Global demand for natural raw materials continues to put pressure on the natural environment and the communities that are involved in the production of important commodities. We are committed to sourcing the natural raw materials we need in a sustainable way. That means buying from sources that go beyond applicable laws and regulations, respect human rights, safeguard the health & safety of workers, protect the environment and do not cause deforestation.

Our progress:

88% Palm oil traceable to mill outside of India*

90% Palm oil traceable to port for India*

Responsible natural raw materials

RB believes in responsibly sourcing all our natural raw materials. Our policy clearly sets out the minimum standards demanded of our suppliers. The policy has been value-checked by TFT (The Forest Trust), and meets or exceeds the levels they set. We are committed to:

  • zero deforestation
  • zero development on peatlands (of any depth)
  • zero exploitation of workers or communities
  • being transparent on our requirements and progress with implementation

Responsible palm oil sourcing

Areas of rainforest continue to be cleared to make way for palm oil plantations, driven by the use of palm oil in consumer products and food. The consequences for local populations and the environment can be hugely damaging. As a purchaser of palm oil for some of our products, RB will continue to build responsible palm oil supply chains. RB has been a member of TFT since 2013 and we continue to ensure regular, detailed reviews of our palm oil supply chain and are committed to extending this further in 2018. Our achievements in 2017 included:

  • 88% of our palm oil traceable to mill outside of India*
  • 90% of our palm oil traceable to port for India*
  • Continued support for smallholder farmers through “Rurality” programmes, focused on improving agricultural practices and reducing pressure on natural forests.
  • Broad engagement training: We supported training for 30 attendees from 13 mills in our Indonesian supply chain and representatives from Wilmar, focused on building sustainable chains based on avoiding deforestation, environmental damage and exploitation of workers.
  • Independent monitoring and verification of our commitments by local NGOs, through TFT’s ‘Kumacaya’ initiative.
  • Increased engagement between government, other commodities, civil society and others to develop comprehensive and sustainable land use plans that ensure a sustainable future for natural ecosystems.
  • Increased verification of effect of our programme on forest cover, through a pilot of the ‘Starling Programme’, a partnership between Airbus and TFT, that utilises radar and satellite imagery to analyse land use in palm oil growing regions.

In 2017, we responded to a report on human rights abuses in palm oil supply chains in Indonesia by undertaking several activities. With TFT we carried out a review of labour risks in our supply chain to better understand the issues and actions required to address them. We also supported a programme to develop improved labour management practices at a specific mill in our supply chain that was mentioned in the report. In addition, we rolled-out a supplier human rights self-assessment programme for our suppliers in Indonesia and Malaysia.

We continue to follow up on issues identified through any external investigations that may relate to our own supply chain and are committed to timely remediation and reporting on this.

More information on our palm oil responsible sourcing programme can be found here.

"Working together with TFT, RB have greatly enhanced the transparency of their palm oil supply chain. Going forward, this work will lead to positive changes for local communities and the environment."

Bastien Sachet, CEO of TFT

Other materials

Other purchased materials including latex, soy, and paper and board are also included within our commitment to responsible sourcing. In 2018, RB – in partnership with TFT – will continue on-the-ground compliance assessments of our direct latex suppliers and to directly support smallholder livelihoods in our Latex supply chains.

Increased coverage of risk assessments of our supply chains is a top priority and we are working with TFT to develop a comprehensive programme that ensures our policy and standard remain central to our buying practices.

We have specific standards outlined in our Natural Raw Materials Policy for our paper and board suppliers and continue to make progress against our 2020 target for all our paper & board to be sourced from certified (FSC, PEFC, PEFC Endorsed) or recycled sources.


How we monitor our suppliers

We carry out an external risk assessments of all the natural raw materials we buy each year against a range of criteria that are generated externally to help ensure completeness, transparency and materiality. This ensures that we focus on the highest priority materials and potential risks in our supply chain. Due diligence programmes (as outlined above) are then rolled-out for materials deemed to be of a high priority.

Our compliance monitoring programme includes suppliers of key natural raw materials, all of whom must comply with our policy. Our compliance monitoring activities vary depending upon risk and include:

  • in-depth, targeted responsible sourcing programmes as well as broader training and capacity-building;
  • traceability and compliance questionnaires for all palm oil suppliers;
  • supplier engagement, including visits, meetings and assessments; focused on ensuring NDPE compliance;
  • independent audits, checking compliance against our NDPE requirements.

*Excluding surfactants