How we work with ecostore on Palm Oil
Ecostore became TFT members in February 2015 with the goal to achieve traceability to palm oil mill level within the 2015-2016 calendar year. Work to date has focused on the major suppliers of products containing the majority of palm oil to ecostore products, including;
- BASF (the largest chemical producer in the world), who in November 2015 revised their sourcing commitments to go beyond certification. TFT met with BASF on numerous occasions in Australia, Asia and in their headquarters in Europe to explain TFT member buyer policies and the importance of traceability. TFT will continue to communicate and support where possible with BASF. We look forward to seeing further progress with traceability, transparency and policy compliance in line with their commitments over time.
- New Britain Palm Oil Ltd. (NBPOL) in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands has been a supplier of soap noodles to ecostore. NBPOL is also a TFT member with a policy committed to No Deforestation and No Exploitation. TFT provide technical support to NBPOL primarily with High Carbon Stock assessments of planned expansion areas. These assessments are integrated with environmental and social planning and focus on identifying areas of vegetation considered ecologically viable forest and thus important for protection, while also balancing the needs and values of local communities. NBPOL’s supply chain is 100% traceable back to mill and to plantations; either managed estates or approved small-holders.
- IOI Oleochemicals announced their sourcing commitment in March 2015 going beyond certification and are reporting traceability for their refinery quarterly and through their dashboard. This policy applies to their refinery, mills and plantations, as well as third party supply. For IOI plantations, they are committed to the High Carbon Stock Study as currently lead by the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto Group, and have publically agreed to cease expansion until completion of this Study, completed at the end of 2015. TFT continue to review available information and consider the risks and progress of IOI. We continue to seek increased sharing of information and collaboration.
- Another oleo-chemical manufacturer and ecostore supplier is sourcing the majority of palm oil products from a single Malaysian based refiner, who sources their material predominantly from mills and plantations within Malaysia. TFT have been meeting with this refiner over 2015 discussing optional actions towards building traceability and policy compliance, although no commitment has been made and traceability is only preliminary at this stage. We will continue these discussions and offer our support. We are hopeful of further progress in 2016.
This initial review and engagement with these major suppliers marks the end of phase one. Traceability back to mill level for all of these major suppliers has not yet been achieved as is our goal, although progress was made. Oleo-chemical manufactures typically have complex supply chains and it is difficult to isolate the supply for particular clients, especially relatively small global buyers such as ecostore. Therefore in most cases we need to consider the wider supply chain of each supplier, which takes more time to build the understanding and confidence. This took longer than originally anticipated.
Phase two will focus on broadening the scope of Tier 1 suppliers reviewed and will further develop plans for building traceability and policy compliance in line with ecostore’s and suppliers policy commitments.