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SEARRP joins the Palm Oil Innovation Group

SEARPP has formally joined the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) as a member, and has committed to contributing to the goals and initiatives led by POIG.

Established by the Royal Society in 1985, the South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP) facilitates world-class scientific research that addresses the major environmental issues facing the tropics: sustainable plantation management and development, habitat restoration, and climate change.

Through a dedicated team which focusses on the delivery of impact, and long-standing links with government, forest and plantation companies and NGOs, SEARRP works hard to ensure that key research findings make a direct contribution to policy and best practice.

As a POIG member, SEARPP is working to find solutions to the challenges faced by the palm oil industry. SEARPP supports using responsible palm oil as a means for driving transformation in the palm oil industry so that it benefits both nature and people. SEARRP is excited to be a member of POIG and looks forward to working together to improve sustainable plantation development.

Visit their website to learn more about SEARRP.


By updating targets outlined in 2013 to generate environmental, economic and social benefits across the Ferrero palm oil value chain, the new Charter addresses challenges with actions that engage suppliers and go beyond high certification standards.

Luxembourg (June 3rd, 2021) – Ahead of World Environment Day on June 5th, Ferrero Group proudly unveils its new Palm Oil Charter, in which the company outlines its ongoing ambition to achieve a palm oil industry that is good for both people and nature. Originally announced in 2013, the first Palm Oil Charter served as a driver for the Group’s development of its responsible palm oil supply chain; a public commitment that took into consideration the company’s core values and its broader sustainability strategy. Today, Ferrero further strengthens its commitments and progress through an updated Charter, which has been elevated based on the company’s ongoing learning journey and insights generated by close collaboration with stakeholders at every level, from suppliers to NGOs through to academic partners. The new Charter has been developed with Earthworm Foundation, a non-profit organisation focused on positively improving value chains.

As a baseline, Ferrero sources sustainable palm oil that is 100% RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) Certified Segregated and traceable back to plantations: a goal initially reached in 2015, becoming one of the first global companies to do so. Ferrero’s approach towards responsible sourcing of palm oil goes beyond this high certification standard through active membership in POIG (Palm Oil Innovation Group) and HCSA (High Carbon Stock Approach), two of the highest value endorsement initiatives currently available for the industry. As part of this approach, the new Charter outlines further actions, tackling three strategic areas identified as critical in an intricate industry where environmental and social issues are oftentimes deeply rooted, complex, and interconnected:

Human Rights & Social Practices: We at Ferrero believe in the importance of building a more equitable and inclusive palm oil value chain, requiring our suppliers to take appropriate measures to prevent any form of exploitation, indecent living or working conditions. We are going beyond these essential rights by helping smallholders build resilience in the face of environmental and economic volatility – as well as improved working conditions – through the collaboration with local governments, NGOs and scientists. We also understand the importance that indigenous communities be fully engaged whenever agricultural land expansion may occur.

Environmental Protection & Sustainability:  We are dedicated to having a palm oil value chain that not only respects the environment, but also becomes a positive driver to regenerate biodiversity, soils, and water systems. Among the initiatives in this focus area, we commit to a “no-deforestation” supply chain which includes no planting on peat, no using fire to clear land, and ensuring the protection of forests and natural habitats. Going beyond this, we use the Starling Satellite Monitoring System to identify potential deforestation in the roughly one million hectares of our supply chain.

Supplier transparency: We address the above issues by fostering a fully transparent, shared responsibility approach across the value chain, as well as requiring all suppliers to adhere to the Group’s standards.  We do this by sharing the list of mills from which we source our palm oil every six months; the latest lists related to the second half of 2020 can be found here. We go beyond with actions such as publishing an action plan and a yearly progress report measured against the goals outlined in the Charter, as well as offering an “Integrity Helpline” to confidentially signal any potential grievances or instances of non-compliance.

Moreover, following recent acquisitions, Ferrero has welcomed new products into the Group’s extended family and is currently working to integrate them into the supply chain by bringing them up to the Company’s overall responsible palm oil sourcing standards.

Marco Gonçalves, Ferrero’s Chief Procurement & Hazelnut Company Officer said, “At Ferrero, we take a continuous improvement approach to our value chain and understand the environmental and societal challenges tied to the palm oil industry; this is why we proudly reaffirm our commitments to responsible palm oil sourcing through our new Charter. We look forward to continue our learning journey and go beyond high certification standards with concrete actions that contribute to a more sustainable industry.”

