The move towards full sustainability

in the palm oil supply chain

Responsible sourcing of palm

Palm oil is an important raw material and crop in order to meet the growing demand for vegetable fats & oils. AAK continues to use palm oil because the crop has the highest yields compared to any other vegetable oil per ha, it contributes to global food security, it provides an income directly to local communities, since 40% of the palm is being produced by smallholder farmers. Next to that it has unique functional and nutritional characteristics. Palm oil can be produced in a sustainable way, without the negative and social impacts. This requires a market transformation across all stakeholders of the palm oil value chain. AAK has been at the forefront of this change, as co-founder of the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil back in 2003, today the industry standard for certified sustainable palm oil.

Sustainable palm oil within AAK

Responsible sourcing of palm oil remains a crucial activity in our sustainability journey. The scale of the crop globally, as well as environmental and social challenges in each region, requires a consistent and structural approach and collaboration across the supply chain. 

Our approach

Understanding our supply base

Understanding our supply base is a critical step in furthering sustainability, providing the baseline by which we prioritize the action we take both within and beyond our supply chains. Thus, we work closely with our suppliers and stakeholders to obtain traceability data.

We are collecting all mill data and are working to increase traceability to plantation (TTP). This requires sector-wide efforts by companies and other stakeholders, which AAK acknowledges and commends. Palm oil supply chains involve millions of small producers, many of whom are not responsible for clearance. For that reason, AAK supports a risk-based approach to TTP, which maps plantations where there is a risk of deforestation at village level.


AAK is one of the founding members of the RSPO and continues to be very engaged in the RSPO and its board. This organization has played a foundational role in the understanding of sustainable palm production as well as in its thought leadership to sector-wide transformation. 

We believe RSPO certification remains one of the most reliable ways to ensure palm oil production meets high environmental and social standards. The adoption of the new RSPO principles and criteria in November 2018 has further strengthened the value of this certification. We intend to increase our purchase of RSPO-certified volumes as part of our shared responsibility and to stay in line with end-user and customer demand.

Engaging with suppliers and farmers

Because of our position in the value chain, our suppliers play a critical role in driving the implementation of our policies. 

We expect our suppliers:

  • To sign AAK supplier code of conduct and AAK sustainable palm policy or to have a verified and aligned policy in place
  • To proactively monitor deforestation in their supply base
  • To provide mill data and to drive progress in traceability to plantation
  • To collect concession maps of their third-party supply base
  • To manage grievances proactively 
  • To be or become member of the RSPO 

Progress is being managed through supplier scorecards that we have developed together with Proforest as part of our effort to strengthen our supplier engagement work. These scorecards enable our internal organization and our suppliers to better understand the current status of where each supplier stands regarding meeting the AAK sustainable palm criteria, as well potential gaps that need to be closed. 

Driving impact beyond our supply base

Via our collaboration with Forever Sabah, AAK continues to support the jurisdictional certification approach in the Malaysian state of Sabah, where only 20 percent of the independent smallholders hold the title to their land. 

We also support a unique project in Mexico together with Solidaridad, the objective of which is to develop the sustainability of three palm oil social enterprise cooperatives, with the ultimate ambition of achieving RSPO certification. 

In order to build and deepen common understanding of issues, industry collaboration is necessary. AAK has had a seat on the board of governors since the founding the RSPO. 

AAK palm oil policy

This policy complements our Code of Conduct for Raw Material Suppliers and our policy on Responsible Sourcing of Vegetable Oils with additional commitments for palm oil suppliers. The policy applies to all palm oil, palm kernel oil and their derivatives at all origins. 

AAK recognizes RSPO certification as the foremost established and stable systematic organization and standard for sustainable palm oil.

The focus points of our policy are:

  • Increase volume of RSPO certified palm oil.
  • Source palm oil produced without destruction of High Conservation Value (HCV) areas, High Carbon Stock (HCS) forest, or peatland of any depth.
  • Ensure that Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) takes place prior to new plantation development.
  • Ensure traceability in our palm oil supply chain
  • Commitment to support smallholders.

AAK Palm Oil Policy applies to palm oil, palm kernel oil, and their fractions of all origins.

Click here to see our policies, codes and progress reports. 

Public mill list and grievance addendum

Our universe of mills list is updated twice a year. To access the first half 2020 mill list, please click here: AAK Public Mill List.

In addition, we have published a grievance addendum that lists the companies that we have recorded a grievance against. This list will be updated on a more regular basis. To access the grievance addendum, please click here: Grievance Addendum, October 2020.

As per AAK Grievance Procedure, we investigate all cases which are received. Based on the evidence received to date, the cases listed here are those that are classified as unqualified grievances and will not be further investigated.

Please find below the latest palm oil developments, as stated in "AAK's progress report on sustainable palm oil" from April 2020.


Information – palm oil sourcing

Information on AAK's palm oil sourcing approach including our activities within the Tesso Nilo area. Click here to read more. 

For our responses to Swedish newspaper Expressen's article on May 26, 2020, click here.

Get in touch with your Co-Development partner

AAK House of Sustainability

Our House of Sustainability has guided our continued progress and represents the foundational structure of our sustainability initiatives and how we make it part of our DNA.

More about our sustainability work

Scaling up smallholder capacity

AAK has identified the innovative jurisdictional approach to palm certification in Sabah as a potentially highly effective approach to sustainable smallholder production.

Responsible sourcing of shea

The shea kernel is only about two and a half centimeters in diameter. But what it lacks in size it makes up in oil concentration—and a unique history.Read more about our responsible sourcing of shea.

Responsible sourcing of coconut

Coconut-growing countries in Asia-Pacific rely on the sale of coconut products as export income. Find out more regarding AAK’s coconut supply chain here.

Responsible sourcing of rapeseed

Rapeseed oil is one of the most important vegetable oils used in food as well as biodiesel. Today, rapeseed is the oil plant of Northern Europe and a key raw material for AAK.