - The fast-food giant announced it will work with its suppliers to end deforestation in its global supply chain. But do the super-sized claims stack up? by Siri Srinivas Tuesday 21 April 2015 22.06 BST; Global fast-food giant McDonald’s on Tuesday pledged to end deforestation across its entire supply chain..... The announcement follows recent similar pledges by Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme, Yum Brands and many others. But the World Wildlife Fund, which advised McDonald’s on its new commitment, said it could have big influence on other fast-food chains...... “McDonald’s brings size and scale to the debate of sustainable sourcing. Their reach is large, they are global, they work closely with the suppliers and so this outreach can only help,” said David McLaughlin, vice president of agriculture at the World Wildlife Fund. .........In an eight-point commitment, McDonald’s promises not to contribute to deforestation in areas most critical to reducing carbon in the atmosphere, known as high carbon value and high carbon stock forests. These are areas of high environmental value, including high biodiversity, as well as high value to their communities, that are often in danger of being cleared to make way for plantations. The world’s largest fast-food chain also said it would not source commodities from peatlands, or swampy areas that store a lot of carbon and can end up contributing to greenhouse gas emissions when disturbed. This commitment will affect 3,100 of its global direct suppliers as well as its more complex network of indirect suppliers, said Michele Banik-Rake, director of sustainability for McDonald’s worldwide supply chain management.......Also on Tuesday, the company released a sustainable sourcing statement outlining how it will work with suppliers to ensure that the beef, poultry, coffee, palm oil and fiber-based packaging it uses do not contribute to deforestation.
In the commitment, the company also said it would respect human rights and verify where the raw materials used to make its products come from. The company said that it will suspend or eliminate purchases from suppliers who do not meet its requirements. McDonald’s will also evaluate its progress in annual reports......In a palm oil scorecard released by the Union of Concerned Scientists earlier this month, McDonald’s fared poorly on its palm oil deforestation record, but the company, like other major brands, recognized global gaps in sustainable sourcing, said Lael Goodman, the author of the report......While McDonald’s said that its policy is effective immediately, their actual targets for zero-deforestation may be five to 15 years away. This is in line with the New York declaration on forests that it signed at the United Nation’s climate summit in September, along with other global corporations, to end deforestation due to agricultural commodities by 2020 and the loss of natural forests by 2030. Critics of the New York declaration called the 2030 target for ending deforestation and 2020 target for agricultural commodities unambitious, but others said it was worth applauding as a step in the right direction. ....The supply chain hub is sponsored by the Fairtrade Foundation. All content is editorially independent except for pieces labelled “brought to you by”. Find out more here....

Macdonald's Commitment on Deforestation:
Note: It talks of NY Declaration as well as the HCS Approach (Greenpeace-TFT-Forest Heroes and also used by Wilmar, GAR etc.)

4 April 2015: KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut adopt zero deforestation policy - with HCS and better labour policies - to apply to global restaurants, with Dec 2017 target.

KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut adopt zero deforestation policy for palm oil by Rhett A. Butler,  April 03, 2015; Yum! Brands, the company that owns KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, on Thursday announced a zero deforestation policy for its palm oil sourcing. The move came after aggressive campaigns by environmental groups that argued the chains weren't doing enough to ensure the palm oil they used to fry foods wasn't linked to human rights abuses, destruction of peatlands, and logging of rainforests. The policy sets a December 2017 target for establishing safeguards for palm oil sourcing. Yum! says it will only source from suppliers who bar plantation development in high carbon stock and high conservation value areas, like rainforests and peatlands; have disputes resolution processes in place; offer traceability to the mill level; and avoid underage workers and forced labor. The standards apply Yum!'s global fast food business, meaning it applies to all of its restaurants.Yum! has a similar set of guidelines for its paper and fiber sourcing..... The announcement was quickly welcomed by Greenpeace, which campaigned against the company's pulp and paper sourcing practices in 2012. “Yum! Brands’ new palm oil policy is a good sign it’s listening to customers around the world who want rainforest destruction taken off the menu.” said Rolf Skar, Forest Campaign Director at Greenpeace USA.  Skar added that Greenpeace still wants Yum! to "more clearly define terms like 'high carbon stock forest' and 'best management practices' for peatlands in order to make sure change really happens on the ground."... However the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), an advocacy group that on Wednesday released a scorecard giving Yum! a zero out of 100 rank on its palm oil policy, wanted more from the company.....

Zero Deforestation arrangement for Palm oil to be implemented by KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut  April 5, 2015; Yum! Brands, the organization that claims KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, on Thursday reported a zero deforestation arrangement for its palm oil sourcing. The move came after forceful battles by ecological gatherings that argued that the restaurants weren’t doing what’s needed to guarantee the palm oil they used to cook food wasn’t connected to human rights misuses, obliteration of peat lands, and logging of rainforests.... The strategy sets December 2017 as focus for creating shields for palm oil sourcing. Yum! says it will just come from suppliers who block farmstead advancement in high carbon stock and high preservation esteem ranges, in the same way as rainforests and peat lands; have debate determination forms set up; offer traceability to the plant level; and evade underage laborers and constrained work.... The benchmarks apply Yum’s! worldwide fast food business, the importance it applies to every last bit of its restaurants.
Yum! has a comparable arrangement of rules for its paper and fiber sourcing.... The declaration was immediately accepted by Greenpeace, which battled against the organization’s mash and paper sourcing practices in 2012....

Some palm oil specialists point to the higher yield of palm oil and the larger area competitor oils use, a typical argument and rebuttal:

Attan Akmar: A pound of palm oil is produced on a tenth of the farm area required to produce the same quantity of soy oil. It's soy oil that should be discouraged especially after millions of acres
Denise Jurcyk ·  Top Commenter · Chicago, Illinois: Well said but.... that was a long time ago and it was not forest but prairie. Which is , if slowly being replanted. Rain forest has so much diversity and large mammals that are threatened with extinction , we must save . We learned our lessons and it's time to save the rainforests and it's inhabitants and the planet. Maybe you should develop agricultural methods that can greatly increase the production on land already cleared. And Stop clear cutting the rainforest !Maybe science can replace the use of palm oil !

3 April 2015: ADM Commits to No-Deforestation Policy for Soybeans, Palm Oil 

ADM Commits to No-Deforestation Policy for Soybeans, Palm Oil  'By'Shruti Date Singh  12:00 AM HKT  April 1, 2015; (Bloomberg) -- Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., a global supplier of agricultural commodities, has pledged to curb deforestation that results from the farming of soybeans and palm trees.  ADM is committing to developing ways to trace crops it processes, make those supply chains transparent and protect forests globally, according to Victoria Podesta, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based company. The policy “combines a clear commitment to no deforestation with progressive action focused on our most critical supply chains,” Podesta said Monday in an e-mailed statement.  The policy for soy production is the first for that crop, said Lucia von Reusner, an activist for Boston-based Green Century Capital Management Inc., a mutual fund manager that focuses on sustainability. Suppliers representing about 96 percent of globally traded palm oil already have adopted such measures, Green Century said in a statement Tuesday.

4 February 2015: LG Household & Health Care goes RSPO Segregated / SG at Ulsan and Onsan plants

LG Household & Health Care Acquires RSPO Certification by Jeana Shin 2 February 2015
LG Household & Health Care's two factories, in Ulsan and Onsan, South Korea, have received certifications from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an international certification body. This significant step elevates LG Household & Health Care to equal global companies like Unilever and Basf.... LG Household & Health Care started to build a system for producing surfactants, which use eco-friendly palm oil, from 2013 in its Ulsan and Onsan factories as the demands for RSPO-certified products increased recently in Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
It completed a system to use and manufacture the raw materials of palm oil that complies with RSPO Segregation requirements in every aspect of the process, from from raw material storage, production, product storage to shipment.... LG Household & Health Care plans to reinforce its overseas raw material business by exporting surfactant from its RSPO-certified palm oil....

18 January 2015: PepsiCo Doritos targeted

PepsiCo Fires Back at Doritos Spoof Ad Viewed 1.5 Million Times By Duane D. Stanford  Jan 16, 2015 3:01 AM GMT+0800; PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) dismissed as a “stunt” a social-media video posted by environmental activists challenging the snack maker’s reliance on palm oil in Doritos.
The clip, which was released by as a spoof of a Doritos commercial, alleges that PepsiCo’s palm-oil use destroys rain forests and kills animals. After the ad gained a following online, PepsiCo shot back yesterday, saying its policy on the ingredient is sound and the video distorts the truth.

22 December 2014: Big buyers and producers ratchet up pledges, RAN pushes traceability

Unilever, Cargill push to green their palm oil chain; Facing growing concerns about deforestation in Asia, companies are pledging to use green palm oil; But as more sustainable oil reached the market and the technology for tracing commodities improved, Unilever, Cargill and Nestlé among strengthened their pledges in the past two years to use only green palm oil... They were joined this year by more than 20 consumer goods companies—including Kellogg, Mars, Procter & Gamble  PG   and Johnson & Johnson  —which adopted zero deforestation policies. And in September at the U.N. climate summit, more than 30 companies including McDonald’s  MCD  and Wal-Mart Stores   committed to eliminate deforestation from their supply chain by no later than 2020.... It was part of a larger pledge at the summit by governments to half deforestation by 2020 and strive to end it by 2030. If fulfilled, the measure would eliminate between 4.5 million and 8.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year by 2030—the equivalent to removing carbon emissions produced by one billion cars.... Along with the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge, five producers this summer joined Cargill in signing the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto. The companies have signed onto a no-deforestation pledge and the establishment of a system to create a “traceable and transparent supply chain.” The companies, most of them based in Malaysia, also agreed to a moratorium on converting the most environmentally important high carbon stock forests until a study can be done to determine where those stocks are located......... Two investigations—one released in September by a coalition of environmental groups called Eyes on the Forest and another by Rainforest Action Network—illustrate the challenge ahead. The Eyes on the Forest investigation found scores of palm oil producers in Indonesia who have signed sustainability commitments caught sourcing oil palm from illegal plantations. Illegal produced palm oil from forests favored by endangered Sumatran tigers ended up in facilities of four producers as well as at ports these producers use to ship their products.... The RAN investigation implicated 40 palm oil growers operating in an Indonesia conservation area that his home to endangered orangutans as well as Sumatran tigers, rhinos and elephants. One major crude palm oil mill was caught sourcing from these growers and three large traders also sourced from them... “At the moment, there is no traceability at the plantation level in the global palm oil supply chain,” said Gemma Tillack, RAN’s agribusiness campaign director.

29 November 2014: Unilever and Cargill updates

Unilever to Use Only Sustainable Palm Oil in European Foods by End of Year
Company Pledges to Use Only Traceable, Sustainable Palm Oil World-Wide by 2020

Cargill Publishes First Palm Oil Progress; Cargill today released its first progress report on sustainable palm oil. The report lays out the company’s action plan to achieve a fully sustainable supply chain. "Sustainability has long been part of our palm ...

3 November 2014: National buyer platforms

Norwegian Food Industry Commits to Sourcing Only Certified Sustainable Palm Oil by 2015, RSPO News, 03 October 2014; "The Norwegian Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil has agreed criteria to promote sustainable palm oil in Norway and contribute to the prevention of deforestation. The Alliance, which consists of most major food & drink producers and retailers in Norway, has committed to using only sustainably produced and certified palm oil that meets the RSPO Principles & Criteria, by the end of 2015. As of today, the signatories include: Coop Norge AS, Findus Norge AS, Hennig-Olsen Is AS, Ica Norge AS, Mills DA, Mondelēz Norge AS, Nestlé Norge AS, Nordic Choice Hotels AS, NorgesGruppen ASA, Orkla ASA, Umoe Restaurants AS, Unilever Norge AS...They also commit that by 2018 they will either phase out palm oil or switch to segregated or traceable CSPO, and publish their progress reports annually. Norway is the eighth European country to officially launch a National Initiative, a commitment by the main industrial actors to source only certified sustainable palm oil. Similar national platforms already exist in the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark...."

2 November 2014: Bunge goes with traceability and signals Sarawak / high risk zone shift?

Bunge updates its palm oil sourcing policy in October 2014 for traceability. This can be differentiated from RSPO certification which was the key program As buyers face issues in implementing their near term pledges (often set for next year, 2015) for sustainable palm oil, there are shifts to extend deadlines and perhaps the more common new trend is to shift from sustainability (certification) to traceability.

