Ferrero Group, the confectionery giant that owns Nutella, has launched a new Palm Oil Charter featuring commitments to regenerate biodiversity and water systems, expanding on the company’s prior commitment. On human rights and social practices, the new Charter aims to maintain and improve measures on responsible recruitment, fair and safe working conditions, and eliminating forced labour, while helping smallholders build resilience against environmental and economic risks. There is also a commitment to ensure that indigenous communities are “fully engaged whenever agricultural land expansion may occur”. On the environment, the Charter contains a commitment for the business to “become a positive driver to regenerate biodiversity, soils and water systems”. It has a “no-deforestation” supply chain commitment, banning the use of fire to clear land and banning planting on peat. It will also encourage tree restoration in cleared lands, and promote efforts made to protect surrounding forests and other habitats.
The 2010s were the decade of climate commitments. If the last 18 months are anything to go by, it is looking like biodiversity could be the commitment trend of the 2020s. Recently, biodiversity commitments have been becoming ever more common, and phrases such as nature-positive and regenerative agriculture are hot topics in the sustainability conversation. From Ikea renewing its partnership with WWF to the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef setting out a new sustainability roadmap, many large companies are aiming to become net-positive contributors to nature. The news of Ferrero’s new charter is exciting not only because it joins a myriad of other nature-focused commitments, but because it contains a set of holistic goals for the whole supply chain. Rather than just focusing on one aspect, it takes into account many environmental factors, such as biodiversity, deforestation, soil and water, as well as its social impact on smallholders, workers’ rights and indigenous communities. Together, these commitments drive an ambition of Ferrero to become a net-positive company in all aspects of supply chain.
Author: Abi Frankfort