Bastien Sachet, Earthworm Foundation CEO added, “We welcome this updated charter for three reasons: Firstly, because it builds on a successful implementation of previous commitments and therefore it associates words to action. Secondly, Ferrero is demonstrating its commitment to driving environmental and social excellence linked to strong core values and long-term change. Finally, this Charter will inspire other companies to raise their own bar, as collective leverage and action remains critical to scale impact beyond one company’s supply chain.”

Within this framework and looking towards the future, Ferrero welcomes the European Commission’s upcoming proposals on Mandatory Due Diligence and new legislation to minimise the risk of deforestation and forest degradation linked to products distributed throughout the European Union. Ferrero believes that effective EU legislation is urgently needed to tackle these issues and establish a level playing field for more sustainable ingredients. In fact, through a public statement signed by more than 40 companies, on May 25th 2021, Ferrero extended support for an effective EU law that will address EU-driven global deforestation.

“Our new Palm Oil Charter is an example of Ferrero’s commitment and actions towards responsible palm oil sourcing. But sector-wide change is needed. In this spirit, we believe that proper EU rules applicable to all relevant companies – coupled with the right cooperation framework with producing countries – can be a game-changer in driving palm oil supply chain systemic transformation, as well as preventing negative environmental and human rights impacts,” said Francesco Tramontin, Vice-President, Ferrero Group Public Policy Center and EU Institutional Affairs.

The full 2021 Ferrero Group Palm Oil Charter can be found on the company’s corporate website, here.


About Ferrero Group

Ferrero began its story in the little town of Alba in Piedmont, Italy, in 1946. Today, with a consolidated turnover of over 12.3 billion euros, Ferrero is amongst the market leaders of the Sweet Packaged Foods market worldwide.

The Ferrero Group is present throughout the world with more than 37,000 people and 31 production plants. Ferrero is the producer of many brand icons that are loved generation after generation, including Nutella, Ferrero Rocher, Tic Tac, Kinder and Raffaello, which are present and sold in more than 170 countries.

For further information visit: and

Breaking through the supply chain: How the manufacturers in the Palm Oil Innovation Group lead new approaches to palm oil sourcing

Download Palm Oil Innovations: Breaking through the supply chain.

POIG’s Retailer and Manufacturer Working Group (RMWG) was established in 2015 to provide a constructive space for responsible brands to inspire each other and to offer support and guidance on how to increase sourcing of traceable and responsible palm oil.

Originally guided by the general principles set out in the POIG Charter for Retailers and Manufacturers, the members felt that measurable and ambitious targets were critical if POIG wanted to see real change in uptake of responsible palm oil. The POIG Retailers and Manufacturers Charter indicators were launched in 2018, and set a very ambitious bar for retailer and manufacturer members to work towards a fully RSPO Segregated certified and POIG-verified supply chain and eliminate credits based sourcing.

Each RMWG member has developed a strong response and solutions to complex sourcing challenges. L’Oréal has co-founded an initiative to address the difficulties in sourcing certified derivatives; Despite its limited market power, UK soap manufacturer Stephenson has achieved 100% segregated CPO, PKO and fractions, including 7% POIG verified CPO; Danone has built a dedicated segregated supply chain in the US for CPO and PKO, and Ferrero has successfully converted its large volume of palm oil fractions to segregated sources globally as at end of 2019.

As at year-end 2019, POIG’s members had achieved an impressive 68% segregated, including 4% POIG verified palm oil products. 25% mass balance was primarily PKO, and in transition to segregated by year end 2020.

POIG members among those leading the way of WWF Palm Oil Buyer Scorecard 2020

Ferrero and L’Oreal, POIG members assessed by the Scorecard ranked first and second respectively under the manufacturing sector, setting benchmarks in supply chain innovations for companies to follow.

WWF’s palm oil scorecard reveals that most brands are falling short when it comes to supporting sustainable palm oil production and tackling tropical deforestation. In the recently released Palm Oil Buyer Scorecard, no company has attained the top score in WWF’s new assessment, which reviews what global brands are doing to reduce adverse impacts caused by the unsustainable sourcing of the most popular vegetable oil from vulnerable tropical habitats.

Despite many long-standing commitments by brands and industry coalitions to eliminate the destruction of nature, including deforestation, from their palm oil supply chains, the scorecard shows that most companies still have a long way to go before they can prove to consumers that they are delivering on these promises. Meanwhile, only one company, the consumer goods manufacturer Ferrero, has scored over 20 points (out of the maximum 22), sending an encouraging signal to the rest of the industry that sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil is achievable. The remaining POIG members that were assessed, including Danone and Barry Callebaut, all scored well above the overall average of the manufacturing sector.

