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Nestlé asks consumers what they would do in the quest for sustainable palm oil

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To raise awareness among consumers about the complex sustainability issues within the palm oil supply chain, Nestlé has today launched Beneath the Surface.

The interactive video platform allows viewers to directly experience some of the challenges that Nestlé faces in sourcing palm oil. The complexity of the palm oil supply chain is displayed through a series of decisions that viewers are asked to make in order to ensure a transparent and sustainable palm oil supply chain on the global scale.

Nestle Beneath the Surface Combi

According to research commissioned by Nestlé, around one in five millennial shoppers (17%) tend to avoid purchasing products containing palm oil or will actively check to see (20%). Almost half (45%) said they tend to avoid products containing unsustainable palm oil.

More than eight out of ten people (85%) believe consuming sustainable products is important, however one in ten (12%) say they don’t know exactly what to look for to establish if a product is sustainable. Of those who do actively check for palm oil and sustainable sourcing, eight out of ten (85%) look on the pack and a quarter (24%) look on company websites. One in ten of those surveyed claim that research into environmental creditability takes too long.

Nestlé hopes that the interactive platform, Beneath the Surface, will give viewers a better insight into the complexity of the palm oil supply chain and see how the choices they make under the different scenarios can lead to a range of outcomes and consequences.

Beneath the Surface Field

Dr Emma Keller, Head of Sustainability, Nestle UK & Ireland, said: “The Beneath the Surface platform enables users to take a peek at some of the dilemmas Nestlé and many other organisations face with palm oil every day. We hope that by having more open conversations about the complexity of sourcing ingredients such as palm oil, people can understand the issues and make better informed decisions when choosing products.

“We can all play a role towards a sustainable palm oil future where it contributes to protecting and restoring nature to the benefit of people, wildlife and the planet. We are working on it and expect our consumers to continue to hold us to account," Dr Keller added.

Katja Seidenschnur, Sustainability Director, Nestlé Europe, Middle East and North Africa, said: “We collaborate with expert partners in the palm oil sector to increase the transparency of our supply chain, protect and regenerate ecosystems, respect human and labour rights, and ensure decent working conditions. Through this campaign, we are taking consumers on an experiential journey of how we ensure sustainable palm oil production, revealing the stories behind their purchasing decisions.”

Beneath the Surface CTA

The palm oil sourced by Nestlé is produced by both large plantation owners and small holders . Nestlé remains committed to supporting small holders to produce sustainable palm oil and to improve their livelihoods.

When asked about the production of palm oil, more than half (56%) of people surveyed think Nestlé should work with small farmers, and only one in ten (11%) believe Nestlé shouldn’t.

In fact, 40 per cent of the world's palm oil is produced by small-scale farmers. Stopping palm oil production by smallholders could have a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of millions of small-scale farmers so it is important to continue doing so.

A key step on this journey is by ensuring full transparency across the supply chain. A sustainable palm oil sector is also one in which human and labour rights are respected. With a renewed action plan, Nestlé takes further steps against labour abuses, together with partners and suppliers.

In 2010, Nestlé pledged to ensure palm oil supply chains are free from deforestation, and as of December 2020, 70 percent of purchased palm oil was assessed as deforestation-free. Together with both smallholders and major suppliers, the goal is to be 100 per cent deforestation-free by 2022.

Beneath the Surface Worker

More information about and the video of Beneath the Surface are available here.


Survey conducted in June 2021 by Insites Consulting. Total national representative sample of 1,001 people aged 25-40 years-old in the UK&I.