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Does Nestlé use sustainable palm oil?

Palm oil plantation thailand

Yes. All palm oil used by Nestlé UK and Ireland is 100% Certified Segregated palm oil by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Globally this figure is at 85% responsibly sourced palm oil, and we are committed to reaching 100% RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil by 2023.


What is palm oil?

Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of oil palm trees. It is a very versatile oil with a diverse range of properties and uses that make it one of the most widely used vegetable oils, so much so that it can be found in nearly half of all packaged products found in supermarkets.


Why do companies use palm oil? Is there palm oil in my KitKat?

Palm oil is used in some Nestlé products for a variety of reasons, it acts as a natural preservative, giving food a longer shelf life and helping to avoid waste; it is semi-solid at room temperature and so can help to maintain and ensure the texture of some of our products/favourite foods.


Why not another type of oil?

As well as the versatility, a key benefit of using palm oil is that it requires less land to cultivate it compared to other equivalent vegetable oils, and using it allows us to avoid using animal fats. Globally palm oil supplies 35% of the world’s vegetable oil on just 10% of the land, it is one of the highest yielding vegetable oils available. The alternatives, like sunflower oil, soybean oil or rapeseed oil aren’t necessarily better in terms of environmental and social impact, and that makes things tricky.


What does 100% RSPO Certified Segregated palm oil actually mean?

RSPO certified palm oil means it has been produced according to the standard set by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil or RSPO. RSPO brings together stakeholders across the whole value chain from producers to traders, manufacturers, retailers and NGOs and academics, to set out standards for sustainable palm oil production. There are different ways palm oil certification works, each supports the transition to a more sustainable palm oil industry. The first option is through certificates, where a company can buy certificates that equate to the volume of palm oil they use, even though that certified palm oil might not end up in their products. Segregated palm oil is where sustainably certified palm oil is physically separated from conventionally produced palm oil and is traced through the supply chain and used in products. In this way, you can be assured that the product you are consuming physically contains sustainable palm oil. Another option for certification is a mass balance approach where sustainably certified and non-sustainably certified palm oil may be blended together and the volumes of each tracked for use in products.


Does Nestlé use any certifications for the palm oil they use?

Nestlé uses RSPO certification for the palm oil they use. The RSPO has developed a set of environmental and social criteria which producers and companies must comply with in order to produce and claim use of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO). This standard plays an important role in driving industry change towards making sustainable palm oil production the norm. Nestlé is a member of the RSPO and actively participates in supporting this ambition. As part of the global commitment Nestlé is steadfast to achieving 100% RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil by 2023.


How is Nestlé ensuring responsible palm oil sourcing?

At Nestlé we have a Responsible Sourcing Standard (pdf, 2Mb) for all suppliers that we use at Nestlé and we are focusing on ensuring all suppliers comply with this standard, which covers biodiversity, human rights, the protection of peatlands and for preventing social conflict arising from potential disputes over land rights.

All our suppliers must comply with local laws and regulations as a minimum under our guidelines. They must not cultivate palm oil or source it from areas cleared of natural forest after December 31, 2015. They must respect the free, prior and informed consent of local and indigenous communities, and protect high-carbon-value forests and peatlands.

We have also partnered with Earthworm Foundation, and are currently mapping our palm oil supply chain. We can now trace more than 90% of the palm oil we source back to the mill of origin and almost half back to the plantation level.

Nestlé is focusing on technical assistance programs for smallholders, including Earthworm's 'Rurality' initiative. The smallholder focus is a direct way to improve our responsible sourcing of palm oil and make a real difference to the farmer livelihoods.


Palm oil is often associated with deforestation and destruction of habitats for species like the Orangutan, what are you doing to stop that in your supply chain?

Nestle is committed to ending deforestation in our key commodity supply chains, including palm oil, by no later than 2022. We are not only content with stopping deforestation but are committed to becoming forest positive to move beyond protecting forests to restoring them and promoting sustainable livelihoods and the respect of human rights. One of the key challenges with ensuring our palm oil sourcing is not linked to deforestation is traceability and knowing exactly where our palm oil comes from.

In September 2018, we became the first global food company to implement Starling, a satellite-based service developed by Airbus and Earthworm Foundation, to monitor 100% of our global palm oil supply chains. With this being extended to other commodities like pulp and paper.

We also published our Transparency Dashboard in April 2019, which uses data from Starling to provide information on deforestation trends seen near the palm oil mills where we source.

Using all this information, we are continuously increasing our proportion of responsibly sourced’ palm oil that fully complies with our Responsible Sourcing Standard.

As well as working with our suppliers, we’re improving traceability standards to understand exactly where our palm oil comes from.

We can now trace over 90% of the palm oil we source back to the mill of origin and almost half back to the plantation level.


How do you stop forced labour and human rights abuses?

Human rights abuses have no place in our palm oil supply chain, but unfortunately they remain a a problem across the whole sector. This is why we need strong, collective action to address them and raise cross-industry standards. Working with others, Nestlé is committed to ending such abuses and ensuring responsible labour practices.

In April 2018, we launched our global Action Plan (pdf, 400Kb) to address labour rights in our palm oil supply chain. This plan sets out the targets, activities and interventions we will focus on with our partners and other industry players to address forced labour issues. We will provide regular public updates on our progress.

At the same time, we published an independent Labour Rights Assessment of our palm oil supply chain in Indonesia, based on interviews with over 200 people, including mill and plantation workers, smallholders and local community members.

We wanted a better understanding of actual and potential labour impacts in Indonesia, and developed recommendations on the role Nestlé, and other industry players (government, civil society, certification bodies, international organizations and palm oil buyers), should play.


How about palm oil and health? / Is palm oil good for me/my health?

Nestlé uses refined palm oil as an ingredient in a number of products. We meet all food safety regulations and laws, wherever we operate and go beyond these requirements when we can.

When eaten as part of a healthy and balanced diet, foods made using palm oil (such as bouillons, fried noodles, doughs, chocolate coatings or ice cream) typically make up only a small contribution to our daily intake of saturated fats and are not a health risk.

Nestlé has significantly reduced saturated fats in many of our products since adopting a corporate policy (pdf, 1.5Mb) on this in 2009. Our objective is to reduce saturated fats by 10% in products that do not meet strict nutritional standards, to support the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation that only 10% of calories should come from saturated fats.