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Ferrero reaffirms commitment to source palm oil responsibly through new ‘Palm Oil Charter'
Wednesday, 23 June, 2021, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Luxembourg
Ferrero Group unveiled its new Palm Oil Charter, in which the company outlines its ongoing ambition to achieve a palm oil industry that is good for both people and nature.

Originally announced in 2013, the first Palm Oil Charter served as a driver for the group’s development of its responsible palm oil supply chain; a public commitment that took into consideration the company’s core values and its broader sustainability strategy. Today, Ferrero further strengthens its commitments and progress through an updated Charter, which has been elevated based on the company’s ongoing learning journey and insights generated by close collaboration with stakeholders at every level, from suppliers to NGOs through to academic partners.

The new Charter has been developed with Earthworm Foundation; a non-profit organisation focused on positively improving value chains.

As a baseline, the company sources sustainable palm oil that is 100% RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) Certified Segregated and traceable back to plantations: a goal initially reached in 2015, becoming one of the first global companies to do so.

The company’s approach towards responsible sourcing of palm oil goes beyond this high certification standard through active membership in POIG (Palm Oil Innovation Group) and HCSA (High Carbon Stock Approach), two of the highest value endorsement initiatives currently available for the industry. As part of this approach, the new Charter outlines further actions, tackling three strategic areas identified as critical in an intricate industry where environmental and social issues are oftentimes deeply rooted, complex, and interconnected:
 
Human Rights & Social Practices: The company believes in the importance of building a more equitable and inclusive palm oil value chain, requiring our suppliers to take appropriate measures to prevent any form of exploitation, indecent living or working conditions. The company is going beyond these essential rights by helping smallholders build resilience in the face of environmental and economic volatility – as well as improved working conditions – through the collaboration with local governments, NGOs and scientists. The company also understands the importance that indigenous communities are fully engaged whenever agricultural land expansion may occur.
 
Environmental Protection & Sustainability:  The company is dedicated to having a palm oil value chain that not only respects the environment but also becomes a positive driver to regenerate biodiversity, soils, and water systems. Among the initiatives in this focus area, the company is committed to a “no-deforestation” supply chain which includes no planting on peat, no using fire to clear land, and ensuring the protection of forests and natural habitats. Going beyond this, the company uses the Starling Satellite Monitoring System to identify potential deforestation in the roughly one million hectares of our supply chain.
 
Supplier transparency: The company addressed the above issues by fostering a fully transparent, shared responsibility approach across the value chain, as well as requiring all suppliers to adhere to the group’s standards.  The company does this by sharing the list of mills from which we source our palm oil every six months. The company goes beyond with actions such as publishing an action plan and a yearly progress report measured against the goals outlined in the Charter, as well as offering an “Integrity Helpline” to confidentially signal any potential grievances or instances of non-compliance.
 
Moreover, following recent acquisitions, the company has welcomed new products into the extended family and is currently working to integrate them into the supply chain by bringing them up to the company’s overall responsible palm oil sourcing standards.
 
Marco Gonçalves, Ferrero's chief procurement and Hazelnut Company officer, said, “At Ferrero, we take a continuous improvement approach to our value chain and understand the environmental and societal challenges tied to the palm oil industry; this is why we proudly reaffirm our commitments to responsible palm oil sourcing through our new Charter. We look forward to continue our learning journey and go beyond high certification standards with concrete actions that contribute to a more sustainable industry.”
 
Bastien Sachet, Earthworm Foundation, CEO, said, “We welcome this updated charter for three reasons: Firstly, because it builds on a successful implementation of previous commitments and therefore it associates words to action. Secondly, Ferrero is demonstrating its commitment to driving environmental and social excellence linked to strong core values and long-term change. Finally, this Charter will inspire other companies to raise their own bar, as collective leverage and action remains critical to scale impact beyond one company’s supply chain.”

Within this framework and looking towards the future, the company welcomes the European Commission’s upcoming proposals on Mandatory Due Diligence and new legislation to minimise the risk of deforestation and forest degradation linked to products distributed throughout the European Union.

The company believes that effective EU legislation is urgently needed to tackle these issues and establish a level playing field for more sustainable ingredients. In fact, through a public statement signed by more than 40 companies, on May 25, 2021, the company extended support for an effective EU law that will address EU-driven global deforestation.

Francesco Tramontin, vice president, Ferrero Group Public Policy Center and EU Institutional Affairs, said, “Our new Palm Oil Charter is an example of Ferrero’s commitment and actions towards responsible palm oil sourcing. But sector-wide change is needed. In this spirit, we believe that proper EU rules applicable to all relevant companies – coupled with the right cooperation framework with producing countries – can be a game-changer in driving palm oil supply chain systemic transformation, as well as preventing negative environmental and human rights impacts.”
 
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