Palm oil, the most widely used vegetable oil, is a
globally traded agricultural commodity used in approximately half of all consumer
goods, such as packaged foods and personal care products, as well as biofuels. Increasing
demand for palm oil has had measurable environmental and social impacts,
including deforestation, habitat destruction and biodiversity loss. The personal care products industry represents
less than 1% of global palm oil usage, and while we at The Estée Lauder
Companies are a comparatively low-volume user of palm oil, palm fruit oil, palm
kernel oil (PKO) and PKO derivatives, we are sensitive to the issues and
complexities surrounding its sustainable production and traceability.
We believe we have a responsibility to manage the
environmental impact of the palm materials we source. A few of our brands use palm oil that is
extracted from the palm fruit. We source
all of this palm fruit oil from Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)
identity-preserved sources. The majority of our brands use certain ingredients
that are derivatives of palm kernel oil, processed by our suppliers. We have
already begun to substitute existing non-certified PKO derivative ingredients
with RSPO certified Mass Balance (MB) alternatives in some of our
formulae. This substitution process is
expected to continue over several years.
We are committed to working in collaboration with our
suppliers to further enhance the traceability of PKO derivative ingredients we
use, and to the development of sustainably sourced alternatives for our Company. Our internal Palm Oil Working Group has engaged
with suppliers and organizations knowledgeable on sustainable palm sourcing, and
we are seeking sustainable PKO derivatives, where available, to replace
As a result of our ongoing commitment to support
sustainable palm oil sourcing, we have established a more comprehensive policy
and a plan for greater traceability and policy compliance among high-volume[i]
palm oil, PKO and PKO derived ingredient suppliers from which we procure
Our enhanced actions and goals include:
• We have adopted
a no deforestation policy, which requires our high-volume suppliers to ensure that they prohibit new clearing or palm development on High Carbo Stock (HCS)[ii],
High Conservation Value (HCV)[iii]
forests and peat lands[iv]
or the use of fire for the preparation of new planting or
re-planting. By the end of 2015 all suppliers of ELC’s high-volume palm oil, PKO and PKO derived
ingredients will be required to provide third-party verification that they
are complying with our no deforestation policy.
• As members of RSPO, we will seek to purchase
our high volume PKO and PKO derivative ingredients from certified sustainable
sources and from suppliers that can demonstrate their compliance with the RSPO Principles and Criteria, including responsible
consideration of affected employees, individuals and communities, encompassing social
impact assessments, contributing to local sustainable development where
appropriate and respecting human rights.
We will work collaboratively with our high volume suppliers to support
and establish source.
• Until we are able to purchase 100% PKO derivative
ingredients traceable to known and certified sources, we will annually purchase
Green Palm Certificates to offset the use of non-sustainable PKO derived
ingredients that we procure directly. Green Palm is a certificate trading program, which contributes toward
more sustainable palm oil products.
• We will map the
supply chain for our high-volume palm oil, PKO, and PKO derived ingredient
suppliers and assess the sourcing policies and practices of these key
• We will annually
report on our progress.
We remain committed to acting responsibly and will
continue to work with our suppliers, industry partners and other like-minded
organizations to find the best ways to encourage and support the development of
sustainable palm oil production.
[i] High-volume suppliers
are sources from which we purchase greater than 50 tons annually of Palm Oil,
Palm Kernel Oil (PKO) and PKO derived ingredients.
high carbon stock approach distinguishes
natural forest from degraded lands with only small trees, scrub, or grass
remaining. It separates vegetation into six different classes (High Density Forest (HK3), Medium Density Forest (HK2), Low Density Forest (HK1), Old Scrub (BT) 3, Young Scrub (BM), Cleared/Open Land (LT) through the combination of analyzing
satellite images and field plots. HCS forests include the vegetation
classes of BT and above (HK1, 2 & 3). The HCS threshold between BT and BM
is largely determined by the vegetation structure and density difference, where
BT can be described as- Mostly young
re-growth forest, but with occasional patches of older forest within the
stratum, and BM as - Recently
cleared areas, some woody re-growth and grass-like ground cover. Below
this, BM and LT would be considered of low carbon stock and potentially
suitable for oil palm plantation development. For the second stage of the HCS
methodology, the identified HCS/forest areas are screened against biodiversity
conservation criteria. Social considerations include the current and future
land use by local communities and the free, prior informed consent (FPIC) of
local communities, as well as the legal status of the land, the impact of the
HCS areas on plantation design and management, and overall monitoring. Please
see here for more information: http://www.goldenagri.com.sg/pdfs/misc/High_Carbon_Stock_Forest_Study_Report.pdf
Conservation Value refers to the areas
necessary to maintain or enhance one or more High Conservation Values (HCV),
where a HCV is a biological, ecological, social or cultural value of
outstanding significance or critical importance. Specific definition of
the six HCV categories follow:
• HCV1 Species Diversity: Concentrations of
biological diversity including endemic species, and rare, threatened or
endangered species, that are at significant at global, regional or national
• HCV2 Landscape-level ecosystems and mosaics: Large
landscape-level ecosystems and ecosystem mosaics that are significant at
global, regional or national levels, and that contain viable populations of the
great majority of the naturally occurring species in natural patterns of
distribution and abundance.
• HCV3 Ecosystems and Habitats: Rare, threatened, or
endangered ecosystems, habitats or refuges.
• HCV4. Critical Ecosystem Services: Basic ecosystem
services in critical situations, including protection of water catchments and
control of erosion of vulnerable soils and slopes.
• HCV5. Community Needs: Sites and resources
fundamental for satisfying the basic necessities of local communities or
indigenous peoples (for livelihoods, health, nutrition, water, etc.),
identified through engagement with these communities or indigenous peoples.
• HCV6. Cultural Values: Sites, resources, habitats
and landscapes of global or national cultural, archaeological or historical
significance, and/or of critical cultural, ecological, economic or
religious/sacred importance for the traditional cultures of local communities
or indigenous peoples, identified through engagement with these local
communities or indigenous peoples.
For more information, please see the High
Conservation Value Resource Network: www.hcvnetwork.org.
[iv] Peat lands are
wetland ecosystems that accumulate plant material over time to form layers of
peat soil up to 20 meters thick. They are present in 180 countries, cover 3
percent of the world’s surface, and store an average of 10 times more carbon
per hectare than other ecosystems. Peat lands are also home to a large share of
the world’s freshwater resources and are critical in biodiversity conservation,
including for species such as the orangutan and certain cranes.