A considerable amount of work still needs to be done before companies have deforestation-free palm oil supply chains, Greenpeace International said on 3 March when it released its ‘scorecard’ of 14 global consumer goods companies which have 'no deforestation' policies in place.

“None of the companies we surveyed are able to say with any certainty that there is no deforestation in their palm oil supply chain. Most companies are unable even to say how much of their palm oil comes from suppliers that comply with their own sourcing standards,” the NGO said.

The companies reviewed were Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Ferrero, General Mills, Ikea, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg, Mars, Mondelez, Nestle, Orkla, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Unilever.

In its report, Greenpeace said only one of the 14 companies surveyed – Ferrero – could trace nearly 100% of its palm oil back to the plantation it is grown on.

“Most companies have yet to start obtaining independent third-party verification to demonstrate that their palm oil is produced by companies operating in compliance with their own ‘no deforestation’ policies. None publish a full list of their palm oil suppliers, although some do publish lists of top suppliers. None publish a list of suppliers that they have ceased purchasing from due to finding evidence of rainforest clearance, or other breaches of policy.”

It said some companies were making significant progress. A few had changed their purchasing and were trying to take control over their supply chain by predominantly buying physically certified Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) palm oil. Others were succeeding in tracing large volumes of the oil they buy back to the plantation where it was grown.

“While neither of these actions is proof that suppliers are not responsible for deforestation, each can be an interim step towards understanding and remedying supply chain problems.”

The companies were assessed on responsible sourcing, transparency and industry reform.

Ferrero and Nestle were singled out as on track; while Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson and Pepsi-Co were assessed as ‘failing’.

A company was considered to be failing where it was making slow progress towards tracing its palm oil to the mill; was still reliant on GreenPalm certificates; and was relying on RSPO certification as verification of their ‘no deforestation’ policies and could show no other meaningful action to reduce its exposure to deforestation, Greenpeace said.