skip to main content

Progressing from palm oil traceability to a more sustainable future 

January 06, 2016

Since Cargill issued its policy on sustainable palm oil in July 2014, we’ve been working toward our goal of a 100% transparent, traceable and sustainable supply chain by 2020. It’s a big undertaking but it’s part of our commitment to source sustainable palm oil for our customers around the world. In our latest report released today, we recap our accomplishments from 2015 and outline our sustainable palm implementation plan for 2016. 

“We’ve been in this business for more than 20 years, but we recognize that we must continue to learn and adapt,” said Alan Willits, Chairman of Cargill Asia Pacific. “At the same time, we’ll stay focused on what we do best: serving our customers, advocating for smallholders and working with stakeholders to drive positive change.”

In 2015, we focused on traceability to the mill level with a commitment to reach full traceability for all the palm we ship by the end of the year. As our progress report shows, we reached 97% traceability to mill in the fourth quarter of 2015. 

“One of Cargill's biggest accomplishments over the past two years is their success in mapping their third party traded palm oil supply chains to the mill level,” said John Van’t Slot from TFT. “Reaching 97% combined mill traceability for their purchases from countries of origin at the end of 2015 required a great deal of engagement and cooperation with suppliers large and small. The next step is to use this high level of transparency into their third party supply chain to focus on the transformation work, building best practices amongst suppliers to their refineries with regard to important environmental and social management challenges.”

But traceability is only one piece of our sustainable palm implementation plan. The plan also includes supplier engagement, smallholder programs, sustainable plantations, and partnerships and collaboration.

In 2016, we’ll shift our attention to supplier engagement, seeking to move from traceability to transformation. We’ll work with key partners, including Proforest and TFT, to build strong relationships with the mills from which we source crude oil and we will help them to improve their sourcing practices in accordance with our palm policy.

We will also continue to look to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge to engage with government to make necessary regulatory changes in support of sustainable palm production. In the near future, Cargill, along with the other Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto signatories, will be running side-by-side field trials of the HCS+ methodology with the HSCA and we are actively advocating for the convergence of the two methodologies.

To read the full report, visit