Chemicals firm BASF announced on 18 April that it plans to switch some 330 palm oil-based products to Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Mass Balance (MB) standard during 2018 for the cosmetics industry.

MB is a traceable form of certified sustainable palm oil in which sustainable palm oil and conventional palm oil are mixed for the purposes of manufacturing and transport but the original proportions are maintained. It is a stepping stone to segregated supply.

“This is an important milestone for the cosmetics industry’s progress towards sustainable palm. Some of our customers have already made the step,” said Xavier Susterac, senior vice president of BASF Personal Care Europe.

BASF had also committed to sourcing only RSPO certified PKO by 2020 to combat issues linked to oil palm cultivation, namely deforestation, loss of biodiversity and social conflicts, the company said.

The company produces ingredients for cosmetic products, detergents, cleaning agents and foodstuffs from mostly palm kernel oil (PKO) and its derivatives, with a secondary focus on palm oil.

In 2017, the firm purchased 153,000 tonnes of RSPO certified PKO and was able to trace nearly 80% of its total palm oil consumption of more than 500,000 tonnes.

According to the firm, less than 20% of the current global palm oil-based supply was certifiably sustainable.