The latter is now frequently associated with the TFT (Greenpeace associated) programs for customized (by supplier) trade terms for B2B dealings. In contrast, RSPO certification (part of WWF's roundtables / "market transformation" program) uses a multi-stakeholder model and its heavy NGO influence is commonly thought to have contributed to policy escalations that trouble supply-chain players with rising cost of compliance amidst a seeming glut of certificates, and perhaps more crucially the problem of it achieving inclusivity of small producers and smallholders. Hence, the competition for new programs for the palm oil sector, by other NGOs.

On NGO reactions to Bunge's move, the UCS campaign gives it a good nod (it is "impressed" and says this "will have huge implications for peatlands"), as does Forest Heroes ("it gives a clear signal to rogue actors in the palm oil industry"). Forest Heroes' Glenn Hurowitz is widely reported to have had a key role in negotiation Bunge's new policy (he says that Bunge's move is akin to a new "green revolution" to delink agriculture from deforestation). 

However the timeline for implementation has not been set. "We are currently in the process of developing an implementation plan in collaboration with suppliers and expect to release it in the coming months," a Bunge spokesperson told UCS concern is likewise on the deadline and says "while it rightly prioritizes tracing palm oil from high risk areas, it does not require that all palm oil be eventually traced back to the original plantation."

UCS notes that "Bunge’s commitment is particularly important because they source much of their palm oil from Sarawak, Malaysia, a peat-rich area" and it is reports that Bunge is among the biggest buyers from Sarawak.

We're not sure yet if this represents a sign-on with The Forest Trust, a key provider of traceability programs for Wilmar, GAR and Cargill. A check today on its blog ( and its website ( yields no recent news on Bunge.

The key Bunge document is here: Excerpt:

.....Bunge immediately commits to begin building a traceable supply chain, following the principles
below, for 100 percent of the palm oil and palm derivatives it trades, processes and utilizes in
commercial and consumer products worldwide:

Forest & Biodiversity Preservation: Protection of High Conservation Value (HCV) areas as defined by Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) P&C 5.2 and 7.3 and High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests as defined by the HCS Steering Group

Reduction of GHG Emissions
  •      Protection of peat areas, regardless of depth1
  •  Application of RSPO best management practices for peat on existing plantations
  •  No burning
Labor Protections, Human Rights and Free, Prior & Informed Consent (FPIC)2
  •  Prohibition of forced and child labor, discrimination and harassment of workers
  •  Protection of freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
  •  Respect of local and indigenous community rights and application of FPIC for land purchases and use
  •  Support of the Food and Agriculture Organization Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure
Legal Compliance
  •  Compliance with all relevant national and local laws
Bunge will strive for traceability to the mill level for all suppliers and, in areas of high environmental or social sensitivity, to the fresh fruit bunch level.
News links:

25 September 2014: Look out for pace of signings RSPO versus/and TFT.

And on this, notable that a new report by Forest Heroes places all TFT mega processor trader partner pledges at top of "greenest" suppliers list (TFT-Climate Advisers work with Wilmar, commonly reported as controlling half the global palm oil trade), alongside the solid niche producer already supplying full segregated and other certified oil: The website says: Our Green Tigers report ranks palm oil companies on their adherence to forest conservation requirements -- showing which companies are slated to prosper in the new era of forest protection, and which are lagging far behind. We ranked 18 of the world's largest palm oil companies, judging them on forest protection, high carbon stock protection, peat protection, and their human rights records. The website focuses on an advocacy and a professional "grassroots advocacy and communications firm Catapult helps guide the campaign and deliver our message where it can have the biggest impact." Contacts include Glenn Hurowitz, Forest Heroes Campaign Chair / Managing Director of Climate Advisers (advisor to Wilmar alongside TFT in its 5 December 2013 commitment). Link to report: Forest Heroes has useful list of "media hits" which covers a lot of US palm oil campaigning news:

Report rates palm oil companies on sustainability commitments by; October 05, 2014; "A new report published Forest Heroes, an advocacy campaign pushing for an end to deforestation, ranks global palm oil companies on their sustainability commitments.
The Green Tigers, authored by Glen Hurowitz, reviews the recent history of environmental policies in the palm oil sector.... The report notes that most of the companies that are signees to the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto (SPOM), a commitment established this year, are on the yellow or red lists, while Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) companies are on the green list. Environmentalists have criticized SPOM as having weaker criteria than POIG, although several SPOM members just committed to a one-year moratorium on clearing of potential high carbon stock areas while they work out a definition of what constitutes forest...."

Major alliances

Cargill Joins Palm-Oil Makers to Pledge Forest Protection  By Mark Drajem  Sep 23, 2014 11:30 PM GMT+0800; "Cargill Inc. joined the world’s largest makers of palm oil in a pledge to prevent deforestation and vowed to work with Indonesia, the biggest global producer, to implement policies that will protect forests. Cargill announced its action today at the United Nations summit on climate change with more than 20 producers that account for about half of all palm-oil consumption. Consumers have been pressing the makers of products such as candy and cookies using palm oil to stop clearing forests to plant new palms.... Unilever has pledged forestry protection as part of its sourcing of palm oil, the world’s most-consumed vegetable oil, used by Kellogg Co. (K) to make Pop-Tarts, Mondelez International Inc. (MDLZ) to produce Oreo cookies and Mars Inc. (MMC) to make Twix candy bars.... As part of today’s forestry pledges, Norway, the U.K., Germany and others pledged $1 billion to persuade developing countries such as Liberia and Peru to preserve their forests.

Cargill and TFT join hands to advance sustainable palm oil,  September 2014:

Buyer policies

TFT sign up. Hershey Co. strengthens palm oil policy By TIM STUHLDREHER | Business Writer, Wednesday, September 24, 2014 12:15 pm; "The Hershey Co. said Wednesday it is taking measures to ensure that the palm oil it uses is not linked to deforestation or labor and human rights abuses.
....Back in 2011, Hershey joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and pledged to source all its palm oil from RSPO-certified suppliers by 2015. In December, Hershey said it had met that goal, more than a year ahead of schedule. Earlier this month, Hershey announced an expansion of Learn to Grow, a component of its cocoa sustainability initiative...."; and Hershey policy here:

Hershey 'goes beyond RSPO' by Oliver Nieburg, Food Navigator US, 25 Sep 2014; "... we will go beyond RSPO-certified palm oil and achieve a truly responsible and sustainable palm oil supply chain...  the policy drawn up with (TFT)....Greenpeace previously accused Hershey... (responded positively but said) ".. it lacks the requirement of third party verification, and the necessary deadline for full compliance..." ... The Union of Concerned Scientists... added "Hershey can still improve its policy by committing to tracing all its palm oil to the plantation where it was grown"....

Krispy goes with RSPO and Dunkin with TFT. Time to make the donuts less evil - Dunkin’ Donuts cleans up its palm-oil act (and Krispy Kreme follows suit) By Nathanael Johnson 16 Sep 2014 3:16 PM; (details at bottom of posting for Krispy Kreme and Dunkin is here: 

But criticism here: New Dunkin’ Brands Palm Oil Commitment Doesn’t Go Far Enough, Science Group Says Statement by the Union of Concerned Scientists' Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative. WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sep. 16, 2014) -- Dunkin’ Brands, the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, announced new commitments for sourcing deforestation-free palm oil, but is only applying them to U.S. operations, which would cover only half its stores, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

ConAgra adopts greener palm oil policy 08/14/2014) U.S. food giant ConAgra has adopted a new sourcing policy that will exclude palm oil produced at the expense of rainforests and peatlands.

Eliminating palm oil from Golden North ice cream not enough to secure Adelaide Zoo deal; Thu 7 Aug 2014, 8:46am; "South Australian ice cream maker Golden North is upset Zoos SA has ditched it in favour of a deal with a multinational, despite the local company avoiding use of palm oil in its foods. Golden North marketing manager Trevor Pomery says the SA company ... Zoos SA chief executive Elaine Bensted conceded Streets ice creams contained palm oil but said other factors led to the deal. "It does have a financial benefit to the zoo and I won't shy away from that, and it is a significant component," she said. "We're a not-for-profit charity, we have a responsibility to our members and that membership responsibility does include financial sustainability. By 2020 all of the palm oil that they buy globally will come from certified sources...."

Will other Asian consumer giants follow as Kao goes forest-friendly? Greenpeace challenges Asian consumer companies such as India’s Godrej and ITC and China’s Liby and Nice to make similar commitments as the Japanese beauty products maker commits to forest-friendly policy;

Johnson & Johnson commits to zero deforestation for palm oil, 1 May 2014;; J&J will work with The Forest Trust (TFT), an NGO that helps companies implement zero deforestation and zero conflict commitments for various commodities. TFT has recently signed similar commitments with Nestle, Indonesian palm oil giant Golden-Agri Resources, Neste Oil, Ferrero, Reckitt Benckiser, Asia Pulp & Paper, Wilmar, New Britain Palm Oil, Cerelia, Vandemoortele, Mars; Florin, and Delhaize Group, among others.

MPONGOC calls on Malaysian banks, GLCs to commit to sustainable palm oil; The Borneo Post  - 14 April 2014; KOTA KINABALU: Malaysian banks and government-mandated institutions that invest in growth sectors must commit to play a role in improving social and environmental standards in the palm oil industry. The Malaysian Palm Oil NGO Coalition (MPONGOC) ...; specialists say that in the past Malaysia NGO campaigning on palm oil issues has seen BORA Executive Director Datuk Dr John Payne play a key role. MPONGOC has been seen on-and-off in headlines the last few months and it's well reported in news who are the key leaders.

Wal-Mart Attempts the Holy Grail: Low-Cost Organic Food; April 10, 2014;; In one fell swoop, the super-retailer gets credit for being green, dives into a rapidly growing category, and creates a fantastic ideological conundrum for the anti-Walmart faction. Impressive.... Whatever global consciousness may be at work here, it’s true that organic groceries have some of the healthiest financials in the business. Safeway (SWY) recently said sales of its Open Nature brand surged 42 percent in 2013. Costco (COST) has been crowing about its trade in select organic products, such as milk and kale. “It’s a big business; it’s growing fast,” Richard Galanti, Costco’s chief financial officer, said on a recent conference call.
Of course both Wal-Mart and Target can use their scale to squeeze great deals out of farmers and suppliers—probably better deals than smaller grocery players, such as Fairway (FWM) and Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM), or even Safeway, can get......

Cargill commits to zero deforestation, but environmentalists have questions;;
(04/09/2014) After years of criticism from environmental groups, Cargill says it will establish policies to eliminate deforestation, peatlands conversion, and social conflict from its palm oil supply chain. But activists aren't yet sure what to make of the agribusiness giant's pledge. On Tuesday Cargill released a letter it sent to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a body that sets eco-certification standards, in response to a Greenpeace Report linking it to deforestation.
Procter & Gamble think they can ignore deforestation - here's how we turn up the pressure; Greenpeace UK (blog); The companies you buy palm oil from are cutting down huge areas of rainforest - Greenpeace has photographic evidence from palm oil companies;

Procter & Gamble bows to pressure on palm oil deforestation; The Guardian,  9 April 2014;; Procter & Gamble has bowed to pressure from environmentalists and revealed a new, extensive no-deforestation policy in the production of its products, including demanding fully traceable palm oil from suppliers. In the wake of severe criticism by a ...

Indian food giant to source deforestation-free palm oil;;; Orkla, a Nordic conglomerate that owns MTR Foods, one of India's major food companies, has established a zero deforestation policy for the palm oil it sources, reports Greenpeace... Orkla's policy commits it to full traceability and bars palm oil produced via forest and peatlands conversion by 2017. There are also provisions for workers rights and local communities.

General Mills ramps up palm oil pledge to consider deforestation; 25 March 2014;; The cereal and snack titan said that while it was a, “relatively minor user of palm oil”, it remained committed to sourcing 100% of its palm oil responsibly and sustainably by 2015 - a pledge it first made in 2010. General Mills said it would continue ...

 Colgate-Palmolive Latest Company to Jump on Deforestation-Free Palm Oil ...; Union of Concerned Scientists  - ‎Mar 24, 2014‎;; BERKELEY, Calif. (March 24, 2014) - Just days after General Mills committed to sourcing deforestation-free palm oil, Colgate-Palmolive today released its palm oil sourcing policy. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), major companies ...

