If palm oil is grown and managed correctly, it is a sustainable ingredient in food and health and beauty products due to its efficiency as a high yielding vegetable oil. Its production is also a significant source of income for many developing regions of the world. However, we recognise that the global expansion of palm oil production has caused far-reaching environmental and social destruction. Our policy on palm oil used in Waitrose branded food, household goods and health and beauty products ensures that wherever possible the palm and palm kernel oils used by our manufacturers are sourced from physically certified supply chain sources. This demonstrates that production has been carried out in accordance with strict social and environmental criteria and assures customers that we are making positive choices about the products they are buying.
Currently, 94%%* of palm oil is from physically certified supply chain sources with the remaining covered by Book and Claim certificates. In addition to certification, we also actively seek suppliers who have a zero deforestation policy and are committed to social enhancement in the communities in which they operate.
About 30% of world palm oil production is produced by more than 3 million smallholder farmers - defined by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) as working on a plantation of less than 50 hectares. This presents a challenge for the industry as the costs associated with certification can be a barrier for many smallholders. Recognising this, our focus is now on developing practical solutions to enable these smallholders to meet the standards required to become certified.
We are ranked as 'leading the way' in the World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) palm oil scorecard.