Why did WWF ask companies about greenhouse gas emissions reduction policies?

WWF wants palm oil growers to disclose their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and take the extra step to make their operations sustainable.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standard now requires estates and mills to report and reduce their GHG emissions. 
 
As of 2013, new developments have to be planned with emission-minimizing measures - like avoiding forests and peatlands and building mills that eliminate methane emissions. 
 
But we were disappointed that the new RSPO standard didn’t set specific targets for emissions from land-use change - and didn't require public emissions reporting until 2016. 

Clear climate commitments 

WWF would like to see progressive growers make climate commitments and report on them publicly now. However, growers will only go the extra mile if there is clear demand for “low-carbon” palm oil.

That’s why, for the first time, this Scorecard asks retailers and manufacturers that use palm oil about their GHG policies.

Emissions from clearing land, cultivating oil palm (particularly on peat soils), milling and disposing of waste from mills make up a significant proportion of the overall emissions from products containing palm oil.
 
Users of palm oil need to take responsibility for these emissions and send signals back to growers to deal with them. We expect that buyers demanding these policies will help shift more growers toward action on GHG reduction.

What does the Scorecard show?

The Scorecard shows that just over half of the scored companies (69 out of 130) have policies and measures in place to reduce GHG emissions from their operations.
 
Even worse, only nine out of the 130 have policies to deal with the emissions associated with the palm oil they use. This is worrying.

Taking responsibility

The companies that indicated they are taking responsibility for this issue include Ecover, Ferrero Trading, IKEA, Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, United Biscuits, The Hershey Company, Henkel and REWE Group, who all reported 
to us, or the RSPO, that they have policies that address the GHG emissions of the palm oil they source. 
 
We have not verified these policies or assessed how effective they are. However, we acknowledge the leadership these companies have shown in seeking to deal with the issue.

Demanding transparency 

The recent changes to the RSPO standard give palm oil users the opportunity to deal more effectively with GHG emissions. In a welcome development, 49 companies that we scored are planning to require their suppliers to disclose the GHG reports required by the RSPO. This will help them make informed decisions about which growers to source from.
 
Demanding transparency from suppliers on GHG emissions is one of our core additional asks for the industry. Palm oil buyers need to use this information to support growers that are leading the way on reducing emissions.
 / ©: Alain Compost / WWF-Canon
First harvest palm oil in Sembuluh, Central Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), Indonesia.
© Alain Compost / WWF-Canon
 / ©: WWF Central America / Cinthya Flores
The fruit of the oil palm yields palm oil, which is used in the manufacture of many food and non-food products.
© WWF Central America / Cinthya Flores

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