Supply chain certification news

27 August: In Switzerland, Clariant announced Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil Mass Balance supply chain certification for its plant in Gendorf, Germany, in order to meet the increasing demand for sustainable certified palm-based ingredients from customers in the personal care and home care sectors. Gendorf is the first of Clariant’s plants to be RSPO certified and progresses its target to continuously increase the offer of certified palm based products and to have all relevant production sites certified by 2016.

Details of a recent RSPO plus commitment

Krispy Kreme September 2014: - Do you use sustainable palm oil? "Krispy Kreme’s responsible palm oil sourcing efforts began in January 2014 with a commitment to only source products for its US locations from suppliers who are certified members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and those who can guarantee compliance with all sustainable palm oil production methods as defined in the RSPO guidelines. Additionally, Krispy Kreme has purchased enough GreenPalm certificates to cover 100% of its estimated usage of palm oil in the United States through the end of 2014.... Krispy Kreme is now expanding its commitment to achieve 100% responsible sourcing of palm oil. By the end of 2016, a large percentage, if not all of the brand’s palm oil usage will be sourced through some combination of RSPO certified segregated supply, RSPO mass balance mixed-source supply, and the purchase of GreenPalm certificates.... Krispy Kreme is expanding its commitment to achieve 100% responsible sourcing of palm oil. By the end of 2016, a large percentage, if not all of the brand’s palm oil usage will be sourced through some combination of RSPO certified segregated supply, RSPO mass balance mixed-source supply, and the purchase of GreenPalm certificates. All of the brand’s suppliers will be required to trace their palm oil sourcing to plantations that adhere to the principles for protecting forests (including High Carbon Stock (HCS)[1] and High Conservation Value (HCV) landscapes), peat lands of any depth, and no exploitation of communities and workers (including respecting human and worker rights and obtaining Free, Prior, and Informed Consent from communities for all development on their lands); and to comply with Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) principles and criteria. Krispy Kreme will work with its suppliers to meet these commitments as rapidly as possible, with a deadline for full compliance by the end of 2016. Suppliers who are found not in compliance will be required to submit a viable action plan for closing any identified gaps, or risk removal from the brand’s supply chain.... Krispy Kreme will provide a detailed implementation plan and progress reports on its responsible palm oil sourcing efforts through its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives."

Producer pledges for palm oil sustainability: IPOP dissolves to no surprise within Indonesia and to some negative international reactions, GAR blog on mapping supply chains

Just to keep an eye on producer pledges. Just to post up a recent announcement from Musim Mas on joining  TFT traceability for now. We will consolidate with links to other older postings subsequently and of course keep an eye out for new announcements. Just as buyers are shifting on sustainability toward traceability, more suppliers joining traceability programs is to be expected given the past pledges made for c.2015 changes and the practical problems of RSPO-type certification which many say still point to limited prospect for large numbers of smallholders and small producers rapidly joining and being certified. Under such circumstances, processor/traders are expected to find traceability an attractive option. Others who are on TFT traceability programs (these are customized B2B solutions) are Wilmar, Golden-Agri/PT SMART, Cargill and Bunge.

7 July 2016: IPOP dissolves to no surprise within Indonesia and to some negative international reactions, GAR blog on mapping supply chains

IPOP disbandment due to two key drivers, says DG  2016-07-03 JAKARTA ( - The Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP), a green pledge aimed at creating a deforestation-free palm oil industry in Indonesia, was officially disbanded by its signatories on 1 July 2016. Even though they made no contribution to the presence of new Indonesian government policies, in particular those policies associated with the palm oil expansion moratorium and no-peat development, the now ex-IPOP signatories sought to use these policies as a pretext for their disbandment of IPOP, saying that the main reason for its disbandment is that the government policies have supplanted the purpose of IPOP. IPOP was signed on 24 September 2014, on the sidelines of the UN Climate Summit in New York, by four palm oil business groups that dominate the world’s palm oil supply chain to a significant extent.... “The self-disbandment of IPOP by the ex-IPOP signatories is not really surprising news. Their desire to do this has been plain to see since early July 2015. They’ve also not been involved at all in giving rise to Indonesian government policies such as the palm oil expansion moratorium and no-peat development," Professor San Afri Awang, Director General of Forestry Planology and Environmental Governance at the Environment and Forestry Ministry, told in an interview on Saturday (Jul 2). It should also be noted, he added, that the ex-IPOP signatories had failed to prove or demonstrate any commitment and leadership in cleaning up their supply chains from deforestation while (supposedly) implementing IPOP....Prof San, as President Jokowi calls him, went on to say that the failure and inability of the ex-IPOP signatories to clean up their supply chains from deforestation was the key driver in why steps towards the self-disbandment of IPOP were taken in the first place. “The latest example of this is the failure of the ex-IPOP signatories to clean up their supply chains from deforestation in the Leuser Ecosystem. We didn’t see any monitoring system whatsoever from the ex-IPOP signatories operating on the ground level in the Leuser Ecosystem.” The Director General gave a reminder as to how, by early July 2015, the ex-IPOP signatories were already expressing reservations to the government about the difficulty of implementing IPOP, putting forward various for reasons this, and had already begun to urge the government to dissolve IPOP.....

New haze fears as palm oil firms ditch landmark Indonesia pact Tuesday July 5, 2016 - See more at:

"A Lost Opportunity for Indonesia" RAN Responds to Dissolution of the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge. San Francisco. Today, Rainforest Action Network responded to the announcement made by six of the world’s largest palm oil companies to dissolve the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP) group, an innovative platform designed to advance the environmental and human rights reforms needed to address the international controversy surrounding the rainforest destruction and labor exploitation associated with Indonesia’s palm oil industry. Gemma Tillack, Agribusiness Campaign Director for Rainforest Action Network issued the following statement. “IPOP was an important mechanism for Indonesian companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors by taking real steps to halt the rampant destruction of forests and peatlands, to end the widespread abuse of workers and address the long-standing conflicts resulting from the displacement of local communities from their lands for industrial scale plantations. IPOP’s dissolution is a disappointing step backward in the urgent fight to achieve truly responsible palm oil and is a major lost opportunity for Indonesia’s palm oil industry to maintain its stake in the global market. “IPOP’s former members, Wilmar, Golden Agri-Resources, Musim Mas, Astra Agro Lestari, Asian Agri and Cargill, must now meet their responsible palm oil promises independently and demonstrate that they intend to follow through on the commitments made to smallholders, local communities, workers and customers across the globe that are demanding fundamental changes in the way the palm oil is produced....

Video Blog : Mapping our supply chain - a palm oil FFB broker's experience - Meet Pak Jondris Pakpahan, a palm oil Fresh Fruit Bunch (FFB) broker from Kandis Village, in central Sumatra. He collects and buys FFB from many different palm oil farmers which he then sells to the Ujung Tanjung mill owned by GAR in Rokan Hilir Regency.

Ministry seals off palm oil concession in Leuser Ecosystem linked to supply chain of top biofuel producers  2016-06-23 -- The sealing off of the PT ABN palm oil concession was done at three locations and witnessed in person by the General Manager of PT ABN. Meanwhile, the ministry's law enforcement team for the Sumatra region was accompanied by officials from the Environment and Forestry Ministry's Aceh office during the sealing off process. There was also a team from Greenomics Indonesia present at the locations where the sealing off took place.... Minister Siti asserted that the Indonesian government, as a buyer of biofuel purchased through a number of suppliers, would certainly have to look into any strong indications of illegal operations taking place in the supply chain of the biofuel supplied to it in the context of meeting Indonesia’s mandatory biofuel target, which has been fixed at 20 percent this year. “If any of the biofuel suppliers bound by contracts to participate in the fulfillment of Indonesi’s mandatory biofuel target are found to be linked at the supply chain level to this PT ABN case, this will of course be cause for deeper investigation. The supply chain involved in meeting Indonesia’s mandatory biofuel target may in no way be associated with any kind of illegal operation. This is a serious problem.”...

12 December 2015: Wilmar in FOE spotlight, Sime Darby and others to test High Carbon Stock study, Rainforest Alliance - Proforest - Daemeter work with Musim Mas. Sabah pledge. Worry about cost to smallholders. Traceability dashboards. RSPO targets and greenwash accusation.

Up in Smoke: Failures in Wilmar’s promise to clean up the palm oil business, 8 December 2015

Sime Darby to test oil palm production scheme Published: 11 December 2015 5:04 PM Major oil palm growers, including Sime Darby Bhd will conduct trials of a sustainable cultivation scheme under the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto - See more at: 

Proforest and partners to verify Musim Mas palm oil supply chain 02.10.2015 Musim Mas, one of the world’s leading integrated palm oil businesses, is collaborating with the Consortium of Resource Experts (CORE), comprising Proforest, Rainforest Alliance and Daemeter Consulting, as the company implements their sustainable palm oil sourcing policy.  Musim Mas launched its sustainability policy at the end of 2014 and signed the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP) earlier this year. During 2015 Musim Mas has been working on meeting their traceability commitments, which is one of the first steps towards the implementation of their sustainable palm oil policy....

Sabah To Test High Carbon Stock For Sustainable Oil Palm December 11, 2015   KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 (Bernama) -- The Sabah Forestry Department has committed to test the High Carbon Stock plus (HCS+) methodology for sustainable oil palm development in six months following the release of the HCS+ study's findings.  "We are very keen to pursue the offer from the Sabah Forestry Department which indicated that this would be very helpful for them.  "This shows that the state is very committed towards sustainable palm oil and a sustainable economy," said Forum for the Future founder Director Jonathan Porritt.

Sabah's CSPO Pledge Will Improve Smallholders Yields: MPONGOC   KOTA KINABALU, Dec 1 (Bernama) -- Smallholders who lack knowledge and support for good agricultural practices or skills such as negotiating rates for their harvest stand to gain from the Sabah Government's move to fully produce Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) within the next 10 years. The Malaysian Palm Oil NGO Coalition (MPONGOC) said the move will also help secure environmental benefits such as safe water supply and soil conservation, as all producers in Sabah will be both obliged and assisted to meet globally-accepted standards such as those advocated by Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).  "The commitment to help Sabah's smallholders achieve RSPO standards will future-proof their access to top-flight international markets," MPONGOC representative, Cynthia Ong, said in a statement Tuesday.

FGV concerned about cost of certification for smallholders   By Danial Idraki /   | November 18, 2015 KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 18): While Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) ( Valuation: 2.00, Fundamental: 1.15) supports the sustainable palm oil certification initiative that is driven by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), it has concerns over who will cover the cost of certification for independent smallholders in the country... .

Malaysia, Indonesia seek 50% CSPO by 2020 by Alexander Winifred November 19, 2015 Malaysia and Indonesia will ensure half of all palm oil produced in both countries is sustainable as the region reels from haze that has cost billions to fight this year. Officials from the 13th Annual Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) said yesterday that burning for land clearing activities has been blamed for one of the worst haze occurrences in recent history in this region. The Indonesian government has estimated that the cost of stopping the fires this year would be around 475 trillion rupiah (RM150 billion)...

Sime Darby launches online dashboard to address deforestation concerns  17 November 2015

RSPO sets new targets for sustainable palm oil By Vaidehi Shah 20 November 2015 - RSPO and palm oil companies have unveiled new sustainability commitments, but said that without strong support from the government, even their best efforts won't make a dent in global sustainability goals. ...

RSPO sets target for M'sia, Indonesia to achieve 50% certified sustainable palm oil by 2020   By Danial Idraki /   | November 18, 2015 : 3:25 PM MYT   KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 18): The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an international grouping tasked to promote the growth and use of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), is targeting a take-up of 50% CSPO by the industry in Malaysia and Indonesia by 2020, as part of its initiative to create gre..

Jurisdictional Certification Important To Develop Sustainable Production Of Palm Oil 19/11/2015
Who watches the watchmen? RSPO’s greenwashing and fraudulent reports exposed  By Chris Lang 17 November 2015

World’s second largest palm oil producer makes sustainability pledge By Simon Pitman+, 18-Nov-2015 Golden Agri-Resources, the world’s second biggest producer of palm oil, has agreed to re-engage with The Forest Trust in an effort to improve its sustainability profile.

Greenwashing? RSPO audits rife with ‘mistakes and fraud,’ report finds 16th November 2015 / Jonathan Vit  An NGO investigation raises serious concerns about the credibility of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil's most fundamental processes.

