Raw materials

We depend on the world's natural resources for the 380,000 different product lines we source and sell each year. Our commitment is to put controls in place to ensure that raw materials are sourced in ways that protect and enhance local ecosystems, and improve the livelihoods of the people in our supply chains.

In order to understand the impact of the key raw materials in our own-brand products, we are committed to tracing them back to source. Many of these contain commodities such as leather, palm oil, soy, timber and paper. These have wide ranging environmental and social risks associated with their extraction and production. As a consequence, we are continually working with our buyers and suppliers to ensure that we have traceable and well-managed supply chains. This enables us to source products in a way that does not harm ecosystems and that respects human rights.



100% of cotton used in our own-brand products will be sourced responsibly deploying schemes such as the Better Cotton Initiative, Cotton Made in Africa and Fairtrade Certified Cotton by year end 2020/21.

Our suppliers have purchased enough BCI Cotton to be equivalent to 55% of our total cotton footprint. 

100% of palm oil and palm kernel oil based ingredients and derivatives used in own-brand products to be RSPO physically certified.


100% of the soy used in feed for the production of own-brand meat, milk, poultry, egg and farmed fish products will be procured through certified sustainable sources, including those operated by The Round Table on Responsible Soy and the Pro-Terra Foundation by the end of 2020/21.


100% of our own-brand timber and paper products will be sustainably sourced by year end 2015/16. 98%*

Palm oil in ingredients and soy in animal feed are two of our biggest focus areas. We have made significant progress this year in addressing the systemic supply chain issues associated with both of these commodities.

*We engaged KPMG LLP to undertake an independent limited assurance engagement, reporting to the Partnership, over selected information

A pack of Waitrose own brand soap containing RSPO palm oil

Palm oil

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.

*We engaged KPMG LLP to undertake an independent limited assurance engagement, reporting to the Partnership, over selected information.

Pigs at a trough


The production of soy for food ingredients and in animal feed is associated with a wide range of environmental and social impacts – from deforestation of fragile ecosystems to displacement of communities where plantations are located.

We have been increasing the proportion of responsible soy used in our own-brand products over a number of years and so have achieved the highest rating of any UK supermarket in the WWF soy scorecard.

Our ability to affect sustainable change at scale is in feed systems and 77% of the soy used in the feed used by our farmers for own-brand meat, milk, poultry, egg and farmed fish products comes from certified sustainable sources. We aim for 100% coverage by 2020 and we are confident that we will achieve this early as we aim to move all pig feed to European Non-GM certified and the remaining supply chains will phase out soy in feed over the coming year. Find out more about our contribution to developing sustainable feedstock.