Plants such as palm fruit, sunflower, rapeseed, coconut and shea go into our products. It is our job to source our ingredients responsibly and sustainably, and we take that seriously
As the leading global producer of plant-based spreads, our vision for a “Better Plant-Based Future” drives us to source ingredients for our products in a way that supports ecosystems and preserves our planet for future generations to come.
In response to the devastating impacts of deforestation, we are committed to responsibly sourcing our ingredients, including palm oil, soybean oil, shea, coconut and packaging materials such as pulp and paper. We vet partners to verify compliance with our policies and maintain transparency. By doing this, we ensure deforestation doesn’t take place along our supply chains and help to drive industry transformation.
Satellite Monitoring and Verification
Certification is one important way we ensure that deforestation does not occur in our supply chains. We directly source 100% of our palm oil from physically certified sources and we are committed to monitor and verify compliance to our policy.
From September 2019, one way we are doing this is through a new partnership with Starling to use their innovative satellite monitoring technology. Starling, created by Airbus and Earthworm, uses high resolution imagery and radar data to monitor land cover changes. By mapping the location of mills within our supply chain we will be able to identify where deforestation may be occurring. Initially we will be piloting the system in Indonesia where 50% of our palm oil and 70% of the high risks mills in our supply chain are located. In 2020 we will extend its use to cover our global palm oil supply chain.
It is a huge challenge to totally eliminate deforestation but being able to start to track what is actually happening on the ground is a breakthrough which will enable faster and more targeted action.
Our ingredients are used to make our delicious plant-based foods. We recognise the importance of ensuring that all of those ingredients are sourced sustainably and that’s why we are committed to ensuring that we have clear and transparent policies in place to support our commitment.
Palm Oil: 100% Sustainably Sourced
We are a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, meaning that we comply with their requirements not to contribute to any deforestation, destruction of habitats, or loss of biodiversity.
We only use 100% certified sustainable palm oil in our products. When sustainably sourced, palm oil is preferable to other oils in terms of its environmental impact (lower land occupation, climate impact and freshwater use) and its performance (it holds its shape and helps us to create great texture). We not only source 100% of our own palm oil sustainably, we also help to drive transformational change in the palm oil sector. We have teamed up with Starling and Earthworm to use satellite imagery to track and eradicate all deforestation in our supply chains. We also like to be transparent, so we publish the list of mills in our supply chain for maximum accountability.
Currently, we source certified sustainable palm oil both through mass balance and segregated supply chainspalm oil, helping to drive further transformation of the sector towards responsibly sourced palm oil. We will continue to work to increase the proportion of segregated palm oil we use year-on-year.
Our commitment to no-deforestation, in the production of the palm oil we use, includes:
- No conversion of High Conservation Value (HCV) areas
- No conversion of High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests
- No burning in the preparation of new plantings and re-plantings
- A progressive reduction in greenhouse gases emissions associated with existing suppliers
Soybean Oil: 100% Sustainably Sourced
Some of our delicious products contain soybean oil—a byproduct of soy meal production. We believe our use of soybean oil maximises crop productivity and efficiency, avoids potential waste and minimises environmental impacts.
We share concerns about the production of soy products and are working toward full transparency, collaborating with community leaders and expert third parties. Ninety-five percent of our soybean oil is grown in the United States and Canada and is compliant with local environmental regulations. The remaining five percent is sourced from Europe and Brazil, in compliance with the Amazon Basin Soy Moratorium Zone.
We will not contribute to any new deforestation in our soy supply chain and, on top of working with U.S. soy farmers to protect soil integrity by supporting the planting of cover crops between seasons.
Read our Soy Policy Statement.
Shea: 100% Sustainably Sourced
Shea nut oil, also known as shea butter, is produced from the oily kernels of shea seeds. The shea tree is found in sub-Saharan West, East and Central Africa. Collection and processing provide employment to 16 million people, mainly women, and is an important source of income for rural communities.
Shea seeds are considered a sustainable crop as they are collected from trees that grow in the wild, without the need for irrigation, fertiliszers, and pesticides. Shea gives a creamy, spreadable texture to our plant-based spreads and margarines.
Whilst shea is widely considered to be a sustainable crop, we also recognise the potential safety, labour, environmental and economic risks associated with shea nut oil collection and processing, and are committed to working with partners across the value chain to help address these issues.
We require high standards from our suppliers, not only eliminating exploitation and improving safety, but actively empowering shea collectors through financial literacy training, market transparency and business practices.
Read our Shea Policy Statement.
Coconuts are harvested from the coconut palm which is often referred to as the ‘tree of life’. The white flesh (copra) is used to produce oil as well as milk, cream and flour, a range of by-products are made from the shells, husks, and leaves. As a versatile oil with a unique flavour, Upfield uses coconut in a wide range of products including our plant-based butters, margarines, creams and cheeses.
The coconut palm is a resilient, tropical plant, with a long, productive life span and comparatively low inputs. Coconuts are mainly grown and harvested by small scale farmers on family farms. Production is concentrated in the humid tropics, where the coconut sector contributes to the livelihood of about 5 million families in Indonesia and about 3.5 million coconut farmers in the Philippines. Upfield recognises and shares the concerns about the potential economic, social, and environmental risks associated with coconut production. As global demand for coconut continues to grow, smallholder farmers lack the means to invest in replanting. Furthermore, new coconut plantations may drive deforestation, and risk impacting upon both precious ecosystems and smallholder livelihoods, without appropriate safeguards being put in place.
Unlike other ingredients we purchase such as palm oil, soybean oil and paper, coconut is largely a disaggregated crop, and there is currently no globally recognised scalable certification scheme for coconut-based products. Therefore, we will work with stakeholders across the value chain to improve transparency, develop common industry wide approaches to deliver positive impact, advocate for a sustainable coconut industry and innovate to ensure the principles laid out below are implemented throughout our supply chain for the coconut we purchase.
Read our Coconut Sourcing Policy.