Malaysia baulks on oil palm maps [KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia now remains the only country that has yet to resolve its legal position on supplying concession site boundary maps for oil palm plantations — an essential tool for identifying the causes and perpetrators of perennial forest fires and haze.  The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) announced at a press conference (18 November) during its 13th annual meeting in Kuala Lumpur that after months of discussions, it is now clear on its legal position on the supply of concession maps in Indonesia leaving only Malaysia as the only one without maps due to the contentious legal issue related to the Official Secrets Act.

Croda bags Certified Sustainable Palm Oil for its global manufacturing facilities By Simon Pitman+, 09-Nov-2015  With the growing importance on sourcing and processing sustainable palm oil, Croda has fulfilled requirements for all of its manufacturing facilities to comply with industry standards.

Low uptake of sustainable palm oil  7 November 2015... Only half of RSPO-certified palm oil finds a buyer. THERE is a sluggish uptake of sustainable palm oil, and the frequent excuse is that nobody wants to pay the premium. What is the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) response to this?... Bek-Nielsen (who is RSPO co-chair, MPOA): People generally do not like broken promises. Growers are no exception and the growers who committed themselves to the RSPO in many instances feel short-changed. The producers have taken a leap of faith undergoing an herculean task (not without costs) to live up to the standards of sustainable palm oil set in force by a number of stakeholders, amongst them NGOs and multinationals like WWF, Conservation International and Unilever to mention a few....

A new business model for palm oil? The recent haze in Southeast Asia has sparked renewed calls for alternatives to palm oil products. In this interview, Forum for the Future founder Jonathon Porritt tells Eco-Business why the industry - which also provides thousands of livelihoods worldwide - needs a new business model, not boycotts.  By Vaidehi Shah  16 October 2015


20 October 2015: Worry about IPOP, ISPO dilution

Editor's note: Discussion in palm oil circles on the Indonesia-Malaysia cooperation intention and the call to water down IPOP and ISPO to accommodate smallholders (a significant portion without legal land tenure) along with the independent mills and FFB dealers serving these smallholders.

The origins of the cooperation push is the President of Indonesia's office and specialists agree that the traditional bureaucracies of Indonesia and Malaysia are not at the forefront of this new effort. What's different is that it comes with Indonesia impetus, whereas previous bilateral efforts petered out on lack of Indonesia interest. 

Unusually, it also came along with a corporate presence - FGV and Eagle High deal. Interesting in news reports that the Coordinating Maritime Minister of Indonesia being a prominent spokesperson of the palm oil G2G deal. The harmonization of ISPO and MSPO would not be an easy feat - one being mandatory and the other voluntary. And this seems quite mixed up in the apparent pressure on the giant plantations groups at IPOP assuring on buying from the smallholders-independent mills-FFB dealers network. Also, noteworthy is that Pak Dr. Herdradjat (ex Director of Estate Crops at Ministry of Agriculture) takes over Ibu Dr. Rosediana Suharto's role at ISPO quite suddenly.

The issue of "illegal palm oil mills" in Indonesia is surfacing - notably 70 in Riau according to a news report. Question: While the big plantations slow under the sustainability spotlight, who is funding the smallholder push? Illegal mils (by definition independent mills are illegal in Indonesia) and FFB dealers (currently not regulated)? Jakarta experts say that these mills may have a license issued by provincial politicians or Bupati, but lack a national level license. It is notable in ISPO's presentation at PIPOC that it refers to this sector of independent/"illegal" mills. Those concerned about non-certification traceability have been asking what if they trace to illegal sources and what is the basis of their verification?

More here:

News links

New Palm Oil Council Abolishes 'No Deforestation' Pledge  Published 14 October 2015; The production of palm oil has long been criticized by environmentalists, mainly because mass land and forests must be cleared for its production. A new palm oil council is being established in Indonesia and Malaysia to create a joint set of standards for the industry, which will effectively abolish a previous “no deforestation” pledge made by major palm oil companies in the region, Reuters reported Wednesday.  Palm oil companies in Indonesia made the historic pledges at a climate change summit last year. After feeling international pressure to adopt better practices, some of the biggest palm oil companies in the region – including Cargill, Golden Agri-Resources and Wilmar International – signed the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge. However, according to the Indonesian government these promises are hurting smallholders who cannot afford to adopt to the sustainable practices...

Indonesia to Stop Complying with European Union's Palm Oil Standards  12 October 2015 The Indonesian government will (temporarily) stop using sustainability standards designed by the European Union regarding crude palm oil (CPO). Indonesian Minister of Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli said the current strict standards of the European Union hurt the domestic palm oil industry, especially smallholders. Moreover, Indonesia and Malaysia, the world's two largest CPO producers and exporters, are to set up a new intergovernmental palm oil council that will design new rules and standards regarding sustainable palm oil production....Last week it was announced that Indonesia and Malaysia agreed to set up the new palm oil council (called the Council of Palm Oil Producer Countries). This council aims to control the global palm oil supply, stabilize CPO prices and promote sustainable practices in the palm oil industry, partly by harmonizing existing standards of Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) and Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO). Indonesia and Malaysia account for about 85 percent of the world's CPO output. Rizal is confident that demand for Indonesian CPO will not decline due to the moratorium on applying the European Union's palm oil standards. The Indonesian government will lobby the governments of China and India to use the palm oil standards that are to be developed by the Council of Palm Oil Producer Countries (CPOP)....


30 September 2015: Sime Darby's Borneo study on biodiversity in plantation setting, Brazil to collect final tranche of $1 billion payment for protecting Amazon

World's largest ecological study aims to make palm oil wildlife-friendly - A new palm oil plantation in Borneo, Malaysia, is being used by researchers to study ways of retaining endangered wildlife, including the orangutan Tuesday 29 September 2015 14.03 BST  by Tom Levitt; .... On average, just 15% of the species recorded in primary forest are found in oil palm plantations. But what if these forest fragments were expanded or redesigned to encourage more species to survive and migrate through palm oil landscapes? For the past five years, Ewers has been leading a study called the Safe project to answer this question. With a team of researchers on the island of Borneo, Malaysia – one of the most biodiverse regions in the world – he is studying the impact of different types and sizes of forest fragments on wildlife populations. With the support of a major palm oil company, Malaysia-based Sime Darby, which Ewers says has no involvement in the study, the researchers have been given exclusive access to a forest site being cleared for palm oil conversion. They are assessing the impact of different types of forest fragments, including continuous patches of forest, so-called wildlife corridors, that allow wildlife to move in and out of plantations....

Norway to complete $1 billion payment to Brazil for protecting Amazon by Green Business  |  Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52am EDT Norway will make a final $100-million payment to Brazil this year to complete a $1-billion project that rewards a slowdown in forest loss in the Amazon basin, Norway's Environment Ministry said on Tuesday. Brazil had more than achieved a goal of reducing the rate of deforestation by 75 percent, the condition for the payments under an agreement for 2008-15 meant to protect the forest and slow climate change, it said. The remaining cash would be paid before a U.N. summit on climate change in Paris in December, the ministry said. Since 2008, Norway has paid about $900 million to Brazil's Amazon Fund.  "Brazil has established what has become a model for other national climate change funds," Norwegian Environment Minister Tine Sundtoft said in a statement......

13 September 2015: Felda denies WSJ report on workers’ abuse, hiring illegals, pick-up in Indonesia and Brazil deforestation post 2013,  RSPO reports only 10 fire hotspots occurred in RSPO-certified [land] compared to over 2,000 total fire hotspots in six months to 2 Sept

Trees covering an area twice the size of Portugal lost in 2014, study finds - Palm oil plantations are devouring forests rapidly worldwide, with west Africa becoming the new hot spot for tree loss, Wednesday 2 September 2015 04.00 BST; Data reveals that tree loss in Brazil and Indonesia is on the rise again – by 16% and 30% respectively since 2013 – despite longer term downward trends..

Data streams from dozens of sources help companies measure the risk of deforestation in their supply chains by Stacy Collett By Stacy Collett   Computerworld | Sep 2, 2015 3:30 AM PT; Today, about a dozen of the largest commodity traders and buyers in the world use the app.  The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) uses the tool for its alert and fire monitoring system to track fires and deforestation activity.  "Companies who are certified by RSPO had far fewer fire alerts" on their land, says Sanath Kumaran, head of impacts for RSPO in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. "During the last six months, only 10 fire hotspots occurred in RSPO-certified [land] compared to over 2,000 total fire hotspots in all other oil palm [land]."...

Felda denies WSJ report on workers’ abuse, hiring illegals Published: 28 August 2015 9:17 PM; Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) has investigated allegations of human rights abuses raised by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and clarified that it did not employ illegal immigrants. In a statement, it said a special taskforce was assembled and chaired by its group president and chief executive officer, Datuk Mohd Emir Mavani Abdullah, to investigate the allegations and reiterated that all its workers were employed in full compliance of all regulations and laws. - See more at:

21 July 2015: Sabah affirms 100% RSPO-certified by 2025 plan - Sabah Forestry Department director Sam Mannan

Note: It would be useful to know what RSPO policy adaptations relate to a state-wide adoption of RSPO standards

Sabah - 100% RSPO-certified palm oil by 2025, KUALA LUMPUR, July 20, 2015; Sabah aims to produce 100% Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified palm oil by 2025 – which would make it the first sub-national or state entity to fully commit to producing 100% RSPO certified palm oil..... State officials look to overcome these challenges to differentiate Sabah’s palm oil from other producers, especially given the rise in the number of companies that have adopted social and environmental safeguards for palm oil sourcing. “Both global demand and downstream industries will increasingly pull the supply chain for certified sustainable palm oil and Sabah must act to be ahead of the curve,” said Sabah Forestry Department director Sam Mannan. “With time, large competitors will inevitably outpace Sabah’s total output of palm oil. But with certification, Sabah can build itself as a niche producer of a branded good certified palm oil, and compete on the basis of governance and not size.” Studies have also suggested that the value of such certification efforts would provide dividends beyond public relations value by shifting adopters toward more efficient practices and bringing supply chains in line.... Cynthia Ong, director at Forever Sabah, an initiative that aims to fundamentally shift Sabah’s economy from resource extraction to sustainable enterprises, said: “Research shows that productivity of producers, especially smallholders, can increase dramatically after certification, allowing Sabah to gain in yield while also making conservation gains.”...

14 July 2015: First Resources goes with TFT / Greenpeace HCS Approach, promises not to develop forest with more than 35 tC/ha; Sept 2014 Bumitama shift and Manifesto 5's moratorium

First Resources the latest palm oil giant to announce zero-deforestation commitment by  Philip Jacobson  July 03, 2015; Palm oil giant First Resources has committed to eliminate deforestation and rights abuses from its supply chain, making it the industry's first company operating primarily at the grower level to do so. The policy, announced on Wednesday, is the latest in a wave of sustainability commitments from corporations that produce, trade and use palm oil.  First Resources' policy was designed in conjunction with a coalition of environmental groups, including Switzerland-headquartered The Forest Trust (TFT), whose founder, Scott Poynton, argues that companies must move beyond certification schemes for timber and agricultural commodities.....Where the RSPO does not ban all deforestation, for example, First Resources has prohibited the destruction of high carbon stock (HCS) forest. (The term, defined as containing more than 35 tons of carbon per hectare, generally applies to any forest more robust than shrubland.) The RSPO forbids clearance of high conservation value (HCV) forest but makes no mention of HCS. Glenn Hurowitz, a campaigner formerly with Forest Heroes, which also worked with First Resources, said the company deserves credit for responding to concerns raised by civil society....

Major Indonesian Palm Oil Grower Announces New Direction on Conserving Forests and Peat Posted by Glenn Hurowitz 4hc on September 13, 2014 Statement from Forest Heroes Campaign Chairman Glenn Hurowitz on Major Indonesian Palm Oil Grower Announces New Direction on Conserving Forests and Peat Serious Issues Remain, but Conservation Measures Offer a Template for Resolving Other Problems "Today, the supply chain worked. Bumitama’s forest conservation steps mark a breakthrough in which a very large scale Indonesian palm oil supplier publicly announced meaningful steps for forest conservation in response to new No Deforestation policies from major agricultural traders like Wilmar and GAR. The second green revolution is happening before our eyes. Agricultural producers are realizing that they can expand without converting natural ecosystems, upending thousands of years of assumptions about civilization’s growth. “Bumitama Agri announced that it would set aside more than 13,000 hectares of forest and peatland from development, after the results of a pilot study looking at deforestation’s impact on climate change and biodiversity. And they did it because they wanted access to global markets following zero-deforestation commitments from palm oil traders Wilmar and Golden Agri-Resources.  Notably, in its press release, Bumitama also attributed the move to a “response to the changing global trend on sustainability...

