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Korea
Sustainability

BASF first chemical company offering Rainforest Alliance Certified personal care ingredients based on coconut oil

This is the next important step to ensure that its renewable-based products are made from sustainably sourced raw materials. With the certification of BASF’s production site in Cassina Rizzardi, Italy, BASF is the first chemical company offering certified sustainable personal care ingredients based on coconut oil. The company was certified according to the Rainforest Alliance Mass Balance Coconut certification scheme. Mass balance (MB) is a supply chain model that fosters the physical flow of certified raw materials within the supply chains, while the farmers benefit from selling Rainforest Alliance Certified coconuts and copra.

With the certification of our first production site and the offer of Rainforest Alliance Certified personal care ingredients to our customers, amongst palm and castor oil, we have established another supply chain based on renewables. We have thus taken an important step in transforming the market towards certified, sustainably sourced oleochemicals.
Jutta Stute.png

Jutta Stute

Sustainability Manager in BASF’s Care Chemicals division

BASF is first to offer personal care ingredients based on certified sustainable coconut oil.

Coconut oil is an important feedstock for the chemical industry. BASF uses coconut oil to produce ingredients for cosmetic products, detergents and cleaning agents as  well as foodstuff. Certified sustainably sourced coconut oil is just one recent example of how BASF’s Care Chemicals Division is addressing future challenges. Sustainability, digitalization, innovation and new approaches to working together are the key cornerstones to Care 360° – Solutions for Sustainable Life.

The certified coconut oil was made possible by a development partnership between BASF, Cargill, The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) and the German government agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH with the strong support from the Rainforest Alliance and the Philippine Coconut Authority. The objective of the project 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. About 1,600 farmers received additional training and have been certified according to the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard. Farmers who were trained and certified have, on average, a 47 percent higher income than farmers who did not participate in the program.

BASF has set itself the goal to creating chemistry for a sustainable future. As a worldwide acting company, BASF has a responsibility to manage its supply chain carefully. The company is deeply involved in a range of initiatives to increase the share of nature-based ingredients in its portfolio and to enhance the sustainability of farming practices and the wellbeing of farmers and workers. Examples include the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) as well as SuCCESS (Sustainable Castor Association).

Facts and Figures
 
  • The Philippines and Indonesia are the world‘s largest producers of coconuts and exporters of coconut-based products.
  • Most coconut farmers are smallholders and tenants who cultivate only a little bit of land.
  • They are working on a weak resource base with limited access to know-how and means of financing.
  • Farmer trainings on farm management skills, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and enabling certification have been developed.
  • The project partners established a certified chain of custody that allowed the tracking from refinery back to Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM farms.
  • So far, farms with a total area of 4.915 ha are certified.
  • Trained and certified farmers could improve their annual productivity of coconuts by 26 %.
  • In 2018, the first Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM coconut oil has been sustainably produced in the Philippines. 
  • BASF uses coconut oil to manufacture ingredients for cosmetic products, detergents and cleaning agents, as well as food applications. 

BASF cooperated with Cargill, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in a development partnership under the develoPPP.de program commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to establish a certified coconut oil supply chain and improve the livelihood of coconut farmers in the Philippines and Indonesia. 

The combined expertise of the partners helps ensure the success of the program. The private partners share their understanding of the market mechanisms and trends, while GIZ contributes its expertise in training of farmers and promoting sustainability standards. Between November 2015 and October 2019, more than 4,100 coconut farmers have been trained in Good Agricultural and processing Practices (GAP) as well as Farm Management practices. About 1,600 farmers received additional training and have been certified against the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard. Farmers who were trained and certified, have on average a 47% higher income than farmers who didn’t participate in the program.

The results show that trained farmers have a higher productivity than non-trained farmers, with certified farmers reaping the biggest benefits. According to an endline survey carried out by an independent provider of market research and consulting services, the joint project has proven that certified coconut oil production is making a difference in farmer’s lives. Certified coconut farmers harvest more and have a productivity which is 26% higher in comparison to non-involved farmers.  Coconut oil production levels increase, and developmental benefits are achieved, contributing towards better living conditions for the coconut farmers and their families.

The first Rainforest Alliance Certified™ coconut oil has been produced in 2018 with the support of this partnership. The certified coconut oil was made possible by establishing a transparent supply chain according to the Rainforest Alliance Chain of Custody standard on mass balance level that fosters the administrative flow of certified raw materials within the supply chain and supports farmers to produce more sustainably. Rainforest Alliance Certified coconut farms must meet comprehensive requirements for sustainable agriculture that built on the three pillars of sustainability—environmental protection, social equity, and economic viability. Rainforest Alliance certified farmers have an effective planning and management system in place, conserve biodiversity and natural resources and improve livelihoods and human well-being. 

half open coconut with green leaf in the background

The Philippines and Indonesia are the world’s two largest producers of coconuts and exporters of coconut-based products. The coconut growing regions belong to the least developed areas and host the largest number of rural poor. The farmers are mostly smallholders or tenants with less than four hectares of land and limited access to know-how and means of financing. The programme gives these smallholder farmers a way to address their main challenges which include little or no economies of scale, lack of financing and training resources as well as a rigid supply chain.  

Matthias Radek, GIZ Chief Advisor for Development Partnerships in Agriculture in the Philippines said: “SCNO is an outstanding public-private-partnership project. It can serve as great example on how public and private efforts can create tangible benefits for smallholder farmers, at the same time supporting a market-oriented business model, which has sustainability at its core. The initiative demonstrates how impressive results can be achieved through a strong collaboration, enhancing farming systems, alleviating poverty and ultimately contributing towards the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

With the first Rainforest Alliance Certified™ sustainable coconut oil in place, we have reached an important milestone on the way to establish certified sustainable supply chains and improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers. We are proud of the achievements we have made together with our partners over the last few years.
Ina Boos

Ina Boos

Project Manager, Sustainable Certified Coconut Oil at BASF