Blog: Dean BestWilmar International lifts lid on palm oil sourcing

Dean Best | 22 January 2015

Singapore-based agribusiness giant Wilmar International is to publish more information on how it sources its palm oil, a move welcomed by environmentalists.

The company has launched the Wilmar Sustainability Dashboard in a bid to open its sourcing to public scrutiny. The company said the move builds on its policy announced in 2013 to commit to no deforestation, no exploitation of workers and to protect peatlands.

Jeremy Goon, Wilmar's chief sustainability officer, said today (22 January): "The launch of the dashboard is a significant milestone that not only furthers the group's transparency efforts as it offers an unprecedented level of disclosure, but also provides the business context that enables the group to identify and focus on managing material matters. We believe these are critical in transforming the palm oil industry as well as in ensuring that the group is on track to achieving our aspiration to delink our entire supply chain from deforestation and human rights abuse by end 2015."

According to The Forest Trust, Wilmar controls around 45% of the world trade in palm oil and the company won praise today for its move to in effect open the books on how it sources the commodity.

"No agricultural producer has ever aimed for this level of transparency at this massive scale," Glenn Hurowitz, chairman of Forest Heroes, a global campaign to break the link between deforestation and agricultural production, said. "Wilmar is setting the standard for responsibility in commodity production, and I hope its competitors will soon join them."

Food companies that use palm oil have become high-profile targets of campaigners who claim they have not done enough to stop deforestation and the focus has intensified on their suppliers.

At present, Wilmar said its dashboard will provide information on its existing supply chain to trace the flow of palm oil from ports and refineries back to oil palm mills. The company said "over time" the dashboard will be extended to plantations. 

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