The Chain: Five large palm oil producers announce HCS moratorium 19 September 2014 by jbfinkelstein; Five large palm oil producers announce HCS moratorium, but questions remain. Five major palm oil producers – Sime Darby (SIME:MK), Asian Agri, IOI Corporation (IOI:MK), Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK:MK), and Musim Mas, – announced today that they would institute a moratorium on clearance of high carbon stock areas while a yearlong industry–sponsored study of what constitutes a forest is underway.... The move potentially signals a move towards a unified approach towards protecting forests in the palm oil industry. This group of growers had previously resisted the “No Deforestation” approach to forest conservation undertaken by Wilmar, GAR, Cargill and others, and instead promulgated a “Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto” that allowed continued clearing of high carbon stock forests....

27 June 2015:

PT Eagle High Plantations unit in spotlight on forest clearance, Indupalma became the second RSPO-certified company in Colombia, after Daabon, Palm giant Golden Agri renews green push, Conservation grade palm oil? Ruchi Soya inks deal with Solidaridad to scale up sustainable production in India

Palm giant Golden Agri renews green push after criticism on land use JAKARTA, June 17  |  By Michael Taylor Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:25am EDT Singapore-listed palm giant Golden Agri-Resources has renewed its commitment to sustainability to address customer concerns after an international body accused one of its Indonesian subsidiaries of breaching land acquisition rules.

Conservation grade palm oil? Scientists discover how to make sustainable palm oil profitable By Niamh Michail+, 17-Jun-2015; Scientists have found an ‘optimal point’ at which switching to sustainable palm oil production methods actually becomes profitable.

Palm oil giants to investigate company found razing Papuan rainforest; Monday 22 June 2015; Agribusiness giants Cargill and Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) are pledging to investigate a palm oil supplier after an Indonesian environmental group presented evidence of rainforest clearing in New Guinea. On Thursday, Greenomics-Indonesia released a report documenting destruction of forests in South Sorong, a regency in West Papua, Indonesian New Guinea. Greenomics found that PT Varia Mitra Andalan (VMA), a subsidiary of publicly-listed PT Eagle High Plantations Tbk, continued to clear high carbon stock forests through March 2015, potentially putting it in breach of sustainability commitments established last year by Cargill and GAR. Both companies buy significant volumes of product from Eagle High Plantations, according to public disclosures.  The findings led Greenomics to call on the companies to respect their “deforestation-free” sourcing policies. Both companies are signatories of the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP), a corporate commitment to eliminate deforestation from supply chains...

Good agricultural practices gain traction in Colombia 20 June 2015; In May, after in-depth work in understanding and implementing sustainable practices, and thanks to the commitment of the Farmer Support Programme (FSP), Indupalma became the second RSPO-certified company in Colombia, after Daabon. This achievement has motivated other companies from the palm oil sector to continue supporting Colombia in becoming a leader for sustainable agriculture...

Ruchi Soya inks deal with Solidaridad to scale up sustainable production in India 05 June 2015; Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte witnessed the signing of an agreement worth €4.5 million that is intended to reduce India's dependence on imports and save on foreign exchange. Ruchi Soya Industries Limited (Ruchi Soya), India’s number one edible oil and soya foods company, recently inked a deal with Solidaridad. Valued at €4.5 million, the deal was signed in the presence of the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Ruchi Soya will share 55% of this investment and Solidaridad the remaining 45%. The project will work on the principle of "Make in India" and "More Crop per Drop".

20 June 2015: Agro Lestari moves with IPOP

Palm oil giant announces deforestation freeze amid NGO campaign by Philip Jacobson  June 12, 2015; Palm oil giant Astra Agro Lestari has announced an immediate moratorium on land clearing, less than a month after the launch of an environmental campaign targeting one of its sister companies, the Mandarin Oriental hotel chain. The prohibition applies to Astra Agro's own plantations as well as to those of its suppliers, according to a statement posted yesterday to the company's website. Astra Agro characterized the freeze as a "major step" toward bringing its operations into line with the standards of the Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP), a high-profile, joint sustainability commitment signed by fellow industry titans Wilmar, Cargill, Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), Asian Agri and Musim Mas as well as the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin). Forest Heroes, the group that spearheaded the She's Not a Fan campaign against Mandarin – the title is a play off the hotel chain's celebrity-fan endorsement drive – welcomed the announcement...."It's time for GAPKI to become a force for conservation and responsible development, rather than fighting to maintain the old status quo," Forest Heroes chairman Glenn Hurowitz said....

Victory for campaigners as palm oil company vows to stop felling rainforest by  Ian Johnston Saturday 13 June 2015; Astra Agro Lestari (AAL), a subsidiary of the multinational conglomerate Jardine Matheson, announced a moratorium less than a month after The Independent on Sunday highlighted a campaign by pressure groups to make guests of the luxury Mandarin Hotel chain – another Jardine Matheson firm – aware of deforestation by AAL in Indonesia.

17 May 2015: RSPO strengthens its stance with RSPO+ Voluntary Addendum, Wilmar, Musim Mas supplier caught clearing elephant habitat for palm oil in Aceh, To make palm oil 'sustainable' local communities must be in charge Forest Peoples Programme, Multinationals cannot prevent palm oil deforestation on their own - collaboration needed

RSPO strengthens its stance on deforestation and human rights By Niamh Michail+, 07-May-2015; Stricter voluntary guidelines on deforestation, peatland development and indigenous people’s rights will strengthen the sustainable palm oil certification, says the RSPO.

European 100% sustainable palm oil target is realistic, says RSPO By Daisy Phillipson, 14-May-2015 Reaching the goal of 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) in Europe by 2020 is a big challenge with significant barriers, says RSPO, but one that is ultimately achievable with company and national commitments.

Wilmar, Musim Mas supplier caught clearing elephant habitat for palm oil in Aceh by Philip Jacobson May 12, 2015; A new report provides evidence that a supplier of palm oil giants Wilmar and Musim Mas is bulldozing valuable forests in Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem in violation of the companies’ zero-deforestation policies.  As of April 30, when the report’s author, policy development institute Greenomics Indonesia, conducted field checks to verify satellite imagery indicating the destruction, a Mopoli Raya Group subsidiary named Aloer Timur was clearing high-carbon stock (HCS) forest across its concession in Leuser, the only place on earth where Sumatran tigers, rhinos, elephants and orangutans still coexist in the wild.  Besides Wilmar and Musim Mas’ own commitments to purge their supply chains of deforestation, Aloer Timur’s activities would also seem to contravene the Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP), a high-profile, joint sustainability pact the two firms have entered into along with fellow industry titans Golden Agri-Resources, Asian Agri, Musim Mas and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin).  Musim Mas is aware of the report and is talking with Mopoli Raya, which has shown a willingness to cooperate, a Musim Mas spokesman told Mongabay.  “We would like to stress that the volume procured from Mopoli Raya is very insignificant to Musim Mas, but immediate discard of them from the supply chain will not provide a solution to protect the Leuser Ecosystem,” the spokesman wrote in an email. “Our strategy is to provide our expertise in sustainable development to our third-party suppliers who lack the skills and resources to achieve sustainable supplies.”;  Link to report:

Hope for palm oil livelihood and yield improvements in West Africa 25 September 2014; Solidaridad's Sustainable West Africa Palm oil Programme (SWAPP) hosted a workshop last week to share its Best Management Practices on palm oil agronomy. The key message from the workshop was one of optimism, namely that: yields in Ghana and West Africa region can reach 15-16 tonnes per hectare on well-managed farms. In other words, BMP holds promise for enhancing both yields and livelihoods. SWAPP, in collaboration with the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) and other stakeholders in the oil palm sector, are piloting Best Management Practices (BMP) initiatives in Ghana. Due to the need to supplement a limited domestic supply, the BMP initiative aims to enable farmers to adopt best agronomic practices in order to boost production to meet the huge demand in a country that already currently imports 70,000 tonnes of oil palm.; On Solidaridad: 2014-2015: Solidaridad is launching the Asian Sustainable Palm Oil (ASPO), a multi-stakeholder platform to support and promote sustainable palm oil production and consumption in the main Asian markets of India, China and Indonesia We supported nearly 10,000 palm oil workers and producers and had 71,365 hectares under sustainable management in 2013.

As ADM aims to end deforestation in its supply chain, will soy become the next palm oil? Soy may be next on the no-deforestation hit list, with a significant new corporate commitment from Archer Daniels Midland. Will real change result? by Leigh Stringer A journalist specializing in corporate sustainability, environmental issues and chemical regulation Wednesday 6 May 2015 16.57 BST  In a potentially big win for Latin American rainforests, Archer Daniels Midland, the third largest global supplier of agricultural commodities, has adopted a draft policy to end deforestation across its supply chains. The company is expected to formally announce the new plan at its shareholders meeting Thursday. ADM’s commitment rivals that of palm oil giant Wilmar’s anti-deforestation promise in 2013. This time, the product in question isn’t palm oil, but soybeans. ADM is one of the world’s leading soy traders and a top soy exporter in Latin America, where expanding production is a leading driver of deforestation across the Amazon and the Gran Chaco forest. It’s a pressing problem: Forest Trends, a Washington-based international nonprofit organization, estimates that 50%-70% of soy exports – about 31m tons – have displaced forests in Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay.  This isn’t ADM’s first agricultural commitment to Brazil. The company abides by both the Brazil Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources’ embargo and the 2006 Brazilian Soy Moratorium (SoyM), a voluntary commitment to avoid trading, acquiring or financing soybeans from areas of the Amazon Biome that were deforested after July 2006. But ADM’s new policy does advance from previous commitments. The centerpiece of the new move is a pilot version of the company’s Responsible Soy Standard, which it is launching with a group of Brazilian growers. Under the program, expert third party inspectors will conduct yearly assessments to determine if growers are adhering to a broad set of social, environmental, legal and agronomic standards. Among other things, th  program will grade farmers on their labor practices, water and soil usage, solid waste management, observance of land rights, legal compliance and fertilizer consumption.

To make palm oil 'sustainable' local communities must be in charge Forest Peoples Programme 14th May 2015; The palm oil industry's repeated failure to keep its promises illustrates why global initiatives to achieve 'sustainable palm oil' must place communities centre-stage, writes FPP. Standard-setters like the RSPO must demand action, enforcement and accountability - not just lofty commitments that inspire hope, but rarely deliver.

Multinationals cannot prevent palm oil deforestation on their own; Individual action, even by major players in the palm oil industry, cannot prevent large-scale destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests. Collaboration is key. Andrew Bovarnick, Samantha Newport and Tomoyuki Uno; The Green Commodities Programme at the UNDP Wednesday 13 May 2015 12.56 BST;    Shortly after taking office last year, Indonesian President Joko Widodo vowed to crack down on deforestation resulting from palm oil expansion. Last month, vice-president Jusuf Kalla called on the international community to partner with Indonesia on investing in green development at The Tropical Landscapes Summit (TLS) in Jakarta. The government has also launched a mandatory certification scheme – the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) standard – to legalise and organise production, particularly that of small producers, by providing a legal baseline standard that will complement the voluntary Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standard. ISPO, like new standards, has to overcome challenges to become robust and credible, but once fully operational has the potential to raise the standards of all growers in the country and have a major positive impact on the sector.  In recent years, a series of commitments and pledges have been made by major companies to cease producing, trading or buying palm oil linked to deforestation and exploitative practices. This is in response to consumers and retailers voicing demands for ethically produced products.  Four major palm oil traders – Wilmar International, Golden Agri Resources (GAR), Asian Agri and Cargill – all adopted zero-deforestation policies last year. These companies were represented at the TLS and all emphasised the need to look beyond their supply chains and address major barriers to producing sustainable palm oil, and the need for government leadership to bring about change.
The recent RSPO announcement to request GAR to stop expansion reflects the challenge faced by leading companies to adhere to sustainable practices and non-deforestation pledges. A large portion of their supply chains consist of a complex web of smallholders, middlemen and third-party suppliers, which makes traceability extremely difficult. Many of these suppliers lack the means to increase productivity, adhere to sustainability standards and even apply for documentation to make themselves legal.  This is why companies and government need to work together to start shifting the sector towards improved legality and sustainability. This is beyond a corporate supply chain initiative and requires intervention at the landscape level. Recognising the value of smallholders - A major reason for this is that these companies realise that a key challenge to address – and for which the participation of all stakeholders is a must – is that of smallholder farmers. They typically farm 25 hectares (61.75 acres) or less but are responsible for farming at least 40% of the total land area planted with oil palm. There is a growing momentum for collaborative and sustained change that can strengthen Indonesia’s economic advantage in the palm oil sector (and, by ripple effect, in other sectors) in an environmentally sustainable way. The Ministry of Agriculture launched the Indonesian Palm Oil Platform (InPOP) last year to bring together stakeholders to tackle the problems head on, together. The Indonesian government should be applauded for opening itself up for such dialogue and cooperation.

