Conclusions

The 2013 Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard shows some good progress on 2011. But in many cases companies aren’t moving fast enough toward sustainable palm oil.


Demand for certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) still lags behind supply.

More than 620 factories and facilities are now able to deliver CSPO to the market. The volume of CSPO being produced worldwide has increased from 1.3 million tonnes in 2009 and 4.8 million tonnes in 2011 to 8.2 million tonnes in 2013. But companies are still only buying 52% of this worldwide. 

There is no excuse for companies not to use 100% CSPO.

Of the retailers we surveyed, 39 out of 52 are using some CSPO and 21 are using 100%, or covering all their palm oil use with, CSPO. Among manufacturers, 60 out of 78 are using CSPO but only 25 cover all their palm oil needs with it.

With the amount of CSPO available, there is absolutely no reason why any company shouldn’t be at 100%.

The rate of progress has slowed.

Although some companies have shown significant improvement, overall the rate of progress since 2011 seems to have slowed compared to the improvements we saw between our first Scorecard in 2009 and the second in 2011.

2015 deadlines are in jeopardy.

We applaud the companies that have publicly committed to 100% CSPO by 2015. But without a much bigger effort, many will fail to meet their own targets.

There is a mix of good and bad performers.

Many companies that showed early promise in 2009 and 2011 have delivered, but many more still have a long way to go – and 20 major retailers and brands didn’t even respond to our requests for information. 

Companies need to move to physical supply chains.

Even companies that are achieving 100% CSPO rely heavily on the Book and Claim certificate trading system, which doesn’t guarantee that they aren’t using palm oil from unacceptable sources.
 
While Book and Claim is an important first step, responsible companies need to start using CSPO that can be traced back to RSPO-certified producers. The global palm oil supply chain as it now exists may well contain illegal palm oil that has caused damage to some of the world’s most important protected areas.

Companies that want to be sure their products don’t contain unacceptable and illegal palm oil must insist on fully Segregated CSPO.

Interest, and more importantly action, on palm oil is starting up in Asia.

Although at a low level and among only a few companies, this is a very welcome development and shows the potential for Asia to transform the global industry. 

Palm oil users are starting to take climate change impacts seriously.

The RSPO has been forward-looking when it comes to tackling climate change, and some growers have shown real innovation in reducing their emissions. Very few buyers of palm oil already have sourcing policies that support these growers – but more are planning to do so in the future.
 / ©: James Morgan  / WWF International
Palm fruit, Musim Mas palm oil plantation, Sumatra, Indonesia.
© James Morgan / WWF International
 / ©: James Morgan  / WWF International
Harvesting oil palm, Musim Mas palm oil plantation, Sumatra, Indonesia.
© James Morgan / WWF International
 / ©: Alain Compost/WWF-Canon
Clearing forests for palm oil plantations.
© Alain Compost/WWF-Canon

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required