12 October 2020 --  Palm oil is a common ingredient used in many food and non-food products. When sourced responsibly, it is one of the most efficient vegetable oils with the least environmental impact. However, demand for palm oil is increasing and putting more pressure on forests and biodiversity. As part of our Little Helps Plan, we have committed to achieve zero net deforestation in the sourcing of our key forest commodities including palm oil by 2020. Since our last update, we have now achieved another important milestone with our sourcing of sustainable palm oil.

"We know our customers care about where their food comes from", said Daniel Salter, Tesco Group Responsible Sourcing Manager (Forests).

Achieving 100% RSPO certification in our international markets
Tesco has been a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) since 2007. We first achieved 100% RSPO certified for all palm oil for our biggest market in the UK in 2015. Since then we have been implementing RSPO certification across the rest of Tesco Group, including our wholesale business, Booker, and all our international markets in Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Thailand and Malaysia. Our latest RSPO annual report has just been published and it confirms all palm oil used across our Tesco Group Own Brand products, both in the UK and all our international markets, is now RSPO certified.

This includes being the first retailer in Asia to achieve RSPO certification for our Tesco Own Brand palm cooking oil, one of the biggest uses of palm oil globally, and we hope this achievement encourages other retailers to join us with certification of their own cooking oil brands.

Our commitment to support industry transformation beyond certification
While certification is an important starting point, we recognise there is more we can and must do. RSPO certified palm oil has remained stable at around 20% of the global market. To ensure the remaining 80% of global palm oil is deforestation-free we need to scale up other approaches that promote faster industry transformation. To support this, we are actively collaborating with both industry partners and our partner WWF.

We are leading members of the Palm Oil Transparency Coalition (POTC) and a member of Consumer Goods Forum Forest Positive Coalition of Action. One of the key ambitions of both these industry collaborations, is that we have committed to sourcing our RSPO certified palm oil only from palm oil traders that are verified as zero deforestation suppliers for all palm oil they trade globally.

To achieve this, we will use the annual POTC rankings and then work with WWF to develop effective but practical expectations for the palm oil traders in our supply chain. We will expect them to provide us with credible time-bound action plans to become verified zero deforestation free palm oil companies as soon as possible and by 2025 at the latest. Our aim in the coming years will be for our supply chain to source only from traders who provide us with their action plans and make sufficient progress against their goals.

In 2019, we were the first retailer to provide transparency of our palm oil supply chain in terms of traders and country of origin information. We look forward to updating this information in the coming months, along with a summary of the actions we have taken to engage our priority traders towards becoming verified zero deforestation suppliers.

You can read more about our approach tackling deforestation and sourcing sustainable palm oil here.


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