4 April 2015: While buyers like ADM start to move on soy sustainability, interesting to note Brazil pesticides issue

ADM Commits to No-Deforestation Policy for Soybeans, Palm Oil  'By'Shruti Date Singh  12:00 AM HKT  April 1, 2015; (Bloomberg) -- Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., a global supplier of agricultural commodities, has pledged to curb deforestation that results from the farming of soybeans and palm trees.  ADM is committing to developing ways to trace crops it processes, make those supply chains transparent and protect forests globally, according to Victoria Podesta, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based company. The policy “combines a clear commitment to no deforestation with progressive action focused on our most critical supply chains,” Podesta said Monday in an e-mailed statement.  The policy for soy production is the first for that crop.....

Special Report: Why Brazil has a big appetite for banned pesticides LIMOEIRO DO NORTE, Brazil
(Reuters) - The farmers of Brazil have become the world’s top exporters of sugar, orange juice, coffee, beef, poultry and soybeans. They’ve also earned a more dubious distinction: In 2012, Brazil passed the United States as the largest buyer of pesticides. This rapid growth has made Brazil an enticing market for pesticides banned or phased out in richer nations because of health or environmental risks. At least four major pesticide makers – U.S.-based FMC Corp., Denmark’s Cheminova A/S, Helm AG of Germany and Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta AG – sell products here that are no longer allowed in their domestic markets, a Reuters review of registered pesticides found. Among the compounds widely sold in Brazil: paraquat, which was branded as “highly poisonous” by U.S. regulators. Both Syngenta and Helm are licensed to sell it here....

30 March 2015: Musim Mas with Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge, aims to join POIG

Musim Mas Goes Green With New Palm Oil Pledge By Jakarta Globe on 10:43 pm Mar 29, 2015
Jakarta. Musim Mas, one of Indonesia’s biggest traders in palm oil, has announced that it has joined the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge, environmental group Greenpeace said in its press release.
The IPOP signatories are a number of progressive Indonesian palm oil companies that have announced they will follow steps to stop deforestation in their own concessions and supply chains.
Together with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin), they are urging the government to introduce strong measures to ensure forest and peatland protection.... “Greenpeace welcomes Musim Mas’s decision to join IPOP, and hopes that the IPOP signatory companies will combine to voice a strong call for conservation to the Indonesian government,” Greenpeace said in the statement.... The next step for IPOP signatories like Musim Mas is to take necessary measures to put their ambitious commitments into practice, Greenpeace said. These companies need to ensure there is no link to forest clearance and peatlands in their supply chains and work closely with suppliers to comply with their commitments.... Musim Mas is also in the process of applying for membership to the Palm Oil Innovation Group, which means it will commit to independent, third-party verification of its compliance with the charter.... In addition, Greenpeace said Musim Mas is to be commended for becoming a member of the High Carbon Stock Approach Steering Group. HCS puts “No Deforestation” into practice, ensuring a practical, transparent, and scientifically credible approach that is widely accepted to implement commitments to halt deforestation in the tropics, while ensuring that the rights, livelihoods and aspirations of local peoples are respected....

14 March 2015: Matt Ridley argues for fossil fuels efficiency shifts not subsidies to wealthy crony capitalists; big palm oil "develops a green conscience" - Bloomberg; in palm oil green standards as in Halal standards - there's a prevalence of multiple standards and customers paying for the higher costs (and some profits on top of this...  some buyers worry)

14 March 2015: Halal standards also shows prevalence of multiple standards and customers paying for the higher costs...  No benefit from single Halal standard, says Brazil poultry body 10-Mar-2015; No cost advantage.. He dismissed the idea that a single standard might allow poultry producers to cut costs, saying that producers simply passed on costs to their customers: "It's not a question of easy or not easy, or more costly or less costly - we just say, if you want us to do this, we will do it. If you want us to improve the Halal controls, have two supervisors instead of one, we will do it, and it will cost you."...; Note:  In palm oil sustainability or other standards as in Halal standards - there's a prevalence of multiple standards and customers paying for the higher costs (and a profit margin on top of cost too, some buyers worry...)

The Saturday Essay: Fossil Fuels Will Save the World (Really) - There are problems with oil, gas and coal, but their benefits for people—and the planet—are beyond dispute By Matt Ridley March 13, 2015 5:33 p.m. ET;.... As for renewable energy, hydroelectric is the biggest and cheapest supplier, but it has the least capacity for expansion. Technologies that tap the energy of waves and tides remain unaffordable and impractical, and most experts think that this won’t change in a hurry. Geothermal is a minor player for now. And bioenergy—that is, wood, ethanol made from corn or sugar cane, or diesel made from palm oil—is proving an ecological disaster: It encourages deforestation and food-price hikes that cause devastation among the world’s poor, and per unit of energy produced, it creates even more carbon dioxide than coal.... We should encourage the switch from coal to gas in the generation of electricity, provide incentives for energy efficiency, get nuclear power back on track and keep developing solar power and electricity storage. We should also invest in research on ways to absorb carbon dioxide from the air, by fertilizing the ocean or fixing it through carbon capture and storage. Those measures all make sense. And there is every reason to promote open-ended research to find some unexpected new energy technology.... The one thing that will not work is the one thing that the environmental movement insists upon: subsidizing wealthy crony capitalists to build low-density, low-output, capital-intensive, land-hungry renewable energy schemes, while telling the poor to give up the dream of getting richer through fossil fuels.... Mr. Ridley is the author of “The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves” and a member of the British House of Lords.

A Palm Oil King Develops a Green Conscience - Wilmar International’s chairman is cleaning up the industry that made him a billionaire  by Yuriy Humberand Ranjeetha Pakiam 2:24 AM HKT  March 13, 2015; The sprawling palm oil industry has long been a destroyer of rain forests and tormentor of endangered species across Southeast Asia, to hear environmental groups tell it. And if one executive embodied this $50 billion business, it was Kuok Khoon Hong, a 65-year-old Singaporean commodities magnate. Known as the palm oil king, Kuok is a member of one of Asia’s most powerful business clans and co-founder and chairman of Wilmar International. These days he is no longer portrayed as a villain by activists and nongovernmental organizations. He’s become central to their campaign to prod the palm oil industry to adopt eco-friendly business practices that may start to slow the environmental damage in the region. “I would consider myself an environmentalist today,” he says. “I changed a few years ago when I saw the damage climate change had on the environment in some countries.”...  Greenpeace videos alleging that palm oil buyers including Unilever and Procter & Gamble contribute to deforestation scored millions of YouTube hits. On an investor call, environmentalists heckled the chief executive officer of Kellogg about buying palm oil from Wilmar. In 2013, Singapore, where Wilmar is based and Kuok lives, was covered in ash from plantation fires tied to the industry..... Wilmar had argued that it was primarily a trading company and didn’t play a direct role in the environmental abuses—and thus couldn’t be expected to police the industry. Nevertheless, it was an attractive target for critics. One activist went on TV to blame Singapore’s ash on Wilmar. “I asked myself what we did wrong for us to be so wrongly accused,” Kuok Khoon Hong says.... Kuok tracked down Hurowitz. Within weeks the former tormentor was in Kuok’s office laying out a plan to change the palm oil industry and eradicate its links to deforestation. Face to face with Kuok, Hurowitz says he found the businessman interested in what he had to say. “He had not been focused on the environmental issues until we started talking,” Hurowitz says. “He deserves enormous credit for being open-minded.”.... The push to clean up palm oil production faces big challenges. It’s a fragmented industry, and not every company has joined the sustainability push. Nor are the initiatives Wilmar and others have signed on to legally binding. Restoring the lost rain forests and animal habitats will take decades.....

Going Green: Can Palm Oil Be Good for the Environment? 9:50 AM HKT  March 13, 2015
Palm oil has widespread uses but the industry's poor reputation is just as prevalent. For years plantation growers sacrificed forests and wildlife to make something found in almost 50 percent of shopping baskets around the world. However, in the face of a rising wave of criticism, change IS coming. Bloomberg's Haslinda Amin has been to Malaysia to see how the industry is attempting to go green. (Source: Bloomberg)

5 March 2015: Greenpeace halts APP deal on allegations of farmer murder

Greenpeace halts APP deal after brutal murder Jon Afrizal, The Jakarta Post, Jambi | Headlines | Tue, March 03 2015, 6:26 AM .box-profile; Environmental group Greenpeace has suspended cooperation with giant Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) as police are trying to prevent further violence after a farmer was allegedly beaten to death in Jambi by guards linked to the company. Bustar Maitar, the head of Greenpeace’s Indonesia forest campaign, told Agence France-Presse on Monday that the group was temporarily withdrawing support for the company’s initiatives on forest conservation.Maitar said support for APP would be suspended until the case was “settled in a transparent and fair manner”

older news on Greenpeace in Indonesia

31 January 2015: Malaysia launches own palm oil standard with RM53 million support fund

Cost, cynicism and frustration: Malaysian government launches own palm oil standard By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+ , 30-Jan-2015; The Malaysian government has launched its own sustainable palm oil certification standard – but will this add to or detract from sustainability and transparency efforts in the sector? ....Unilever: "necessary but not sufficient" .... The commodities minister: "We want our industry to be certified...." and said one of the problems with RSPO was its "moving the goal posts" by continually adding new conditions.... Previously, the government had offered 50m Malaysian Ringgits (EUR 12.17 million) to help smallholders gain RSPO certification, but take up of the scheme had been poor. As a result this budget has been upped by 3m Malaysian ringgits and reallocated to a support fund encouraging producers to gain the MSPO certification....

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 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....
Wilmar's supply policy 4Q2014 report here:

7 December 2014: Musim Mas moves on TFT traceability

Musim Mas ups the ante on sustainability, Press Release, 4 December 2014, Singapore – Musim Mas announces its Sustainability Policy today, which re-affirms its commitment to bring benefits to the community, respect the rights of smallholders to develop or conserve their land, while maintaining a strict guideline of No Deforestation, No Peatland development and No Exploitation. The policy ensures that development will be carried out responsibly, with a positive impact on the rights and welfare of local communities.... The policy takes effect immediately across Musim Mas global operations and extends to all third-party suppliers with whom the Group either has a purchase agreement or a trading relationship. By the end of 2016, all palm oil sourced by Musim Mas will be traceable to the Group's and third parties' plantations. In the interim period, by the end of 2015, all palm oil sourced by the Group will be traceable to the mills. Musim Mas will provide support for its smallholders and out-growers in a fair, transparent and accountable manner. The Group views the establishment of a fully traceable supply chain as an important step towards sustainable palm oil production.... The Group remains committed to the High Carbon Stock (HCS) methodology which will be developed by the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto Steering Committee[1]. The Steering Committee is led by leading environmentalist Sir Jonathon Porritt and eminent forest ecologist Dr John Raison. In the interim period when the methodology is being developed, Musim Mas will not develop on any potential HCS forest as defined by the HCS Approach Steering Group[2].... In cases of new acquisitions with palm oil mills, Musim Mas will strive to achieve implementation of this policy and RSPO certification within three years of acquisition..... Musim Mas adopted a multi-stakeholder approach in developing this policy by consulting various stakeholders. As an affirmation of its commitment to the implementation of this policy, the Group has also joined The Forest Trust (TFT) as one of its members.

From company website, Sustainability Journal 2014; The Sustainability Journal is our in-house newsletter which provides updates on how we implement our sustainability plan on the ground through actions and partnerships.

