The majority of the Ferrero’s palm oil mills are located in Indonesia and Malaysia, the two countries that account for nearly 80% of the global palm oil supply, according to the main industry body Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
Other mills are located in several Latin American nations: Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Brazil, according to the list.
The Nutella maker originally agreed to disclose its mills on May 15, 2018 to allow for additional checks with suppliers, but said it felt “strongly about demonstrating its absolute dedication to transparency.”
“Ferrero confirms its full ongoing engagement to securing a deforestation-free and exploitation-free palm oil supply chain through active coordination with NGOs, key stakeholders and suppliers,” said the company’s spokesperson Jeanne Murphy.
“[We] fully welcome Greenpeace’s request for further supply chain transparency and agree that this is an essential component of sustainable sourcing and supply chain responsibility,” she added.
By 2015, Ferrero had achieved 100% “grower level traceability” for its palm oil supply chain, and all the palm oil it sourced was RSPO certified, the company said.
However, Murphy later told ConfectioneryNews Ferrero only achieved 95% of traceability down to plantations in 2016. That number increased to 99% by the end of 2017 after three extra rounds of assessment.
Asked why the traceability percentage dropped in the past few years, Murphy explained, “There is probably a variability every time you do an assessment because of changing plantations and other dynamics.”
She added the concepts of plantations and growers are different.
“To me, the plantations should be bottom line [for tracing palm oil supply chain]. A grower could be a person who owns a number of plantations,” Murphy said.
Ferrero has recently started piloting a geospatial assessment to monitor its land use change by using different remote sensing technologies on 30 plantations.
“The service called Starling has been developed through a partnership between Airbus Defence and Space, The Forest Trust (TFT) and SarVision,” said Murphy.
She noted Ferrero selected these plantations for testing the monitoring system based on certain criteria: “proximity to areas like forests or lands that were in danger of deforestation… these plantations have been monitored inside and outside of their boundaries.”
Murphy added the program, which is currently monitored by an undisclosed third party, ends in late July and early August this year, and Ferrero will then publish its results.
“So far, our results are quite positive,” she said.