Unilever is trading once again with palm oil supplier IOI group, which had its Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification withdrawn last year.
The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company said it was “pleased” to see the progress IOI has made so far, in particular on third party suppliers, independent verifications and increased transparency.
It stated: “We will continue to closely monitor progress to ensure improvements continue. We strongly believe that it is only through close collaboration among all stakeholders that we can continue to drive change in the industry and make sustainable palm oil commonplace.”
In March 2016, IOI was suspended by RSPO – an organisation it helped to found – after a complaint was lodged concerning land clearing and deep peat clearance.
Unilever suspended all contracts with IOI, which it deemed in breach of its policy.
Six months later, in August, IOI had its RSPO certification re-instated, but Unilever held back from resuming business with the company until it saw “tangible progress” and “on-the-ground implementation” of its action plan.
Unilever had moved 90% of its volume of palm oil products previously sourced from IOI to alternate suppliers of traceable and certified sustainable palm oil.