Sustainable Palm Oil Sourcing: The RSPO’s Recommendations For Retailers

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Sustainable Palm Oil Sourcing: The RSPO’s Recommendations For Retailers

In recent years, sustainable sourcing has become a key agenda item in the overall ESG goals of retailers across Europe.

With more consumers prioritising environmentally friendly and ethically sourced products, retailers are increasingly adapting their sourcing policies to meet these expectations.

Having a well-defined sourcing policy demonstrates a retailer’s commitment to sustainability, while mitigating the risk of the reputational damage associated with unsustainable practices, particularly in the palm oil supply chain.

One of the most effective ways for retailers to ensure the sustainability of their palm oil supply chain is by partnering with organisations like the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

The RSPO offers retailers a comprehensive framework for sourcing palm oil responsibly. By referencing RSPO standards in their sourcing policies and making them a prerequisite for suppliers, retailers work to ensure that the palm oil used in their products is produced in a manner that respects the environment, supports local communities, and upholds human rights.


More than 80 retailers worldwide have joined the RSPO since its inception in 2004, with over half headquartered in Europe. Within the region, British, Dutch and German retailers are leading the way.

The RSPO lays out five steps that are crucial for sustainable retailing, as follows:

1. Identifying where palm oil is present as an ingredient in private-label products;

2. Mapping any suppliers or co-packers and checking if they handle products that already contain certified sustainable palm oil;


3. Applying for RSPO membership, to demonstrate commitment and actions;

4. Applying to carry the RSPO label on packaging; and

5. Communicating positive contributions to sustainability by supporting the production of sustainable palm oil.

The last two steps involve labelling and communication, which are essential to educating consumers and showcasing the retailer’s sustainability efforts.


Through their purchasing power and implementation of robust sourcing policies, retailers can incentivise palm oil producers to adopt sustainable practices, thereby playing a pivotal role in driving the transition towards a sustainable palm oil industry.

This article was written in partnership with the RSPO.

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