Latest news and events

Read our blog for recent news and events on transparency and sustainability for global commodity production.

SPOTT to assess 100 palm oil companies in 2019

Annabelle Dodson | 30 May 2019 | London, UK.

30 new companies have been selected for assessment this year, expanding our coverage in frontier regions for palm oil production, and our focus on key nodes in the supply chain: crushers and refiners.

Committed to sustainable palm oil?

Michael Guindon | 08 May 2019 | London, UK.

An analysis of 2018 ACOP reporting by WWF and Zoological Society of London (ZSL) casts serious doubt over company commitments to produce, trade, and purchase sustainable palm oil.

ZSL strengthens its commitment to supporting sustainable palm oil

Michael Guindon | 08 April 2019 | London, UK.

ZSL has updated its 2020 commitments to source 100% sustainable palm oil and to transform the sector through SPOTT and conservation programmes.

ZSL publishes 2018 SPOTT Annual Report

Joyce Lam | 25 Feb 2019 | London, UK.

2018 was an eventful and productive year for SPOTT. New developments included expanding to assess more companies, additional supply chain segments, and a new commodity.

50 new timber and pulp companies selected for assessment in 2019

Chris Eves | 19 Feb 2019 | London, UK.

SPOTT is expanding timber and pulp assessments to include companies operating in and trading with VPA-partner countries.

Smallholders: key to building sustainable palm oil          supply chains

Annabelle Dodson and Michael Guindon | 14 Feb 2019 | London, UK.

An overview of the smallholder disclosure and support by palm oil companies assessed on SPOTT.

Transparency tools in commodity supply chains: how do they compare?

Joyce Lam | 28 Jan 2019 | London, UK.

With growing interest in responsible commodity production, tools to score, compare and track company progress are proliferating.

The French National Strategy to Fight Imported Deforestation: a few takeaways from the final document

Clara Melot | 08 Jan 2019 | London, UK.

The French National Strategy seeks to combat commodity-driven deforestation by 2030. Lire cet article en français.

Tracking progress towards stronger forest governance

Caroline Sourzac-Lami | 29 Nov 2018 | London, UK.

The New York Declaration on Forests Progress Assessment Report on Goal 10 highlights the importance of accountability and transparency to achieve better forest governance.

RSPO Financial Institutions Q&A

Clara Melot | 22 Nov 2018 | Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

Members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s Financial Institutions Task Force shared their views during a panel session at RT16, moderated by SPOTT Engagement and Impacts Manager Clara Melot.

Building biodiversity into business best practice: a roadmap for action

Samir Whitaker | 14 Nov 2018 | London, UK.

Cross-sector consortium launches a new portfolio of biodiversity solutions for business and government.

ZSL report finds palm oil companies lacking clear sustainability targets

Michael Guindon and Annabelle Dodson | 6 Nov 2018 | Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

World’s largest survey of palm oil producers and traders finds lack of assurance in tackling forest loss.

Rubber – does ‘natural’ mean sustainable?

Eszter Wainwright-Déri | 24 Oct 2018 | London, UK.

ZSL will launch SPOTT assessments of rubber producers in 2019 to support the growing number of sustainability initiatives and interest from finance sector and supply chain actors in the sustainable production of natural rubber.

Not seeing the emissions for the trees – why responsible finance must focus on forests

Eleanor Spencer | 13 Sep 2018 | London, UK.

Forests are key to climate mitigation, but their role is too-often overlooked by the financial sector.

Terra incognita: missing maps in the tropical forestry sector hamper efforts to combat forest loss

Chris Eves | 18 Jul 2018 | London, UK.

The SPOTT 2018 timber and pulp assessments finds lack of transparency in tropical forestry sector restricts monitoring of corporate commitments. Lire cet article en français.

Finance sector role flagged in French strategy to fight imported deforestation

Clara Melot | 12 Jul 2018 | Paris, France.

The French government recently published a draft of a strategy to combat imported deforestation. Lire cet article en français.

Save the date: 13 September 2018 – palm oil at Principles for Responsible Investment PRI in Person

Clara Melot | 03 May 2018 | London, UK.

Save the date for our official side event with Robeco on engaging the palm oil sector at the PRI in Person conference in San Francisco, California.

HCV and HCS approaches by palm oil companies

Izabela Delabre | 03 Apr 2018 | London, UK.

