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what must companies do?

All companies that use palm products must ensure that their own supply chain is sustainable and free from deforestation and conversion of natural ecosystems. They also have a responsibility and a role to play in supporting a responsible, sustainable industry that is free from deforestation and conversion. Companies need to transition from simply de-risking their own supply chain, towards a pro-environment pro-people approach.

Companies should:

  • Join the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and actively contribute to their vision of making sustainable palm oil the norm.
  • Make an ambitious public time-bound commitment to buy only RSPO certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) and ideally Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) -verified oil.
  • Increase uptake of RSPO CSPO including transitioning to physical supply chains with segregated (SG) or identity preserved (IP) oil and supporting independent smallholders (IS) through the purchase of IS credits.
  • Source only from suppliers that adopt and implement a deforestation- and conversion-free policy.
  • Understand the supply chain, requiring suppliers to have traceability to the palm oil mill and where necessary - to monitor and manage environmental and social risk – the plantation level.
  • Ensure transparency by reporting on palm oil sources and usage, as well as their progress and actions at least annually.
  • Ensure commitments and actions cover the entire corporate group, apply to all countries where the group operates and covers all the types of palm oil that they use.
  • Source only from suppliers that adopt a deforestation- and conversion-free policy.
  • Participate in action-oriented initiatives and advocacy, and invest in projects on-the-ground, that support a sustainable palm oil industry to include the conservation and restoration of biodiversity at risk from or impacted by unsustainable palm oil.
  • Support on-the-ground action in palm oil producing landscapes, such as conservation and forest restoration projects and smallholder farmer sustainability.
  • Support policy action in producer and consumer countries to tackle deforestation and conversion and to create and enforce legislation requiring legal and sustainable palm oil production.
  • Undertake public communication and outreach on sustainable palm oil.
  • Use the Accountability Framework to ensure adherence to the above.
  • Voice support for a global push for a New Deal for Nature and People in 2020. Companies can promote it by communicating relevant commitments and actions they are undertaking in relevant fora and by joining Business for Nature and engaging in its events.

The supply of CSPO has grown by over 20% since the last Scorecard was published in 2016, meaning that there are certified sustainable options available for any company. Hence, there is no excuse for any brand to not be using 100% CSPO today.

Tools and initiatives for companies that buy palm oil:


What can consumers do?

Customer advocacy is the best way to instigate long-term change. Brands care about what their customers think - so we need to ask what and where they source from to make sure they commit to credibly certified sustainable palm that doesn’t cause deforestation or conversion, or harm wildlife or the communities.

You can:

  • Use this Scorecard to see how well your favourite supermarkets, manufacturers and food service companies are doing on palm oil.
  • Contact the brands through their social media channels and ask them to: make commitments, join RSPO and purchase 100% physical certified sustainable palm oil.
  • Share the Scorecard on social media.

What should governments do?

In 2020, world leaders will take critical decisions on nature, climate and development. WWF and others ask governments to take strong, transformative decisions in 2020 in order to secure a new deal for nature and people that sets nature on the path to recovery by 2030. As part of this New Deal, governments have an important role to play in halting deforestation, both in producer countries and consumer countries.

What should governments in producer countries do?

  • Create laws and policies that will end deforestation and ecosystem conversion and ensure the sustainability of the palm oil industry.
  • Support public-private partnerships aimed at ending deforestation and ecosystem conversion.
  • Sign and implement the New York Declaration on Forests.
  • Adhere to OECD agriculture guidance.
  • Be an active advocate globally for deforestation- and conversion-free commodities, as one element to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Sustainable Development Goals and to support the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
  • Work together with the industry to forge national alliances and draft country-level initiatives towards certified sustainable palm oil commitments that prevent deforestation and ecosystem conversion.

What should governments in consumer countries do?