NGO reactions:
Musim Mas says its palm oil will be deforestation-free Rhett A. Butler, December 04, 2014;

Palm Giant Musim Mas Commits to Stop Trafficking Conflict Palm Oil by Laurel sutherlin, Posted on Dec 05 2014;

Palm traceability sector (update 3a): GAR/Sinar Mas back in NGO focus, TFT suspends Golden Agri takes (and hours later a new chief sustainability officer is appointed for the plantation giant - Agus Purnomo)

21 May 2015: TFT suspends Golden Agri takes (and hours later a new chief sustainability officer is appointed for the plantation giant - Agus Purnomo)
Key issues and questions arising from Golden Agri / PT Smart's present situation:
  • Despite innovative industry attempts to promote traceability as a more inclusive solution (versus RSPO which struggles to include small producers and independent smallholders) while heightening key pledges such as "no deforestation, no peat and no exploitation," recent events raise the question of whether producers can live up to promises ("hastily made" according to many key industry players). 
  • Is palm oil entering a renewed phase of boycott risks? At the SIIA Singapore Dialogue, several IPOP members sat on a panel where Wilmar made a public pledge that it would (if told by other IPOP members) stop buying from any "errant suppliers" who were unable to make the necessary upgrade moves (and if it found such, it would stop buying; tell its fellows and request they would do likewise). Other panelists suggested more focus on constructively working with suppliers for improvement rather than boycott. If agreed, the IPOP "supplier boycott" proposal should give some teeth to the group. But it seems that IPOP members are not clear of the boycott risk themselves; with Golden Agri, a lead member itself now facing RSPO censure and TFT suspension.
  • Many industry players regard the shift to TFT B2B traceability as part of a processor-trader led move to find a more business-ready solution (that now seeks to shift the centre of gravity to refinery "supply sheds"; away from the RSPO mill and supply base P&C and RSPO's relatively costly physical supply chain SCCS outlook). The palm oil supply chain has since the mid 2000s been spending time and effort via NGO service providers, auditors and their newly established sustainability teams.
  • Industry watchers have been concerned about how widely known implementation gaps among the top highly rated traceable plantation groups will be treated by the broader NGO sector. Clearly, business life is hardly straight forward and the current issues suggest that there is no place for over-confidence and complacency while using new solutions. It seems we are entering a "third wave" where social issues and implementation will be primary - but have the big plantation groups put in enough resourcing to upgrade their implementation efforts to their pledges?  
Some background on IPOP group here: Tuesday, October 7, 2014 Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP) /khorreports-palmoil/2014/10/indonesia-palm-oil-pledge.html. At the SIIA dialogue we had a useful chat with a Catapult Campaigns staffers who confirmed their key role in the New York Declaration and IPOP. On the risk of large dominant players establishing boycotts on smaller suppliers (raising question on economic interest suppression), there was no answer. A key consideration is on campaign advocacy efficiency and impact.

News link:

Golden Agri takes another hit as sustainability guru suspends its membership by Philip Jacobson May 20, 2015; The charity that Indonesia's Golden Agri-Resources has enlisted to devise and implement its zero-deforestation and community-engagement commitments suspended its cooperation with the palm oil giant yesterday, following "several breaches" of the policies they had designed together, according to The Forest Trust (TFT), which helps companies run responsible supply chains. A few hours after TFT announced the suspension, Singapore-listed Golden Agri said in a statement that its chief sustainability officer, Peter Heng, had resigned "to pursue new career opportunities." His replacement is Agus Purnomo, who has headed one of Golden Agri's Indonesian subsidiaries, Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology (Smart). Smart's own subsidiary, Kartika Prima Cipta, became the subject of a formal complaint against its operations last year after Golden Agri filed to expand its plantations in 18 of its subsidiaries including Kartika Prima, despite evidence that Kartika Prima had taken community land without residents' informed consent, failed to properly conduct a high-conservation value (HCV) assessment and more. The grievance was lodged by the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), a UK-based NGO, with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the industry's largest voluntary certification scheme. Though TFT was vague in its announcement, the suspension is almost certainly a response to what is apparently seen as Golden Agri and Smart's lackluster handling of the RSPO complaint, which takes on additional importance because Kartika Prima is piloting Golden Agri's sustainability commitments. The RSPO upheld the complaint in March and earlier this month prohibited Golden Agri from "acquiring or developing any new areas" pending its resolution.... Read more:

16 May 2015: It's not plain sailing for plantations who've gone in with the "second wave" of heightened "three nos" on peat, deforestation and exploitation

It's not plain sailing for plantations who've gone in with the "second wave" of heightened "three nos" on peat, deforestation and exploitation. Sector risk is of a "third wave" of rather tough to resolve social issues, which may be heightened due to the HCS / high carbon stock regimes coming into play.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has prohibited Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), one of its most prominent members, from "acquiring or developing any new areas" pending the resolution of a formal complaint against the palm oil giant in Indonesia's West Kalimantan province.  The decision by the RSPO, the world's largest voluntary certification scheme for palm oil, is a stern directive from an organization that has been criticized for failing to take action against companies that flout its standards....  Read more:<<a%20href=>">

16 Jan 2014:

Khor Reports comment: Plantation partnership deals with some NGOs does not preclude good implementation and monitoring by other NGOs. GAR/Sinar Mas had faced boycotts and enlisted TFT-Greenpeace to help (Wilmar is now also signed up on TFT-Greenpeace HCS Approach and other principles). Now, plantation planners should prepare for larger set-aside areas for their new plantings.

The latest news on GAR from a study by Forest Peoples Program / FPP (see news links) highlights some problems of high carbon stock (HCS)/social implementations of the new policies of TFT-Greenpeace for GAR. GAR said, “We thank FPP for their additional findings which have assisted our own full field audit of PT KPC, conducted in partnership with The Forest Trust.” Separately, APRIL and RGE are under pressure from Greenpeace.

How the deal was done - changing palm oil trade policy to eliminate deforestation: the Wilmar-TFT-Forest Heroes story

This is a very in-depth (long) and interesting reportage of what went on behind the scenes to drive the 5 Dec 2013 shift to the "no peat, no deforestation, no...." policies. I remember this period quite vividly for all the chatter swirling over large plantation groups pondering over these new pledge terms. These are being operationalised as de facto trade standards for the palm oil trade, and percolating surely down to the entire supply-chain. It is part of  the "second wave" of NGO policy makers into the palm oil sector (first wave being lead by WWF-RSPO).

What it doesn't discuss: It doesn't talk much about the traceability versus certification issues*. Nor does it address the many commercial drivers associated with these. Also, traceability deforestation policies have different special clauses for each company; so you'd probably need to seriously read it to tease out the big commercial impacts. That's a big difference versus the more public RSPO program.
*Traceability moves: RSPO Traceability Taskforce has IDH who runs Palm Oil Traceability Working Group initiative /khorreports-palmoil/2015/04/traceability-moves-rspo-traceability.html

Looking ahead. Questions: Will there be a  third wave? On social issues** perhaps? Notably, as more service-providing NGOs enter the palm oil fray, and as policy areas get earmarked by different groups of NGOs, the push is into more challenging (= complex and costly) policy areas (like social issues) and also the spread to other commodities such as cane sugar and others will be useful to observe. Already, those operating in Indonesia note that local NGOs are already quite active on these issues, but there is certainly room for more? With limited growth potential (under the new realities of enviro-social "voluntary" policies) for large companies in Indonesia, the push is on downstream expansion and also growth elsewhere, including in Africa.
**Social issues could relate to local peoples, indigenous rights and labour contestation. Example, Blockade at Wilmar mill could erupt into full-blown strike by  Andi Fachrizl April 03, 2015;

In our conversation with Indonesia specialists the last few days, we note the bottom line: Plantable areas dropping to around 50% or lower on HCS enviro standards, depending on site and domestic policy overlays; and the socio-economic inti:plasma ratios seen more operational in the 60:40 range across oil palm and cane sugar. Also, consider how the purchase of external crop from forested areas will be handled? This policy is said to be about the business of reforestation cum soft/food crop concessions - how can existing farmers be accommodated, and will more plantations have to develop their skill-sets in such a reforestation move?

The Corporate Capture of Sustainable Development by Leslie Sklair; /khorreports-palmoil/2015/05/the-corporate-capture-of-sustainable.html


48 hours that changed the future of rainforests By Nathanael Johnson, 2 Apr 2015

Catchy excerpts:

Hurowitz emailed his co-workers at Forest Heroes, the nonprofit he’d founded, telling them to prepare for a protracted struggle. “I said, ‘Suit up, we’re going to war’,” Hurowitz told me. Then he got into bed, deflated. As he was settling in, his iPhone chimed a new text message. It was Scott Poynton, head of The Forest Trust, who had been working closely with Hurowitz and Kuok. Kuok was ready to make a commitment, the text said......Hurowitz rushed to book a flight to Singapore. That Monday, he was on the airplane...... It takes 24 hours to fly from Washington, D.C., to Singapore. By the time Hurowitz got off the plane, he saw he had another email from Kuok. Perhaps the time was not right, the palm oil exec was saying now; he wasn’t going to make any commitments unless the other palm oil companies did the same...... Hurowitz knew that wasn’t going to happen. Negotiations had been proceeding for years and had consistently failed to stop the chainsaws. He fired back an email with a picture of protesters holding banners outside the Kellogg’s headquarters in Battle Creek, Mich. (Kellogg’s bought oil from Wilmar.)...... “Every one of your customers’ headquarters is going to look like this,” Hurowitz remembers writing. “This is an opportunity to distinguish yourself.” Then he waited. There was no immediate response from Kuok. “That was a good sign, because usually if he was mad he’d fire something right back.” Two hours later, Kuok sent an email telling Hurowitz they would talk over dinner...........Within 48 hours, Wilmar had signed a sweeping commitment that went further than any other company in the industry. Wilmar not only promised to stop cutting down forests; it pledged to ensure that all the farmers it bought from did the same..........

.............One day, Kuok’s wife confronted him: She had seen an interview on Bloomberg Television in which Hurowitz lay the blame for the haze on Wilmar. Here’s how Poynton later told me that conversation went. (I didn’t get to speak directly to Kuok for this article.) “His wife said to him, the TV and all the articles in the news are saying that this is your fault that we are all choking here. She asked him, ‘What’s going on?’”... Kuok was upset. Surely Wilmar was a more responsible corporate citizen than some of the other traders. It was by the book and law-abiding, in the Singaporean way. Why was this fellow on Bloomberg singling them out?........... “You have been a huge part of the Asian success story,” he remembers telling Kuok. “Now it’s time to solve the Asian environmental crisis.” Then he flew to Singapore to meet Kuok in person.....

..........Hurowitz suggested that Wilmar bring in Scott Poynton’s organization, The Forest Trust, to help work out a more detailed approach to changing his company’s palm oil sourcing. Coincidentally, Goon had also emailed Poynton, asking for his help. The Forest Trust is a nonprofit that contracts with companies to teach them how to stop deforestation. “Glenn [Hurowitz] was able to raise the problems, but he was not able to raise solutions,” Poynton said. “That’s my role. I’m the guy who shows you the path out of the wilderness.”....... Poynton also got a lecture from Kuok when they first met, but, having been through this process with business leaders many times, he was expecting it. Kuok, Poynton said, felt misunderstood by the activists in the nonprofits and NGOs. So it made perfect sense that he would spend those first meetings trying to get Hurowitz and Poynton to see things from his perspective.......Hurowitz was the catalyst, Goon said. “But he’s not the one who convinced Mr. Kuok to take the plunge. Scott Poynton’s role was probably the most crucial. I think Mr. Kuok resonated a lot with Scott. Scott was the guy who knew his stuff, [he was] my chairman’s sounding board, his voice of reason, and perhaps his voice of conscience too, to a certain extent.”
By midsummer, Kuok had decided that Wilmar had both the ability and responsibility to effect change in the palm oil industry
. It’s hard to know what was going on in his head, but we do know that he had a growing interest in the environment....

......Kuok didn’t want it to look like he was bowing to the pressure of activists and NGOs. But it was getting harder to do that as the environmental nonprofits stepped up their campaigns. The NGOs had all aimed their fusillades at Wilmar, because it had the greatest market share and greatest ability to move the industry..... In September, Kuok met with Greenpeace official Bustar Maitar and other Greenpeace leaders in Singapore. “He asked me what he should tell them,” Poynton remembered. “I said, tell them everything, inspire them with your vision! So here’s this 64-year old Asian billionaire, confronted by these young Greenpeace people, and he opened himself to them totally, and thought the meeting went very well.”....