In this fifth edition of a decade-long series, the new WWF’s Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard examines 173 major retailers, consumer goods manufacturers and food service companies from the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.  As we enter 2020 and a new decade, the Scorecard has reset the bar for companies with the expectation that they take commensurate, accelerated action in response to the planet’s escalating environmental and climate challenges.

Expanding on its previous Scorecards, WWF measured not only how companies performed on basic steps such as using 100% sustainable palm oil in their own supply chains, but also additional actions that prove a company is truly acting responsibly. This includes actions to protect and positively benefit smallholders, communities and biodiversity on the ground in the landscapes most at risk from irresponsible palm oil expansion.

“Given the challenges faced by our planet today, coupled with the devastating effect that unsustainable palm oil has had, companies need to do more than simply reduce their own supply chain risk,” said WWF Palm Oil Lead Elizabeth Clarke. “It is essential that companies take action, and in this Scorecard WWF recognises the importance of action-orientated platforms such as POIG and the willingness of its members to support sustainable palm oil.”

POIG members recently agreed to a new set of indicators for its Retailers & Manufacturers members that sets stringent requirements for the procurement of sustainable and responsible palm oil. They have come together to help find solutions to the challenges the palm oil industry is facing and to contribute to the transformation of the way palm oil is produced.

“Already in 2015, we were one of the first companies to source 100% certified as segregated palm oil. Moving forward, we recognized the need to support projects which go beyond certification to broaden sustainability standards in the industry. We very much appreciate that our efforts are being recognized by WWF, who is a very important stakeholder in driving the sustainability of the whole palm oil sector,” said a Ferrero spokesperson. “This a great encouragement to continue our journey.”

Position statement on glyphosate based herbicide use

We recognise the growing concern on the use of glyphosate formulation as toxic, persistent and probably carcinogenic.

POIG grower members have all committed to phase out of all highly toxic, bio-accumulative and persistent pesticides. This includes chemicals listed by World Health Organisation Class 1A or 1B, Stockholm or Rotterdam Conventions, FSC ‘Highly Hazardous’ list and SAN prohibited pesticide list.

For glyphosate based herbicides (GBHs) that are currently not included in any of the forbidden pesticides lists, our grower members have taken a proactive approach towards reduction and phase-out; these include expanding organic farming operations, trialling alternative herbicidal compounds, improving mechanical weeding efficiency and instituting strict handling protocols.

POIG members are also committed to full transparency and annual reviews of GBH use practices, guided by the scientific community’s latest consensus. As an organisation focusing on creating and promoting innovations, we are working on an innovations publication to be published in Q1 of 2021 that showcases our grower members’ effort to reduce and, when possible, phase-out of GBH use in their palm oil operations.

POIG raises the bar for retailers & Manufacturers members

The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) has agreed a new set of indicators for its Retailers & Manufacturers (RM) members, setting our stringent requirements for the procurement of sustainable and responsible palm oil.

The POIG Charter for RM, launched in 2015 , set out the obligation to work towards increasing uptake of POIG verified and RSPO SG palm oil products and to eliminate the use of conventional and certificate-based palm oil. The indicators provide additional guidance and mandate ambition targets and workplans to achieve this. The new indicators also provide guidelines for transparency on suppliers and grievance procedures aligned with best-in-class practice in the industry.

The POIG RM Indicators is an extension of the work the group has been doing since 2013, trialling ways to improve the RSPO P&C. POIG recognises the 2018 P&C as a significant leap forward, and we are now focusing on action to ensure that the implementation of the new P&C is robust and credible, and that the downstream supply chain lives up to their purchasing commitments.

Click here to download the POIG Retailers and Manufacturers Charter Indicators

Southeast Asian palm oil free of deforestation, peatland use or exploitation hits the market

Musim Mas Group is the first Southeast Asian producer to complete verification and demonstrate its proof of concept of responsible palm oil, says Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG)

Singapore – The Musim Mas Group is the first Southeast Asian company to produce palm oil according to the high standards for responsible palm oil established by the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG). The organization announced today Musim Mas’ oil palm plantations have been independently verified against the POIG’s leading criteria for responsible palm oil production. The standards also include ‘No Deforestation, No Peatland Development and No Exploitation’ (NDPE).

