Retailers’ Historic And Growing Role In Transforming The Palm Oil Supply Chain

By Editorial
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Retailers’ Historic And Growing Role In Transforming The Palm Oil Supply Chain

In 2023, private labels accounted for 38.5% of the European grocery market and continued to remain responsive to consumer demand for quality products.

Working closely with their suppliers, retailers define which characteristics their branded products should have, in terms of quality, the ability to stay abreast of consumer trends, and sustainability requirements.

Not surprisingly, the palm oil supply chain worldwide has been directly influenced by the resolve of retailers who have committed to using certified sustainable palm oil in their private-label products, ranging from biscuits to margarine, frozen food, ice cream, instant noodles and many more in the food aisle, as well as soap bars and liquid detergents.

Since its establishment 20 years ago, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has identified retailers as one of the key partners to stimulate the demand for certified sustainable palm oil products.

Retailers are equally represented among RSPO Members, with two seats on the RSPO’s Board of Governors, and bring valuable contributions to the organisation in working groups, committees and several initiatives.


Sainsbury's, the second largest supermarket chain in the UK, was the first retailer to purchase from the world’s first shipment of RSPO Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO), in 2008.

Since then, retailers have played a major role in the uptake of CSPO. As stakeholders in the downstream supply chain, retailers bear a Shared Responsibility to actively promote the consumption of CSPO by increasing their CSPO uptake volumes year on year.

Retailers have proven to be the best-performing sector among RSPO Members, who are expected to increase CSPO uptake.

In 2023, 70% of retailer members met the previous year’s CSPO uptake target, which was a 12% increase in CSPO consumption.


Retailers will likely continue to be major players in the years to come and their CSPO uptake performance is visible in the Shared Responsibility Scorecard and dashboards publicly available on the RSPO website.

To date, more than 80 retailers worldwide have joined the RSPO. In Europe, British, Dutch and German retailers are leading the way.

Supermarket chains and discount stores are not the only retailers that have joined RSPO over the years. Recent commitments show online retailers taking the first steps to look into their palm oil supply chain and work closely with the RSPO to help fulfil their sustainability pledges.

Another trend is the growing interest by variety stores with a small and often seasonal assortment of foods containing palm oil.


As the RSPO looks ahead to another 20 years and beyond, the organisation is excited to work with a retail sector that is entering a very dynamic and segmented phase, where different kinds of actors are ready to be seen publicly as sustainability leaders in this space.

This article was written in partnership with RSPO.

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