How we work with Natures Organics on Palm Oil
Natures Organics became a TFT palm oil member in August 2014.
Our work together has focused on engaging directly with Natures Organics’ first tier suppliers, representing up to 80% of its palm oil volume. This includes seven oleo-chemical manufactures with facilities based in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea and Europe.
The complex nature of many oleo-chemical products can make it difficult to trace products for specific buyers. This is especially so for Natures Organics, which buys relatively small volumes. For this reason it’s often necessary to build trust with the manufactures towards sharing traceability data not limited to the buyer’s supply chain.
The process of attaining traceability data has been slower than hoped for several suppliers, but significant progress has been made since 2014. This is due in part to growing industry support from other brands and producers either side of the manufacturers’ supply chain towards No Deforestation-Peat-Exploitation (NDPE) policies. TFT has signed non disclosure agreements with two of the seven manufactures, and one created its own NDPE policy in 2015 – a major milestone.
Work plan for 2017
Engaging with suppliers to building traceability and policy support remains a focus for Natures Organics’ work plan during 2017, although we also recognise the importance of consolidating existing traceability data and focusing an increasing proportion of effort on supporting transformation activities on the ground. The 2017 Natures Organics-TFT work plan includes support to TFT landscape-level initiatives in Sumatra, Indonesia.
The landscape initiatives draw on more than 100 palm oil mill visits and buying relationships to identify key landscapes where issues and leverage exist to establish multi-stakeholder initiatives, including brands, traders/refiners, millers, plantation companies, smallholders, civil society groups and government. The current focus of these initiatives in 2017 is information collection (stakeholder and land mapping, policy and socio-economic context research) and gaining formal cooperation through memorandums of understanding with key stakeholders. TFT has also established a satellite monitoring system, Starling, with Airbus and SarVision, as an independent verification service for No Deforestation policies linked to each landscape initiative.
Summary of engagement to date
- Seven oleo-chemical manufactures directly engaged, including facility visits in Malaysia and Indonesia, and office meetings in Australia, Singapore, Korea and Europe.
- Traceability data shared by all seven tier 1 suppliers, although not complete to mill level yet.
- One of the seven suppliers announced in 2015 their own company-wide sourcing commitment to go beyond certification.
- One of the seven suppliers was removed from Natures Organics supply chain in 2016, due in part to a lack of traceability data provided.
- One supplier shifted from using palm oil to coconut oil.
- TFT continues to review supply data from Natures Organics to ensure engagement with direct tier 1 suppliers at a minimum of 80% of volume.
- Natures Organics assists TFT in this review and communicates with suppliers to support TFT’s engagement efforts.
- An increasing proportion of the work plan is focused on transformation (on the ground) vs. transparency (traceability) activities.