“This is a big moment for the palm oil industry. Now, Musim Mas is able to supply POIG-verified oil from its plantations in Asia, alongside leading innovative producers Agropalma and Daabon, which supply POIG-verified oil from South America,” said Elizabeth Clarke, WWF’s Lead on Palm Oil. “Meanwhile we call on palm oil buyers to increase their efforts to procure and use POIG verified oil in their operations.”

The Musim Mas Group first joined POIG in 2015, and worked to gain verification through a rigorous third-party assessment. Based in Singapore, its business operations and activities include every part of the palm oil supply chain. Its verified plantations are in Indonesia producing 700,000 tonnes of POIG verified responsible palm oil, which is a relevant part of its total palm oil processed and traded.

“It demonstrates to buyers that it is possible to produce palm oil that adheres to the highest standards for protecting forests, peatlands, biodiversity and carbon, while also upholding the rights of local communities and workers, and improving livelihoods.” said Annisa Rahmawati, Senior Forests Campaigner with Greenpeace South East Asia.

“It’s important to continue to push for responsible palm oil in the marketplace,” said Stefano Severi, HO Sustainable Palm Oil & Cocoa of Ferrero. “POIG encourages brands, retailers and manufacturers to purchase POIG-verified palm oil. Boycotting palm oil will not solve the problem, and will contribute to enlarging the leakage market – shifting the problem to regions that do not demand sustainable palm oil. Instead of walking away from the problem, palm oil buyers should contribute to solutions on the ground in palm oil producing regions.”

“POIG’s vision is aligned with our goal to realise a credible palm oil supply chain. We made a commitment to work on our third-party supply base in the long term via the POIG Traders and Processors Charter which is being developed,” said Dr Gan Lian Tiong, Director, Musim Mas.

To download this statement, click here.

Elizabeth Clarke, World Wildlife Fund, eclarke(at)
Stefano Severi, Ferrero, stefano.severi(at)
André Gasparini, Agropalma, andre.gasparini(at)
Carolyn Lim, Musim Mas Holdings, carolynwy.lim(at)

The Palm Oil Innovation Group welcomes improvements in the RSPO Standard – Strengthening of underlying systems and robust implementation still needed

The members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) today adopted a newly revised version of production requirements for sustainable palm oil, known as the RSPO Principles & Criteria (P&C). The new P&C is welcomed by the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) as it presents a number of substantive improvements to the certification standard.

In particular, POIG welcomes new and stronger “No Deforestation, No development on Peatlands and No Exploitation” restrictions by the RSPO to prohibit the clearance of forests, including incorporation of the High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) , no new development on peatlands, and clearer safeguards for workers, including more rigorous requirements addressing child labour and forced labour, including restrictions on recruitment fees and retention of passports. Provisions have also been strengthened to improve Free, Prior and Informed Consent procedures and to enhance local food security.

The new standard represents a welcome step by the RSPO to move toward alignment with the best practices already established by POIG, a group of progressive producers, NGOs and buyers that has already demonstrated the viability of producing and independently verifying palm oil grown without deforestation, development on peatlands, human rights violations or exploitation of workers.

While POIG recognises the new RSPO P&C as a major step forward, it acknowledges that some but not all of its criticisms of the scheme have been addressed. Namely there are still weaknesses related to:

  • allowing the use of highly toxic, bio-accumulative and persistent pesticides;
  • not prohibiting Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs);
  • the lack of strict standards on working hours and overtime, a cap on precarious labour, and a clear methodology
    to define a decent living wage, and;
  • allowing indirect sourcing of illegally produced oil palm fruit for a full three years.

Additional work is also needed by the newly created No Deforestation Joint Working Group between RSPO and HCSA to define the application of the HCSA in High Forest Cover Landscapes within High Forest Cover Countries.

Meanwhile critical flaws remain in the standard’s assurance systems and complaints mechanism. POIG calls on the RSPO to urgently strengthen its auditing systems and processes so its claims of “certified sustainable palm oil” can be trusted by consumers across the globe. This includes the development of tools and methodologies to ensure the P&C’s robust implementation, such as those related to assessing and managing peatlands, restoring critical peatlands, assessments, audits and complaints, protections for human rights defenders and monitoring of impacts.

