Palm oil has many benefits, which is why it’s in high demand. Palm oil is the number one produced edible oil in the world; its popularity is largely due to it not containing trans fats. With the growth in demand for palm oil, current sourcing practices are not sustainable.
The Hershey Company joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in 2011 and by the end of 2014, all of our palm oil purchases were 100 percent Mass Balance RSPO-certified palm oil. Our efforts with suppliers continued through the end of 2014, when we were able to ensure all of our palm oil purchases were 100 percent Mass Balance RSPO-certified palm oil.
Over the past several years, we have been focused on achieving the highest standard in palm oil sustainable sourcing.
Our work with TFT has enabled us to trace our palm oil and palm kernel oil to 96% of the mills in our supply chain as of the end of 2015 against our goal of 100%. Tracing to a mill location provided information about where palm oil was harvested and can indicate whether it came from an area where there are social or environmental risks. It also enables us to have constructive conversations with our suppliers about environmental and social concerns and how these can be remediated and properly addressed.
In 2015, we traced our palm oil to 1,374 mills located in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea and Thailand. We sourced the oil from four suppliers: AAK, IOI Loders Croklaan**, Cargill, and Fuji Oil.
Looking beyond the mill, through the first quarter of 2016, we have achieved approximately 27% traceability to the plantation level. In the process, we’ve learned a great deal about this supply chain and the challenges inherent to tracing the oils back to the plantations that produce it. We remain deeply committed to pushing all stakeholders to accelerate traceability and bring full transparency to this supply chain, however along with our supplier partners we realized it would take more time to achieve this goal than originally anticipated. We are resetting our goal to achieve full supply chain traceability to the plantation level to 2020.
We will continue to provide annual updates on our palm oil tracing efforts through our Corporate Social Responsibility Report to give stakeholders visibility into our ongoing progress.