The High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) approaches to land-use planning are used to identify and protect important environmental and social values that need to be conserved.

NDPE policies in the palm oil sector

Clara Melot | 27 Mar 2018 | London, UK.

Is the palm oil industry responding to increased scrutiny of efforts to address the most pressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues? Read our latest piece for the CFA Institute Asia-Pacific Research Exchange (ARX) platform.

New companies selected for SPOTT assessment in 2018

Eszter Wainwright-Déri and Annabelle Dodson | 14 Mar 2018 | London, UK.

In response to demand from SPOTT users, ZSL will expand the number of companies assessed to 50 timber and pulp producers and 70 palm oil producers and traders in 2018.

SCRIPT: Soft Commodity Risk Platform

Clara Melot | 26 Feb 2018 | London, UK.

On Thursday 1 March 2018, representatives of financial institutions will be previewing SCRIPT, the Soft Commodity Risk Platform, launched by Global Canopy in partnership with WWF and Ceres, and supported by CDP and ZSL’s SPOTT.

ZSL publishes 2017 SPOTT Annual Report

Joyce Lam | 21 Feb 2018 | London, UK.

The past year has seen some significant developments for SPOTT. SPOTT has expanded to feature assessments of timber and pulp companies against a new indicator framework to highlight best practice in the forestry industry.

Sustainable palm oil and responsible investment: New report from ZSL and Aviva Investors

Clara Melot | 16 Jan 2018 | London, UK.

ZSL and Aviva Investors call on responsible financiers to drive palm oil producers and traders in a more sustainable direction.

Updated ESG transparency assessments of palm oil producers and traders

Izabela Delabre | 23 Nov 2017 | Bali, Indonesia.

ZSL has released its latest environmental, social and governance (ESG) transparency assessments of palm oil companies.

From disclosure to engagement: A guide to the SPOTT indicators for assessing palm oil producers and traders

Clara Melot | 20 Nov 2017 | London, UK.

ZSL has collaborated with palm oil companies, investors, banks and other organisations to publish a guide to SPOTT’s indicator framework.

Assessing transparency in the forestry sector

Chris Eves | 09 Nov 2017 | London, UK.

ZSL has today announced the expansion of its pioneering sustainable commodities monitoring platform to cover the timber and pulp industry, following the success of encouraging greater transparency in the palm oil sector.

FSC General Assembly 2017 – Tropical Forests event

Chris Eves | 04 Oct 2017 | Vancouver, Canada.

Taking place once every three years, this year the 8th Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) General Assembly 2017 will take place in Vancouver, Canada, from 8-13 October. 

Making the best of engagement – preliminary findings of study unveiled at PRI in Person 2017

Clara Melot | 03 Oct 2017 | Berlin, Germany.

The Principles for Responsible Investment annual conference, PRI in Person is a unique opportunity to share knowledge on the integration of ESG factors into investment decisions.

IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress

Chris Eves | 22 Sep 2017 | Freiberg, Germany.

As Forestry Officer for the Zoological Society of London I attended the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) 125th Anniversary Congress, from 18-22 September in Freiberg, Germany.

HCV management and monitoring in RSPO-certified plantations

Izabela Delabre | 19 Sep 2017 | London, UK.

A recent study commissioned by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Biodiversity and High Conservation Value (HCV) Working Group investigated the challenges to effective HCV management and monitoring in oil palm plantations.

Palm Lines: Supporting Indian palm oil buyers

Izabela Delabre | 13 Sep 2017 | London, UK.

Palm Lines, a new report by WWF-India, highlights the key role that India can play in driving improved sustainability practices in the sector, including through the use of SPOTT for supplier screening.

Transparency assessments show uneven implementation of ESG commitments by palm oil companies

Moritz Koenig | 18 Jul 2017 | London, UK.

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) recently published a blog post on the CFA Institute’s Asia-Pacific Research Exchange (ARX), highlighting for the first time the discrepancies between companies’ commitments and their implementation.

New palm oil company assessments

Joyce Lam | 29 May 2017 | London, UK.

As another hazy dry season looks set to loom across Southeast Asia, the latest SPOTT assessments find palm oil producers and traders varying in their commitments to combating fires and ensuring sustainability.

Timber, pulp and paper companies selected

Chris Eves | 27 May 2017 | London, UK.

