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What is Nestlé doing to ensure palm oil is sourced sustainably?

palm oil


Nestlé’s position on palm oil

We use palm oil in some Nestlé products because it works well in many recipes. It takes much less farmland to cultivate palm oil versus other mainstream plant-based alternatives, and using it allows us to avoid using animal fats.

We bought around 423,000 tons of palm oil in 2021, from processing companies that source it in Malaysia, Indonesia, Latin America and West Africa. 

How about palm oil and health?

Nestlé uses refined palm oil as an ingredient in a number of products. We meet and often go beyond, all relevant food safety regulations and laws, wherever we operate.

When eaten as part of a healthy diet, foods made using palm oil (such as bouillons, fried noodles, doughs, chocolate coatings or ice cream) typically make up only a small contribution to our daily intake of saturated fats and are not a health risk.

Nestlé has significantly reduced saturated fats in many of our products since adopting a corporate policy (pdf, 1.5Mb) on this in 2009. Our objective is to reduce saturated fats by 10% in products that do not meet strict nutritional standards, to support the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation that only 10% of calories should come from saturated fats.

We are addressing concerns about MCPD esters in refined palm oils and other refined vegetable oils by working with our suppliers to ensure that levels are as low as possible.

What is Nestlé doing to ensure sustainable palm oil sourcing?

Nestlé is working to increase the proportion of sustainable palm oil that we source by ensuring suppliers comply with our Responsible Sourcing Standard (pdf, 2Mb).

This has provisions to help protect peatland and high-carbon stock forests, which are critical in combating climate change, and for preventing social conflict arising from potential disputes over land rights.

All our suppliers must comply with local laws and regulations under our Responsible Sourcing Standard. They must not cultivate palm oil or source it from areas cleared of natural forest after December 31, 2015. They must respect the free, prior and informed consent of local and indigenous communities, and protect high-carbon-value forests and peatlands.

Sustainable sourcing starting by knowing where our ingredients come from. We have been mapping our palm oil supply chain for over ten years We can now trace more 96% of the palm oil we source back to the mill of origin and 68% to the plantation level.

We also assess and address labor rights risks in our supply chain through our palm oil labor action plan (pdf, 370Kb). As part of this plan, Nestlé has developed a framework that will help the company prioritize supplier engagement and take action based on suppliers' risk profile and their capacity to address labor rights issues.

Nestlé aims to achieve 100% RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil by 2023.

What are you doing to end deforestation in your palm oil supply chain?

We are working towards a deforestation-free palm oil supply chain. As of 2022, 95.6% of our volumes have been assessed deforestation-free.

Working with our suppliers, we’re improving traceability standards to understand exactly where our palm oil comes from. We can now trace over 96% of the palm oil we source back to the mill of origin and 68% to the plantation level.

In September 2018, we became the first global food company to implement Starling, a satellite-based service developed by Airbus and Earthworm Foundation, to monitor our global palm oil supply chains. We have publish a Palm Oil Transparency Dashboard, which uses data from Starling to provide information on deforestation trends seen near the palm oil mills where we source.

How do you help to stop forced labor and human rights abuses?

Human rights abuses are an inherent risk of companies’ supply chain. We need strong, collective action to address them and raise cross-industry standards. Working with others, Nestlé is committed to help ending such abuses and ensuring responsible labor practices.

In April 2018, we launched our global Action Plan (pdf, 400Kb) to address labor rights in our palm oil supply chain. This plan sets out the targets, activities and interventions we will focus on with our partners and other industry players to address forced labor risks. We will provide regular public updates on our progress.

At the same time, we published an independent Labor Rights Assessment of our palm oil supply chain in Indonesia, based on interviews with over 200 people, including mill and plantation workers, smallholders and local community members.

We wanted a better understanding of actual and potential labor impacts in Indonesia, and developed recommendations on the role Nestlé, and other industry players (government, civil society, certification bodies, international organizations and palm oil buyers), should play.

In November 2017, we announced a collaboration with Sime Derby Plantation (SDP) in Malaysia, to launch a worker’s helpline, as a grievance mechanism to help them report human and labor rights abuses.

Find out more

Our Starling journey

Starling is helping us gain a better understanding of the deforestation risks around our palm oil supply chain. As we act on this knowledge we want to share our journey with you.

Our palm oil supplier engagement process

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Engaging our suppliers

We use the data provided by Starling to engage our suppliers on deforestation risks. This graphic illustrates our engagement process.

Our palm oil supplier engagement process

Click to enlarge

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