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A global trend toward sustainable palm oil is emerging; diverse stakeholders including non-profits, scientists, and global brands worldwide have announced their commitment to sustainably sourced palm oil and supply chain transparency.

WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Singapore recently announced the formation of The Singapore Alliance on Palm Oil. Following growing consumer awareness of the link between palm plantations and air pollution, the alliance was formed as a platform for businesses to adopt sustainable palm oil in their supply chains. Unilever, Danone, Ayam Brand, IKEA, and Wildlife Reserves Singapore are the founding members, signaling global momentum toward cross-sector collaboration for responsibly sourced palm oil.

In addition, the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), a body of 751 scientists and conservations from 54 countries, released a declaration last week after its 53rd annual meeting to advance the EU’s role on sustainable palm oil. This year’s meeting was the largest convening of conservationists and biologists in Europe to date. In addition to supporting recent progress toward sustainable palm oil, the ATBC noted that there is still significant room for improvement; Europeans contribute to 15% of the total global consumption of palm oil. Several recommendations were set forth in the Montpellier Declaration, including calls for:

  • All European companies to commit to sourcing only sustainable palm oil
  • European retailers and manufacturers to make their supply chains transparent from the product all the way to the source
  • The EU and investors to only invest in companies that work with sustainable palm oil sources
  • The EU to develop guidelines for certification with all EU country governments

These calls to action demonstrate a continuing movement toward supply chain transparency. The existing US Conflict Minerals Rule already requires companies to trace four different metals to the source, and the recent EU political agreement reached on Conflict Minerals demonstrates growing global concern about human rights and environmental issues. With the environmental and human impacts of irresponsible material sourcing becoming increasingly visible to the public, companies that proactively build transparent supply chains will have the ability to adapt to new market trends. To learn more about how to engage supply chains and trace materials to the source, click here.