ZSL’s SPOTT is expanding to assess the transparency of major forest product producers operating in priority tropical areas, scoring companies on their commitments to environmental, social and governance (ESG) best practice.

Connecting Tiger Territory in Sumatra

Alexis Hatto | 14 May 2017 | London, UK.

ZSL runs conservation programmes in over 50 countries, including Indonesia, where we work to protect the Sumatran tiger through actions such as anti-poaching programmes, and engagement with local communities and industry.

RSPO European Roundtable in London

Izabela Delabre | 13 May 2017 | London, UK.

As ZSL’s palm oil technical advisor, I attended this year’s Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) European Roundtable in London, on 12-13 June 2017, to take part in a panel discussion on innovation and partnerships.

SPOTT shortlisted for new Responsible Investor Award

Clara Melot | 01 May 2017 | London, UK.

Prompted by a growing number of reports stressing the negative impacts of palm oil production, financial experts first called upon ZSL back in 2013, given our collaborative conservation work with the industry.


Reports and publications

Download our recent reports and publications for further information about SPOTT and sustainable commodity production.

Sustainable palm oil and responsible investment

This report from Aviva Investors and ZSL’s dedicated SPOTT team – Sustainable Palm Oil and Responsible Investment – highlights that investors have the power to transform the whole palm oil industry, by encouraging the companies they finance to adopt more responsible policies on deforestation, land conflicts and labour conditions.

Focusing on the palm oil investment case through case studies, it outlines key questions that institutional investors should ask during their engagement with oil palm growers, traders and buyers, to help incentivise improvements to their environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices.


From disclosure to engagement

There is an ever-growing spotlight on the risks associated with sourcing palm oil and investing in its production. What information should palm oil producers and traders be disclosing to their stakeholders? What are the most pressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues for investors?

The comprehensive SPOTT framework of 125 transparency indicators for best practice in palm oil production highlights the potential financial, reputational and other risks facing responsible investors, buyers and wider stakeholders.

To support disclosure and engagement on these issues, ZSL has collaborated with palm oil companies, investors, banks, buyers, and other organisations to publish a detailed guide titled From disclosure to engagement: A guide to the SPOTT indicator framework for assessing palm oil producers and traders.


Smallholders: key to building sustainable palm oil supply chains

Approximately 40% of the world’s palm oil is produced by smallholder farmers, making them essential parts of global palm oil supply chains. To help make sustainable palm oil the norm, it is crucial that smallholders are incorporated into company sourcing strategies and have access to sufficient technical and financial support to produce palm oil sustainably.

This report from ZSL finds that there is a lack of disclosure by palm oil producers and traders on both the extent and locations of smallholders within their supply chains. Knowing where companies source from is critical to effectively implement and verify compliance with corporate commitments and legal requirements. Providing support and training to both independent and scheme smallholders can help companies ensure that the palm oil they source is produced in compliance with their policies.

To transform the palm oil sector, companies must extend their commitments to cover all their sourcing, disclose details of the smallholders in their supply chain, and increase support for the smallholders they source from.


HCV and HCS approaches by palm oil companies

The High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) approaches to land-use planning are used to identify and protect important environmental and social values that need to be conserved. These approaches are of great importance to companies’ approaches to conservation in general. They also contribute to risk reduction, the implementation of commitments to no deforestation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and safeguarding the rights of local communities.

This report from ZSL finds that over 70% of palm oil producers and traders assessed on SPOTT in November 2017 had made clear commitments to the HCV approach, increasing from 54% in October 2015. But despite this progress, only a third of companies clearly extend their HCV commitments to scheme smallholders and independent suppliers, indicating potential ESG risks.


Hidden land, hidden risks

ZSL has produced a thorough analysis of the land holdings disclosed by 50 of the world’s largest palm oil producers and traders assessed on SPOTT.

This SPOTT report – Hidden land, hidden risks? The need for improved corporate reporting of land holdings associated with palm oil production – shows that companies are failing to publicly disclose figures on their total landbank and details of the different areas under their management, potentially masking environmental and social risks, such as deforestation.



Email newsletters

Subscribe to our email newsletter below, and read our past newsletters for important information about the monitoring and management of environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks from the production of palm oil, timber and pulp. We will never share your details with anyone else and you can unsubscribe using the link in any of our emails.