UK Sustainable Palm Oil Initiative

The UK Sustainable Palm Oil Initiative encompasses the UK Roundtable on Sourcing Sustainable Palm Oil: an industry alliance that aims to promote the uptake of sustainable palm oil in the UK and create incentives for sustainable production. 


The challenge

The UK government has commitments to support private sector-led efforts to eliminate deforestation from agricultural commodity supply chains by 2020. These are articulated in the New York Declaration on Forests (2014) and the Amsterdam Declarations towards eliminating deforestation from agricultural commodity supply chains (2015).

A significant number of UK companies have already committed to eliminating the deforestation linked to palm oil use in their supply chains by 2020 by signing up to No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation (NDPE) standards, publishing their mill lists and mapping suppliers. They now seek to accelerate these changes and support producer countries to build sustainable agricultural industries with strong social and environmental outcomes.


The initiative

To address this challenge, UK government supports the UK Sustainable Palm Oil Initiative (UK SPOI) in convening the UK Roundtable on Sourcing Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Launched in 2012, the Roundtable brings together a group of key corporate and industry players committed to a shared Goal of sourcing 100% sustainable palm oil by 2020, with joint monitoring and reporting. Members include trade associations for key palm oil-using sectors, the major UK refiners, manufacturers, retailers, food service, finance and NGOs.

Efeca, a sustainable commodities consultancy firm, supports the Initiative by providing technical support, facilitation and coordination to both Roundtable members and government.


Current impact

According to the 2018 Annual Report, 77% of the overall volume of crude and refined palm oil, palm kernel oil and fractions imported into the UK were supported by RSPO certification models – which include Identity Preserved, Segregated and Mass Balance certification. This eightfold increase from the 2009 baseline is significant progress, and with P4F support, the Roundtable members are also seeking increased alignment across Europe through signing the Amsterdam Declaration on sourcing sustainable palm.

Lessons from the approach and design of the UK SPOI have already been shared and adopted by the more recently formed UK Sustainable Soy Initiative and UK Global Resource Initiative. The Roundtable continues to share lessons and liaise with other producer and consumer platforms, such as the China palm oil group run by WWF. It is also facilitating a UK-Indonesia business dialogue, which provides space to discuss how Indonesian markets can support UK businesses in reaching 100% certified sustainable palm oil.

In addition to supporting industry in meeting their sustainable sourcing commitments, Efeca supported the launch of Chester as the UK’s first sustainable palm oil city in March 2019, as well as a communications campaign run later in the year to improve the narrative of sustainable palm oil, and produced annual reports tracking UK SPOI’s progress.


More information

For more information please contact Efeca