  • Make laws and policies that will mean that only sustainable palm oil – that meets the standard set by RSPO, POIG, ISCC and/or Rainforest Alliance – is entering their markets by 2020 at the latest.
  • Review policies, subsidies and overseas development aid to promote sustainable palm oil and remove harmful incentives that may promote irresponsible or even illegal palm oil.
  • Establish public procurement policies that require consumer goods companies and retailers to buy identity-preserved certified palm oil, which can be traced back to the mill and where necessary - to monitor and manage environmental and social risk - plantation and set ambitious national targets for doing so.
  • Be more active in advocating for deforestation and conversion- free supply chains (following on EU work on Deforestation Free Supply Chains, the Amsterdam Declaration, New York Declaration on Forests).
  • EU countries specifically should:
    • a.Support the development of measures to halt deforestation and forest degradation as well as conversion of other ecosystems and address the EU’s impact beyond its borders. This includes the proper implementation of EU communication (2019) ‘Stepping up EU action to protect and restore the world’s forests’, and the development of new legislation to this end, ensuring products placed on the EU market are not linked to deforestation, forest degradation or the destruction of ecosystems.
    • b.Sign and implement the Amsterdam Declaration Towards Eliminating Deforestation from Agricultural Commodity Chains with European Countries and support the Amsterdam Declaration Partnership.

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© Shutterstock / ArtisticPhoto / WWF


All financial institutions involved in financing or providing financial services to companies in the palm oil sector:

  • Implement the Recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and commit to setting Science-Based Targets.
  • Join RSPO, participate proactively in its Financial Institutions Task Force (FITF), and make public commitments and report via the RSPO’s Annual Communication of Progress (ACOP) regarding their actions to promote and deliver the 2018 RSPO standard for sustainable palm oil production.


  • Develop and disclose a palm oil sector policy that requires:
    • a.All clients to commit to an NDPE (No Deforestation, Peat, Exploitation) policy.
    • b.Grower, processor and trader clients to make ambitious time-bound commitments and action plans for achieving 100% RSPO certification and supply chain traceability to the plantation level, for own operations and third-party sources verified as legal and deforestation-free.
    • c.Downstream clients to procure from palm oil suppliers with due diligence procedures in place to ensure full legality of sourced fresh fruit bunches and to achieve 100% supply chain traceability, including publishing up-to-date lists of sources (to the mill); downstream clients should be recommended to set time-bound targets for achieving 100% RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil.
    • d.All clients to implement the TCFD Recommendations and to commit to setting Science-Based Targets.
  • Disclose the percentage of:
    • a.Grower, processor and trader clients with all of their operations covered by a time-bound action plan to achieve 100% RSPO certification and traceability to the plantation level.
    • b.Downstream clients that procure from palm oil suppliers with due diligence systems in place to ensure full legality.
  • Disclose processes for monitoring client compliance and progress on time-bound action plans, as well as steps taken in case of non-compliance or failure to make satisfactory progress towards achieving these action plans.
  • Commit to only distributing investment products offered by asset managers with exposure to palm oil in any of their funds if these asset managers are 1) RSPO members or 2) signatories to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) that actively participate in the PRI Investor Working Group on Sustainable Palm Oil.
  • Commit to smallholder inclusivity and supporting clients, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, to work towards RSPO certification through organizing client outreach, education and capacity-building programmes.

Institutional investors
(including internal fund managers at insurers and banks):

  • Become a PRI signatory and participate actively in the PRI Investor Working Group on Sustainable Palm Oil to engage palm oil supply chain companies and their financiers over environmental and social risks in the palm oil sector, including deforestation, peat degradation and abuses of human, community and labour rights.
  • Develop and disclose an investor expectation statement that covers criteria for palm oil sector portfolio companies pertaining to their commitments, transparency and safeguards against the environmental and social risks identified above, including:
    • a.For all portfolio companies, to commit to an NDPE (No Deforestation, Peat, Exploitation) policy.
    • b.For growers, processors and traders, obtaining 100% RSPO certification and achieving traceability to plantation for own operations and third-party sources verified as legal and deforestation-free.
    • c.For downstream companies, sourcing 100% RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil, with a goal to move towards segregated or identity-preserved sourcing, and to achieve 100% supply chain traceability, including publishing up-to-date lists of sources (to the mill).
    • d.For banks, to make commitments and disclosures in line with WWF’s expectations of banks, as outlined above.
    • e.For all portfolio companies, to implement the TCFD Recommendations and to commit to setting Science-Based Targets.
  • Commit to engaging portfolio companies that do not fulfill expectations on palm oil-related sustainability criteria and supporting them to develop ambitious time-bound action plans for meeting these criteria. Also, disclose processes for escalating engagement with portfolio companies that are not making satisfactory progress on achieving these action plans.
  • Disclose proxy voting policies for key environmental and social risks related to the palm oil sector as identified above, how they voted on resolutions pertaining to these risks and the reasons for their vote.

Tools and initiatives for those that finance palm oil