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Palm oil assessment summary - November 2020

ZSL's (Zoological Society of London) SPOTT initiative assesses 100 palm oil producers, processors and traders on their public disclosure regarding their organisation, policies and practices related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. We encourage stakeholders to engage with companies, as policies and commitments may not always translate into effective implementation on the ground.

SPOTT scores palm oil producers, processors and traders using a total of 180 indicators across 10 categories. View the categories below to find out more about key results, and visit company pages to view their full assessments.

Note: Indicators are disabled if they are not applicable to companies due to the nature or location of their operations.

41.5% Average total score:
  • Sustainability policy and leadership Sustainability policy and leadership 46.9%
    • 60 companies / 79 (75.9%) have put in place clear sustainability policies that apply to all their operations.
    • 57 companies / 98 (58.2%) have a sustainability policy that applies to all their suppliers.
    • 41 companies / 78 (52.6%) have one or more board members with responsibility for sustainability.
    • 39 companies / 100 (39.0%) are members of external industry schemes or initiatives to improve the sustainability of palm oil production.
  • Landbank, maps and traceability Landbank, maps and traceability 40.4%
    • 53 companies / 79 (67.1%) report a planted area, totalling more than 6.54 million hectares.
    • 48 companies / 79 (60.8%) report their areas set aside for conservation or High Conservation Value (HCV) areas, totalling more than 1.19 million hectares.
    • 18 companies / 69 (26.1%) that source from third-party supplying mills can trace 100% of their raw materials to the mill of origin.
    • 25 companies / 79 (31.6%) can trace 100% of their FFB from their own mills to the plantation of origin.
    • 44 companies / 79 (55.7%) do not report any traceability figures for the percentage of FFB supply traceable to plantation from the company's own mills.
    • 59 companies / 69 (85.5%) can trace 0% of their raw materials from their supplier mills to the plantation of origin.
    • 10 companies / 69 (14.5%) can trace some of their supply from third party mills to plantation level.
    • 26 companies / 64 (40.6%) publish some traceability data at the refinery level.
  • Certification standards Certification standards 42.3%
    • 63 companies / 100 (63.0%) are full members of the RSPO.
    • 2 companies / 100 (2.0%) have subsidiary RSPO members.
    • 4 companies / 79 (5.1%) have 100% of their estates RSPO-certified.
    • 35 companies / 79 (44.3%) have certified some of their estates.
    • 11 companies / 81 (13.6%) have 100% of their mills RSPO-certified.
    • 28 companies / 81 (34.6%) have RSPO-certified some of their mills.
    • 43 companies / 100 (43.0%) are certified under other voluntary certification schemes.
  • Deforestation and biodiversity Deforestation and biodiversity 38.1%
    • 56 companies / 79 (70.9%) have a clear commitment to zero deforestation.
    • 5 companies / 79 (6.3%) have a weak or unclear commitment.
    • 53 companies / 98 (54.1%) have a zero-deforestation commitment that applies to all their suppliers.
    • 33 companies / 79 (41.8%) provide clear evidence of monitoring deforestation.
    • 18 companies / 79 (22.8%) provide some evidence of monitoring deforestation, but which lacks clear methodologies or timeframes.
    • 10 companies / 98 (10.2%) provide clear evidence of how they are monitoring deforestation in their suppliers' operations.
    • 5 companies / 79 (6.3%) commit to restore non-compliant deforestation/conversion and specify a cut-off date beyond which deforestation or conversion would not be accepted.
    • 10 companies / 98 (10.2%) have a commitment to restore non-compliant deforestation/conversion that applies to all their suppliers, which includes a cut-off date beyond which deforestation or conversion would not be accepted.
    • 47 companies / 100 (47.0%) report implementing a landscape or jurisdictional approach.
    • 47 companies / 79 (59.5%) report multiple examples of species and/or habitat conservation management activities.
  • HCV, HCS and impact assessments HCV, HCS and impact assessments 41.7%
    • 56 companies / 79 (70.9%) commit to conduct High Conservation Value (HCV) assessments for all new development.
    • 47 companies / 98 (48.0%) have a commitment to conduct HCV assessments that applies to all their suppliers.
    • 16 companies / 69 (23.2%) have undertaken HCV assessments for all estates planted since January 2015.
    • 53 companies / 79 (67.1%) have a commitment to the High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach.
    • 39 companies / 98 (39.8%) have a commitment to the HCS Approach that applies to all their suppliers.
    • 30 companies / 96 (31.3%) have undertaken social and/or environmental impact assessments (SEIA) and have made associated management and monitoring plans publicly available.
  • Peat, fire and GHG emissions Peat, fire and GHG emissions 41.5%
    • 57 companies / 79 (72.2%) have a clear commitment to no planting on peat of any depth.
    • 1 company / 79 (1.3%) has a weak or unclear commitment that fails to specify all depths of peat or does not cover all operations.
    • 48 companies / 98 (49.0%) have a commitment to no planting on peat of any depth that applies to all their suppliers.
    • 14 companies / 70 (20.0%) report evidence that their landbank on peat has not increased since the previous year.
    • 59 companies / 79 (74.7%) have a clear commitment to zero burning.
    • 54 companies / 98 (55.1%) have a commitment to zero burning that applies to all their suppliers.
    • 43 companies / 79 (54.4%) have disclosed clear information relating to monitoring and managing fires.
    • 18 companies / 96 (18.8%) have a time-bound commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity.
    • 20 companies / 96 (20.8%) report a reduction in their GHG emissions intensity over time.
  • Water, chemical and pest management Water, chemical and pest management 36.9%
    • 18 companies / 96 (18.8%) have a time-bound commitment to improve water use intensity.
    • 21 companies / 96 (21.9%) report making progress towards their water use intensity commitment.
    • 18 companies / 81 (22.2%) have a time-bound commitment to improve water quality.
    • 15 companies / 81 (18.5%) report making progress towards their water quality commitment.
    • 40 companies / 79 (50.6%) have a commitment to minimise the use of chemicals, including both pesticides and chemical fertilisers.
    • 22 companies / 98 (22.4%) have a commitment to minimise the use of chemicals that applies to all their suppliers.
  • Community, land and labour rights Community, land and labour rights 50.2%
    • 59 companies / 100 (59.0%) have a public commitment to the UN Declaration on Human Rights or equivalent.
    • 47 companies / 98 (48.0%) have a commitment to human rights that applies to all their suppliers.
    • 56 companies / 84 (66.7%) commit to the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).
    • 55 companies / 98 (56.1%) have a commitment to FPIC that applies to all their suppliers.
    • 32 companies / 79 (40.5%) support the inclusion of women across their palm oil operations, including addressing barriers faced.
    • 50 companies / 100 (50.0%) commit to the Fundamental ILO Conventions or Free and Fair Labour Principles.
    • 31 companies / 98 (31.6%) have a commitment to Fundamental ILO Conventions or Free and Fair Labour Principles that applies to all their suppliers.
    • 10 companies / 100 (10.0%) report salary by gender.
  • Smallholders and suppliers Smallholders and suppliers 26.9%
    • 52 companies / 94 (55.3%) commit to support both scheme/plasma and independent smallholders.
    • 45 companies / 88 (51.1%) clearly report they have or support a programme to support independent smallholders/outgrowers in the supply chain.
    • 34 companies / 98 (34.7%) report a clear process to prioritise, assess and/or engage suppliers on compliance with company policy or legal requirements.
    • 14 companies / 98 (14.3%) report a limited or unclear process to prioritise, assess and/or engage suppliers on compliance with company policy or legal requirements.
    • 11 companies / 80 (13.8%) report having a programme to support high-risk mills to become compliant with their sourcing policies, and give examples of the types of support provided.
  • Governance and grievances Governance and grievances 47.5%
    • 70 companies / 100 (70.0%) have commitments to both ethical conduct and prohibition of corruption.
    • 37 companies / 98 (37.8%) have a commitment to ethical conduct and prohibition of corruption that applies to all their suppliers.
    • 52 companies / 100 (52.0%) report having a whistleblowing procedure.
    • 55 companies / 100 (55.0%) have a grievance or complaints system open to all stakeholders.
    • 31 companies / 100 (31.0%) have disclosed details of complaints and grievances.

