SPOTT – Sustainability Policy Transparency Toolkit – is an online platform supporting sustainable commodity production and trade. By tracking transparency, SPOTT incentivises the implementation of corporate best practice.

SPOTT assesses commodity producers and traders on the public disclosure of their policies, operations and commitments related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. SPOTT scores companies annually against sector-specific indicators, allowing them to benchmark their progress over time.

Investors, buyers and other key influencers can use SPOTT assessments to inform stakeholder engagement, manage risk, and increase industry transparency.

SPOTT is an initiative developed by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).


Assessments and engagement

SPOTT supports constructive industry engagement by investors, ESG analysts, buyers and other supply chain stakeholders – those with the power to influence companies to increase ESG disclosure and improve their practices on the ground.

Investors and buyers can use SPOTT assessments to inform their own policies and procedures for due diligence, engagement, screening and sourcing.

Companies do not report directly to ZSL to inform their SPOTT assessments. Rather, the SPOTT team conducts a thorough review of each company’s publicly available reports and documents against indicators specific to the scope of its operations. ZSL then contacts each company with its draft assessment for comment.

This engagement process ensures that assessed companies have the opportunity to respond to ZSL with feedback ahead of the final review and publication on SPOTT.

We encourage all companies – not just those assessed on SPOTT and members of certification schemes – to report regularly and accurately on their progress towards meeting their commitments. SPOTT accepts ongoing nominations of additional palm oil producers and traders and timber and pulp producers for future assessments. 


SPOTT annual reports

ZSL has published three SPOTT annual reports since launching in November 2014. These reports demonstrate the impacts of SPOTT on the palm oil industry, tracking notable increases in corporate ESG transparency scores.

The 2017 report includes the expansion of SPOTT to include assessments of 24 timber and pulp companies against a new indicator framework to highlight best practice in the forestry industry. The palm oil indicator framework was also revised in 2017, and now includes 125 ESG indicators across 10 categories.

The annual report also contains details of two new SPOTT publications: 



About ZSL

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity whose mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. Our mission is realised through science and conservation projects in more than 50 countries, and our two Zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

ZSL is an active member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and works closely with other organisations such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

ZSL’s Business and Biodiversity Programme works to reduce the negative (and promote positive) impacts of industrial activities on the natural world. ZSL first started working with the palm oil industry in 2001, initially advising companies on how to manage populations of Sumatran tigers found in their concession sites – the areas where producers are allowed to operate.

Today, ZSL’s Indonesia Programme has expanded to work more broadly on tiger habitat conservation, anti-poaching patrols and ecological surveys using the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART), as well as community engagement to improve the livelihoods of local people.

ZSL and partners are working with the Government of South Sumatra to pilot a scalable, replicable model for sustainable landscape management. KELOLA Sendang is a public-private-people partnership that aims to address the challenges of deforestation, peatland degradation, wildfires, and associated climate impacts, while supporting green growth and biodiversity conservation.

As part of the project, SPOTT informs and facilitates dialogue between companies and their buyers and financiers, which supports the delivery of corporate sustainability commitments. This approach can support the implementation of best practice and green growth opportunities across the South Sumatra landscape, Indonesia, and beyond.


SPOTT benefits from the valued support of donors and technical advisors. ZSL would like to thank:

Donors (in alphabetical order):

  • Credit Suisse
  • David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • Generation Foundation
  • The Government of Norway
  • The UK Government

Technical advisors:

Data and development:

  • Bloomberg
  • Blue Raster
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
  • Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)
  • Thomson Reuters
  • World Resources Institute (WRI)


This material has been part-funded by UK aid from the UK government; however, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect UK government policies, nor those of any other donors.