Kuok also said he’d show Greenpeace the policy he’d been developing. But Wilmar delayed sending it over. It had begun negotiating with Unilever, to try to get the Roundtable members to adopt this policy, and the policy was in flux........In October, Greenpeace released a report called “License to Kill” filled with heartbreaking pictures of wounded orangutans and smoking wastelands. It featured a prominent indictment of Wilmar. Then Greenpeace activists broke into a Wilmar plantation, crashing through the gate and unfurling banners. ..........Poynton implored Maitar to hold off further actions until after Dec. 5. The companies in the Roundtable were thinking about signing the policy that Wilmar and Unilever had negotiated, and they had promised to make a decision by that date. Just wait until Dec. 5, Poynton urged Maitar. If Kuok failed to act by then, it meant he needed more pressure.....

Nov. 27, 2013... Goon, Poynton, and Hurowitz had worked feverishly to get the other companies in the Roundtable to adopt their policy, but at least three of the corporations in the Roundtable had rejected it, and all the other palm-oil traders seemed to be balking......... At 10:41 p.m. Poynton sent a long email from his home near Geneva, Switzerland, to Kuok, urging him to sign, rather than wait for consensus. A few hours later, midday in Singapore, Kuok responded noncommittally, indicating that he would only sign if two others corporations, Cargill and Musim Mas, also pledged to end deforestation......... Kuok didn’t want to be the only one breaking ranks. If Wilmar acted alone, he pointed out, it might look like it was responding to attacks from the NGOs, rather making a solid business decision, that the other companies would be likely to emulate. He wanted to bring the other companies along, he said, and it would be more difficult to do that if it looked like Wilmar had switched sides....... 1:30 a.m., Nov. 28, 2013, Switzerland......... As soon as he received Kuok’s email, Poynton began hammering at his keyboard, speedily composing a 2,000-word response. Poynton argued that if Kuok was worried about alienating the other companies, this was the time to act, because the NGO campaigns would only intensify. The acrimony would only get worse. The people who wanted to keep making money destroying forests and people’s lives were hiding behind Wilmar, letting it absorb the PR attacks, while thwarting the very changes that Kuok wanted to make to stop the destruction, he wrote. Finally, he told Kuok he could throw out this latest Roundtable manifesto for all he cared. You know your own values, Poynton said; simply make those values Wilmar policy.
“It was time to just get it out there and say, for fuck’s sake — pardon my language — you know the path, you’ve known it since August. And now you are saying that you won’t go down the path unless your stupid mates go with you. And they aren’t ready,” Poynton told me
.... At the last minute, Poynton attached a cartoon by Michael Leunig, showing a powerful but lonely man whose heart contained “the deepest pit in the world.” But in the bottom of that black pit, the last panel reads, “lay the lightest, loveliest, tenderest, most beautiful, happy angel in the universe. So things weren’t so bad after all.”... Poynton knew he was taking a risk. Would it look like he was saying that Kuok was a lonely, dark-hearted man, with just a flicker of good in him? He hesitated, then thought: “No, bugger it, I’m going to send it. If he reacts badly he’s not the right bloke. But if he is the guy I think he is, he’ll resonate to it.”....... 7:30 a.m., Nov. 29, 2013, Singapore..... The response would come a little under 24 hours later. Kuok gently teased Poynton for writing such a long and impassioned email. He said he still wanted to persuade another company to join them, but he had talked to Goon and another executive, and he was ready to sign........

.....Unilever, which declined to comment for this story, was the most important Wilmar customer telling Kuok not to sign, said Poynton, who had grown increasingly frustrated with the company
.....“Let’s write to [Unilever CEO Paul] Polman,” he said.... “Right,” said Poynton. That made sense: Bypass the midlevel Unilever employees, go straight to the top. .....When they finally arrived, Engel met them at the door. He wasn’t smiling. He’d gotten their email, forwarded by Polman, with a brusque note to sort it out, Poynton recalls......... They spoke in a conference room in a newly constructed Unilever training facility on the edge of the city. Things didn’t look good. Unilever wasn’t going to break ranks and sign the Roundtable manifesto with Wilmar, and Engel didn’t have the authority to shift that position........ But according to Poynton, Engel had long questioned the commitment to consensus. After hours of hashing it out, Engel thought up a compromise. Unilever had recently asked for bids to supply it with a large quantity of palm oil; Wilmar was in line to get a big piece of that contract. Engel offered to add a line to that contract making it contingent on Wilmar signing the sustainability policy. In other words, Unilever would award the contract to Wilmar only if it committed to ending deforestation.... .By 5:30 p.m. the work was done, and everyone met back at the Unilever building. Kuok arrived just before 6 p.m. and the others met him outside. Poynton half-lifted his palms from his sides. Kuok reciprocated the gesture and smiled. Neither man is a casual hugger, but they walked forward and embraced.... Engel and Kuok signed the agreement. Cameras flashed. Champagne corks popped. But Poynton was still nervous. He’d promised Bustar Maitar, of Greenpeace, that Wilmar would make an announcement by Dec. 5. And if there was no announcement on Wilmar’s website, Poynton expected a Greenpeace campaign. “I knew that the guns were loaded and pointed,” he said.....

.........Of course, that, too, was a false ending. Sure, one year later, every major palm oil trader had made pledges like Wilmar. But not all these companies are truly committed. Some seem to be backsliding already. Forests are still burning. Some brands, like Kraft, have refused to commit to deforestation-free palm oil. Others, like Burger King and McDonald’s, haven’t updated their policies to require anything more than Roundtable certification..... But the accepted norm has shifted, as has the momentum. And it is spreading to other products. Last September, a host of major companies made vague promises to end deforestation. Cargill stepped up with a clear commitment to eliminate deforestation from all its supply chains, across all commodities, all around the world. Then ADM committed to a no-deforestation commitment for soy and palm oil, with even more details about how it would make it work......

........Since the Wilmar pledge, Hurowitz has shown an ability to achieve results, Poynton said, because he is not purely oppositional. “Glenn’s a different kettle of fish,” Poynton said. “He can see the good in these people. He’s ready to sit down and engage with them as a human.”.... Several activists told me they thought Wilmar changed thanks to the accumulated pressure. Perhaps. Or perhaps NGOs had been failing for years to make the kind of connection Hurowitz achieved with Kuok. Probably both are part true: Kuok needed the NGO pressure to start thinking about this, and he also needed the pragmatic partnership he found in Poynton and Hurowitz.....

Sustainable palm oil - RSPO vs Greenpeace, Greenpeace targets, French nutrition policy, Club of Rome

On the recent RSPO meeting in Europe, interesting excerpts include the following, and we put contextual comments in blue:

the (palm oil) sector needs "violent endangerment" to keep the debate going

Marks & Spencer's sustainable development manager Fiona Wheatley: "food businesses and consumers didn't understand the impact emerging economics could fact if pressures to source 100% sustainable palm oil built too quickly... (RSPO) has created a lifeline between partners who have had not contact before... some companies and brands (are looking) for alternative partnerships[1]...  we need to make sure we have a stronger standard... we sometimes need those different opinions and a bit of violent endangerment to keep things moving... and aspirations high..." - this seems to refer to the RSPO vs TFT-Greenpeace competition over market share in sustainability programs. This has even resulted in RSPO issuing an open letter to ask TFT to collaborate with them. It is interesting that a duopoly in non-Europe biofuel certification is not thought well of and the monopolistic approach is preferred (different from what is seen in soy sustainability). Here RSPO's call for TFT collaboration:  and Mongabay talks about it here:

Cynthia Ong of Land Empowerment Animals and People: "pressures from western (NGOs) such as Greenpeace, were frustrating producers in Malaysia and Indonesia... communities say they want to plant oil palm because it will put food on their tables and the best option we can present them is RSPO certification - ditto

Pat Vendetti, Greenpeace senior forest campaigner: "our focus is on ending deforestation and not tearing down the palm oil industry and the RSPO... another myth is there's a neo-colonial plot.. it's too convenient an excuse for the Malaysian government to trot out...we need to change the mind-set of the Malaysian government..." - sustainability is widely viewed from industry as a non-tariff barrier and it has raised such concerns that the WTO is trying to define "private standards" and that the UN is also looking it; as they note that these typically end up disadvantaging small and marginal producers.

Puvan Selvanathan, UN global compact head of sustainable agriculture (former Sime Darby): "all of the energy we put into debate.. could be better spent looking for a solution.. the message of doing a good thing is being lost in the heat and the emotion. It's a tough sell to have one group of people to tell you how to live your life..."  - in palm oil sustainability, the approach has been driven more by corporate to NGO negotiations (this differs from soy, where there is more government and industry association mediation, on the buy as well as the sell side). Although it is labelled as multi-stakeholder, there are some gaps: a) government is not involved, resulting in problematic differences in the private standard versus regulations and laws; and b) practitioners tell us that actual workings of working groups is that a handful of companies may represent the industry but with few updates to all fellow members, resulting in surprise new major policy administrative changes. Specialists reckon that NGOs set more dedicated resources to these negotiations than does the palm oil industry. Also, some point to the tendency that controversial topics (that growers disfavor) are escalated until they end up offered for General Assembly voting (where voting numbers and blocs are against growers); giving a sense of powerlessness to the minority growers who bear the cost of compliance. Notwithstanding these concerns, lead palm oil industry companies, especially those based in Malaysia and Singapore are leading the push for sustainable certification via RSPO or the new TFT non-certification program.

Robert Hoster, Cargill Refined Oils Europe trading director: "the whole chain needed to be involved in sustainable palm oil from the start.. we need to make sure we make sustainability more affordable.. we need to ensure its cost effective to grow..."  - this might refer to the approach taken by private standards to engage with corporations in order to effect faster change and the problem of the low level engagements with government. This is starting to worry politicians as sustainability is reaching the stage that large private standards and their commercial partners are pointing toward supply-chain shifts that may marginalize and/or bring complicated and costly certification to smallholders and farmers with small estates; note Australia beef worries here, /khorreports-palmoil/2014/05/politicians-worry-about-wwf-roundtables.html. Clearly they are an important voting base. We also heard earlier in the year that proposals by a smallholder certifying "technical NGO" to introduce loans to Indonesian palm smallholders (so that they can pay for the certification process and more?) has raised concerns among policy makers there. Cost of certification is a prime concern for small producers where it weighs heavier. For example, the RSPO costing for group smallholder includes some fees of US$10,000 periodically. It would be useful for the cost-benefit for smallholders to be reviewed independently.

 News link:

Greenpeace indicates its latest strategy and targets here, - Annisa Rahmawati is a forest campaigner at Greenpeace Southeast Asia: "Business as usual cannot continue - Greenpeace is deeply concerned that well-known players in the RSPO are pretending membership alone confers a glow of sustainability. It is waiting to see what public action the RSPO will take on the cases raised with it and how it will strengthen its standards.... In the meantime, Greenpeace demands prominent RSPO members including IOI, KLK, Musim Mas, RGE group and Sime Darby to stop the bulldozers and urgently implement a no deforestation policy. It will continue to push more palm oil consumers such as Kao (the Japanese personal care company behind brands such as John Frieda and Bioré) and others to clean up their supply chains.... To reach this tipping point has not been easy. Some elements want to portray the shift to responsible palm as an attack on the palm oil industry itself, as a call to boycott palm oil or a form or "green protectionism". To them, Greenpeace says this: don't ignore the crisis – don't ignore the fact that Sumatra is burning and Papua's pristine forests are disappearing. Recognise there is a problem, and choose to be part of the solution. Palm oil can be grown responsibly, and must make a genuine contribution to Indonesia's development."

At the same time, new proposals on French nutrition policy worries palm oil interests: "two French politicians, Senator Yves Daudigny and Senator Catherine Deroche, which is set to pose a major threat to Malaysia’s top commodity export in Europe, according to palm oil industry market observers.... Both Daudigny and Deroche had presented a report to the French Senate calling for an introduction of “behavioural” taxes on food and beverages deemed dangerous to the public health in France.... Nutella is a chocolate and hazelnut spread made by Italian company Ferrero that is extremely popular in France, which accounts for 26% (about 100 million jars) of the product’s world consumption.... However, thanks to the quick action and successful engagements by the Malaysian government and palm oil industry players, the Nutella tax proposal was gunned down in December 2012.... So this year, Daudigny is trying a new attempt to champion his cause by roping in Deroche to propose that all taxes of vegetable oils in France be “harmonised”....

On the big picture, it's interesting to see this:  Scientists vindicate 'Limits to Growth' – urge investment in 'circular economy';