Our Journey Towards Sustainable Oil Palm Products
BASF wants to ensure that its renewable-based products are made from sustainably sourced raw materials.
Two of our key renewable raw materials are palm oil and palm kernel oil and their respective derivatives, which we mainly use to produce home and personal care ingredients and, to a lesser extent, food ingredients. Oil palm plantations can contribute significantly to deforestation, loss of biodiversity and climate change from the loss of peatland. We share the widespread concern about these challenges and are committed to reducing the impact on the environment.
As one of the leading processors of palm (kernel) oil within the Home and Personal Care Industry, we regularly show you the progress being made on our journey toward sustainable oil palm products.
Our primary concern is to ensure that our products are produced from sustainably sourced palm products. We see it as our responsibility to work intensively with the companies we buy our raw materials from, to engage more closely with the palm supply chain from the smallholder to the end consumer, and to address the consequences of using and selling products based on palm oil and palm kernel oil.
Palm oil and palm kernel oil are very versatile vegetable oils, and oil palm trees produce higher yields per hectare than any other oil seed. These facts, combined with relatively low production costs explain, why these vegetable oils are so popular.
However, the palm oil supply chain is complex, involving challenges linked to environmental protection, human rights, economics in developing countries and international trading.
In the past two to three years, our focus has been on certified sustainable palm kernel oil. We have used our certified supply chains to increase traceability.
In contrast to certified palm oil, the availability of certified sustainable palm kernel oil derivatives is still limited. We at BASF therefore support market transformation via certification. For us certification is key for sustainable palm cultivation. The RSPO certification process is currently the most transparent and effective initiative globally to improve the entire palm oil sector. It provides the necessary infrastructure to monitor the market transformation in a transparent manner. To progress holistically, however, the collaboration of all partners in the value chain is needed.
BASF advocates market transformation towards certified sustainable oil palm products. We actively support the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and have been working to foster the physical transformation of the industry. BASF stepped up its commitment to certified sustainable oil palm products in the German, Austrian and Swiss markets by joining the Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil in 2017 as a supporter. As oleo derivative producer we are connected to both ends of the supply chain – upstream with suppliers and downstream to our customers. We follow a multi-stakeholder approach: We engage with partners both inside and outside the supply chain to achieve the best possible outcomes for all stakeholders.
By working with our customers and other stakeholders in the Northern Hemisphere and by actively supporting plantations and smallholders in the Southern Hemisphere, we want to contribute to making sustainable oil palm products the norm in the industry. It is our goal to actively support a more rapid transformation of the entire industry.
In addition to palm oil and palm kernel oil, we have included palm oil and palm kernel oil fractions as well as primary oleo derivatives from the major oleochemical processes in our time-bound plan. These include, for example, fatty acids and fatty alcohols that are used for home and personal care applications and derivatives used for producing food performance ingredients in our Nutrition & Health business. As a result, we will be able to cover the majority of oleo derivatives. Despite the high complexity of our downstream products, it is our goal to achieve transparency for all oil palm products.
We want to ensure that our products are made from sustainably sourced raw materials. On our journey towards sustainable oil palm products we have made progress: We actively support the use of palm and palm kernel oil from sources certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). In 2015 we renewed and extended the BASF Palm Commitment. With the BASF Palm Sourcing Policy we have published a purchasing guideline for palm oil products which includes the protection of forest and peatland. We drive the traceability of our oils to the mill level and support smallholder farmers.
According to our time bound plans we intend to
We are expanding our offering of certified sustainable products in accordance with the RSPO’s Mass Balance supply chain model. In 2018, we have taken the decision to drive sustainable palm with a major portfolio shift. We will only offer palm-based ingredients for the personal care market that are certified as sustainable. This helps our customers to meet their obligations to customers, consumers and stakeholders. To fully complete the switch on a global level, BASF discusses with all its stakeholders to expand the demand for RSPO MB certified products. This is an important milestone for the cosmetics industry.
Smallholder engagement as integral part of sustainable palm production: Partnerships in terms of smallholder projects enable BASF to support these farmers and at the same time increase the availability of sustainably produced palm oil, e.g. by offering continuous education and technical support on implementing and maintaining sustainable palm oil practices and to foster a sustainable palm oil production supply chain that is free from deforestation and competitive in the global market, while increasing the social and economic benefits for farmers.
1 The PCF is calculated according to the requirements and guidelines for quantification as stated in ISO “14067:2018-08 - Greenhouse gases – Carbon footprint of products”.
As the world is consuming more and more palm oil for food, biofuel and personal and home care ingredients, the expansion of palm oil production continues to threaten environmentally sensitive areas of tropical forests and peatlands. With the urgency in sight: how does the home and personal care industry get to sustainable palm?
In 2016, we established the BASF Palm Dialog as a platform to discuss topics relevant for the industry with representatives from the entire supply chain: During the past four years, we have discussed solutions and possible pathways forward with participants from industry, retail, associations and NGOs as well as trade media during the global tradeshow In-Cosmetics. Participants mainly confer about certification requirements, transparency on cost impact and public awareness of the supply chain from smallholders to end consumers. The next BASF Palm Progress Report 2019 will probably be published mid of the year.
Follow the dialog on Twitter (@basf_palm-dialog).