Key findings

  • The average score of companies is 41.5% in November 2020, compared to 35.2% during the last assessment of palm oil companies in October 2019.
  • 75/96 (78%) companies assessed in 2019 saw an increase in their scores in 2020 – the average change in score was +8.4 percentage points.
  • 17/96 (18%) companies assessed in 2019 saw a decrease in their scores in 2020 – the average change in score was -2.5 percentage points.
  • The average score of Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) members (65 companies), including companies with subsidiary RSPO members, is 54.9% vs. 16.5% for non-RSPO members (35 companies).

Average scores by type

Disclosure types
Organisation
42.9%
Policy
47.2%
Practice
34.3%
ESG
Environmental
38.2%
Social
42.6%
Governance
36.8%
Supply chain
Grower
44%
Crusher
40.3%
Refiner
39.7%
Trader
39.9%

About SPOTT

Developed by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), SPOTT 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, processors and traders on their public disclosure regarding their organisation, policies and practices related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. SPOTT scores companies annually against sector-specific indicators 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. For more information, visit spott.org.

About ZSL

ZSL (Zoological Society of London) is an international conservation charity working to create a world where wildlife thrives. From investigating the health threats facing animals to helping people and wildlife live alongside each other, ZSL is committed to bringing wildlife back from the brink of extinction. Our work is realised through our ground-breaking science, our field conservation around the world and engaging millions of people through our two zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. For more information, visit zsl.org.


SPOTT is a ZSL initiative.
Zoological Society of London (ZSL)