Andrew Horn and Andrew Jenkins have a lot more in common than just their first names.
Horn, senior sustainability operations manager for the Walgreens global sourcing team, and Jenkins, product sustainability manager for No7 Beauty Company, have been collaborating on sustainability initiatives across the global organization for the past few years. Most recently, their work has been focusing on the world of palm oil – work that has been ongoing at Boots but recently expanded to the entire global business, as WBA officially became a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in August.
Horn and Jenkins spoke with WBA Stories about this work and why it’s important to make sure the palm oil supply chain across WBA uses sustainable and ethical practices.
Jenkins: At WBA, we believe palm oil can be grown without causing further damage to the environment, and we’re collaborating with other companies and environmental organizations to ensure palm oil is produced responsibly. The supply of palm oil from the grower to ingredient manufacturer to our product suppliers is very complex, so we work with international organizations to ensure that the palm oil used in the ingredients we source moves to more sustainable methods of production. One way to achieve a sustainable supply is by using palm oil that has been independently certified to ensure it has been grown without causing harm to the environment or local communities.
The RSPO has developed principles and criteria for palm oil sustainability that include making sure that no new land or virgin forest is cut down to increase palm oil production. There's plenty of unused farmland in areas where palm oil is grown, which could be repurposed without cutting down natural forest. The criteria also include ethical considerations about workers' rights, the use of pesticides and the rights of indigenous populations in the countries we source from. Greenhouse gas emissions are another area we look at, making sure that the palm oil supply chain offers the lowest possible carbon footprint.
There’s a long chain of middlemen and other organizations the palm oil itself goes through before it gets into our products so we do want to be able to trace exactly where it comes from so we can be confident that we’re using sustainable palm oil as it pertains to every link in the supply chain.