UK retailers dominate WWF’s sustainable palm oil scorecard


UK retailers Sainsbury’s and M&S have joined the Co-op and Waitrose owner John Lewis Partnership to sit at the top of WWF’s sustainable palm oil rankings.

The wildlife charity’s latest Palm Oil Buyers scorecard includes 23 companies globally that have achieved the highest ranking, up from 14 in 2021.

The companies named have increased their leadership in sourcing sustainable palm oil and driving industry-wide transformation to help protect forests.

Previously placed ‘middle of the pack’ in the rankings, Sainsbury’s and M&S are now among those ‘leading the way’, scoring above 21 out of a possible 24, alongside the John Lewis Partnership and Co-op.

Sainsbury’s said it was “committed to eliminating deforestation and conversion from [its] supply chains”, and has a “relatively small footprint”, compared to the global demand.

Morrisons, Asda and Tesco all came in slightly lower, scoring 16.72, 18.62 and 19.75 respectively.

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Companies can score up to 18 points for actions to ensure their own supply chain is sustainable and free of deforestation, natural ecosystem conversion, and human rights abuse.

An additional six points assess companies’ contribution to industry-wide transformation by promoting sustainable palm oil beyond their direct supply chain.

The score card is released as the urgency to combat climate change peaks. Palm oil production is deemed a key threat to at least 193 endangered species, including orangutans, elephants, rhinoceroses, and tigers.

Recent WWF data suggests that oil palm-driven deforestation has begun to slow, with governments in major producing countries taking action.

However, an in-depth examination of the 128 companies which participated in the report shows that while 91% of respondents have committed to sourcing 100% RSPO-certified palm oil, only 59% are doing so.

“WWF’s palm oil scorecard gives the public sight of what companies are doing to build a sustainable industry,” said WWF conversion-free supply chain specialist Nicola Brennan.

“It also shows that it is possible for companies to introduce sustainable palm oil across their entire product ranges and that every company can follow suit.

“Given the urgency of tackling deforestation and protecting smallholders and local communities, companies must accelerate action across markets and prove they are serious about transforming the palm oil industry so that as consumers we can be confident that the products, we buy aren’t driving deforestation.”


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