Waitrose takes sourcing seriously. We have been a member of the global alliance the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) since 2006. RSPO encourages the sustainable production and use of palm oil. We achieved our first target to use 100% RSPO certified palm oil in 2012. This includes palm oil, palm kernel oil and its derivatives, ensuring the palm oil used to make all our groceries is only from certified sustainable sources.
We continue to expand our use of the RSPO Trademark on those products which contain a significant amount of palm oil, largely soaps and fat spreads. Clear labelling and use of the RSPO logo allow customers to see where palm oil is found in our products.
Those products, and their ingredients, are made using physical certified palm oil, but there are still some trace elements that are not available in this form. To bring local and small producers’ food to market we also trade with small companies who use very small quantities of palm oil. To cover these instances we buy a small number of GreenPalm™ certificates. To make sure this offsetting money is developing best practice on the ground, we buy certificates from specific smallholder projects, helping to support their transition to better production standards.
To keep improving in 2015 we introduced new commitments. These include adding ‘Zero Deforestation’ and new Social standards to our policy. We will seek out those suppliers that protect biodiversity, are committed to stop planting on peat, a key driver of the terrible forest fires in South East Asia, and who protect livelihoods in developing countries by helping the smallholder community growing oil palm.
In 2015 we made good progress. Having undertaken a full supply chain mapping exercise we now know that more than 50% of our RSPO certified palm oil is coming from growers and processors with compatible extra Zero Deforestation commitments and who can provide traceability back to known mills. We will continue to improve until all our palm oil meets these new standards.
To progress, we will continue to work as part of a global retailers’ alliance to push for transparent sourcing information from any growers or processors bringing material to Europe. Delivering this information will allow us to map how our buying impacts on the ground. In coming years we will also be working on specific programmes to support small holders growers.