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Tech to help palm producers drive responsible practices
Tech to help palm producers drive responsible practices
News Jul 16, 2018

Tools and resources now online at www.toolsfortransformation.net; Bunge, Cargill, Fuji Oil, IOI and Louis Dreyfus Company early users; webinar 24 July

Since January 2019, TFT has become Earthworm Foundation.

A new platform to help Malaysian and Indonesian palm oil producers meet the requirements of No Deforestation, Peat and Exploitation policies is now online. Tools for Transformation (T4T) has been created by global non-profit The Forest Trust in collaboration with key players in the palm oil industry, including Cargill, Fuji Oil, Louis Dreyfus Company, Nestlé and Wilmar, T4T helps refineries and mills navigate their way to NDPE best practice, promoting greater collaboration through the supply chain.

“We believe that online tools can significantly help producers meet customer expectations,” says Ken Yeong, project manager at TFT Malaysia. “The challenge for companies in meeting the demands of NDPE is often the size and complexity of supply chains, which makes it difficult for on-the-ground efforts alone to have effect at scale. This is where technology can play a role and help drive the transformation needed.”

The system comprises four components – a questionnaire, action plans, supply chain analytics and resources to aid transformation. These four components will work together to help mills and plantations identify, understand and close gaps in their practices. Since 2017, TFT has been testing the questionnaire with more than 70 mills and plantations that supply Cargill, Fuji and Wilmar. The questionnaire is used to form action plans to improve practices.

Questionnaire data can be aggregated to provide supply chain analytics. This can help brands that use palm oil, and producers, like Cargill and Fuji, evaluate their suppliers and supply chains. Analytics will give them an understanding of where they need to invest resources. This data also allows them to monitor their suppliers’ progress against their NDPE commitments. The questionnaire is now accessible to paying customers. Resources are free and will remain so for public use.

T4T starts with suppliers (mills and plantations) completing the questionnaire. The questionnaire produces a dashboard telling them where they stand based on 15 environmental and social NDPE metrics. Individual data from the questionnaire will be confidential to suppliers who complete it, as well as their buyers.

Action plans are supported by a library of resources to help suppliers implement changes in their practices. The library, which is still growing, includes templates and guidance on important environmental and social issues covered in NDPE policies. Several of the guidance documents have been field-tested at refineries, mills and plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia.

It is hoped that wider use of the T4T system will allow suppliers to help themselves adapt to emerging market trends by giving them the tools to do so. Companies that embrace change can increase or at least maintain competitive edge in a market that is slowly but surely shifting towards sustainability.

“There is a critical need to accelerate the pace of responsible practices in palm oil, and T4T helps empower growers and producers to take ownership of this,” says Bastien Sachet, Chief Executive of TFT. “T4T is based on what we have learnt from eight years spent working in the field in palm oil. Those in the community – plantations, mills, refineries – are looking for practical ways to take those key steps towards transformation. We are very pleased to have a number of companies already on board, and we look forward to working in partnership with the palm oil industry to help drive the change needed.”

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