An important industry
Producing palm oil is often associated with environmental damage such as deforestation and biodiversity loss, and social concerns including poor labour rights and dangerous working conditions. IKEA believes that, when grown responsibly, palm oil can be a sustainable raw material. It is one of the most productive and high-yielding vegetable oils and can have a positive impact on livelihoods when grown responsibly.
“Many smallholders are today fully dependent on the income from their palm oil plantation. At the same time the severe environmental impact is evident when sustainability practices are not followed,” says Lena Pripp-Kovac, Head of Sustainability at IKEA Range & Supply.
Collaboration to ensure positive impact
IKEA promotes a collaborative approach to ensure the greatest positive impact. We believe that RSPO certification is currently the best platform available to achieve sector level change in the palm oil industry.
We are happy that by November 2018 the RSPO criteria were strengthened to also include the issue of deforestation and planting on peat as well as addressing smallholders. This is in line with the criteria that IKEA had earlier committed to, beyond the previous RSPO requirements. All new palm oil developments shall be on land where biodiversity and natural vegetation are already highly degraded; and no new development should happen on peat, regardless of depth. Peat wetlands are important carbon stores with high biodiversity value.
IKEA works together with the organisation ProForest to analyse the risks in the palm oil supply chain which includes social assessment of policies (e.g. concerning migrant workers, responsible recruitment, bonded labour and smallholder policies) and to develop more efficient methods to address deforestation and peat risk.
“IKEA is positive that RSPO has developed its principles and criteria to strengthen the areas above as well as human rights issues, such as forced and bonded labour. We also welcome the fact that RSPO is focusing more on its smallholder approach. We believe that smallholder farmers are the key to sustainably produced palm oil,” says Lena Pripp-Kovac.
- IKEA uses approximately 41,700 tonnes of palm oil annually. About 92% of the total volume is used in home furnishing products, mainly in candles. Around 8% can be referred to food. IKEA suppliers currently buy palm oil mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia.
- Since 2015, 100% of the palm oil used in our home furnishing products such as candles is certified sustainable palm oil from segregated RSPO sources. In total we use approximately 99% palm oil from more sustainable sources. Our goal is 100%.
- The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a multi-stakeholder organisation whose mission is to advance the production, procurement, finance and use of sustainable palm oil products. IKEA is an active member of RSPO.
- Until we have reached 100% certified segregated palm oil, we buy RSPO Credits for the volume not secured as segregated. Buying credits supports sustainable palm oil production at plantation level.