German chemical and biotech giant BASF has announced that its portfolio now includes certified personal care ingredients based on coconut oil, following certification of its production site in Cassina Rizzardi, Italy.

BASF uses coconut oil to produce ingredients for food products, cleaning agents, cosmetics and detergents.

The company was certified under the Rainforest Alliance Mass Balance (MB) scheme.MB is a sourcing method that allows for certified and non-certified ingredients to become mixed during the shipping and manufacturing processes. Under this system, BASF ingredients can only carry the Rainforest Alliance seal if the amount of coconut oil it uses is equivalent to the amount it has bought from Rainforest Alliance certified farms.

“[This] fosters the physical flow of certified raw materials, while farmers benefit from selling Rainforest Alliance Certified coconuts and copra,” BASF said.

The certification of the company’s coconut oil followed a development partnership between BASF, Cargill, The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) and the German government agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) with support from the Rainforest Alliance and the Philippine Coconut Authority.

The project’s objective was to increase the income and economic self-sufficiency of smallholder coconut farmers in the Philippines and Indonesia by promoting a sustainable certified coconut oil supply chain.

Between November 2015 and October 2018 more than 4,100 coconut farmers were trained in good agricultural practice (GAP), good processing practice as well as farm management, BASF said, with around 1,600 farmers gaining Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard certification following further training.

Farmers who were trained and certified had, on average, a 47% higher income than farmers who had not participated in the programme, the company said.