Moving forward, POIG will continue to provide independently verified responsible palm oil to the international market, and strengthen its own quality assurance mechanisms by ensuring that third-party auditors are conducting verification assessments to evaluate POIG producer member compliance with the POIG Verification Audit Requirements (VAR) released in July 2018. POIG will develop and test innovations related to implementing the new RSPO P&C, as well as work on innovations that go beyond the new P&C on crucial issues such as the restoration of critical peatlands, and overcoming bottlenecks to the sourcing of POIG verified oil. POIG’s members hope to work in partnership with the RSPO to implement improvements to its audit requirements, including limits to successive audits, the trialing of non-scheduled audits, as well as requirements for strengthened stakeholder interviews and audit team composition and competencies.

POIG calls on all companies involved in the palm oil sector to urgently increase their efforts to honour their commitments to source responsibly produced palm oil using POIG, RSPO and other complementary tools and approaches that provide assurance for No Deforestation, No development on Peatlands and No Exploitation of communities and workers (NDPE) and drive smallholder inclusivity and benefit-sharing. POIG urges all stakeholders to continue to work together to create transparent and responsible supply chains and break the link between palm oil production and the destruction of forests and peatlands, the exploitation of communities and workers, and climate change once and for all.

To download the full statement, click here.

Emma Rae Lierley, Rainforest Action Network, emma(at)
Matthias Diemer, Co-Chair of Palm Oil Innovation Group, Matthias.Diemer(at)
Stefano Severi, Ferrero, stefano.severi(at)
Carolyn Lim, Musim Mas Holdings, carolynwy.lim(at)
Tulio Dias, Agropalma, tuliodias(at)

Proactive participation by Selfridges needed to end deforestation for palm oil

Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) urges Selfridges department store chain to support its efforts to build a more responsible palm oil industry.

The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG), in response to news that Selfridges will carry Iceland’s own-brand mince pies, urges the department store chain to join the other members of POIG in their efforts to break the link between palm oil and deforestation by building a responsible palm oil industry.

Selfridges has recently highlighted its commitment to become completely palm-oil-free by Christmas 2019, in a bid to halt deforestation caused by the palm oil industry.

POIG shares Selfridges’ vision of mitigating the environmental impacts of palm oil production. However, POIG believes palm oil elimination is not a solution for deforestation. POIG cautions the company against eliminating palm oil and therefore isolating itself from collective efforts of many other major retailers and global brands which are engaged in transforming the palm oil industry by demanding improvements in how palm oil is produced.

Only a concerted effort by all concerned stakeholders will transform the situation on the ground where palm oil is produced. That’s why POIG recommends going to the root of the problem by requiring manufacturers of products sold in Selfridges stores to source palm oil that is traceable and verified by a third party as grown without causing deforestation or human rights abuses.

Palm oil can, and should be, produced in a way that rainforests and peatland are not destroyed, while ensuring respect for human rights. POIG is the only multi-stakeholder initiative that sets a credible and verifiable benchmark, building upon the work of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification system. To truly make an impact and show leadership in this sector, companies like Selfridges should join POIG and purchase POIG-verified oil, which is available right now. POIG welcomes Selfridges to join as a member if the company is committed to playing a proactive role in creating transparent and responsible palm oil supply chains.

To download the full statement, click here.

Click here to refer to POIG’s response to Iceland’s decision to ban palm oil in its branded products.

Emma Rae Lierley, Rainforest Action Network (E: emma(at)
Matthias Diemer, Co-Chair of Palm Oil Innovation Group (E: Matthias.Diemer(at)
Carolyn Lim, Musim Mas Holdings (E: carolynwy.lim(at)

Comparative Analysis: RSPO Principles and Criteria and POIG Verification Indicators

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is in the final stages of revising the Principles and Criteria (P&C). As part of the review process, the organisation is gathering a second round of comments from stakeholders before finalising and publishing the revised P&C. The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) and its members have conducted a comparative analysis between the second draft of the RSPO P&C and the POIG Verification Indicators (v. March 2016). An Executive Summary of the comparison results, and a more detailed indicator level analysis document have been developed, and could be used to provide constructive feedback for incorporation in the final RSPO P&C. The Executive Summary also includes some initial observations on the draft of the RSPO Smallholder Standard, which is also currently open for public consultation.

Based on the analysis, the latest RSPO P&C Draft has made some improvement in meeting the standard of responsibility articulated in the POIG Verification Indicators. The analysis also shows that while many RSPO criteria and indicators could be improved to meet the POIG indicators with a few additions, there is still a serious concern around a set of specific issues. It is not known at this point whether the draft RSPO P&C will retain and/or add indicators in its final form that will be compatible with all of the POIG indicators.

To download the Executive Summary of the comparative analysis, click here.

To view the full indicator level analysis document, click here.