The deal combines SafeTraces state-of-the-art, DNA-based traceability solutions and UL's scientific leadership and supply chain verification capabilities, offering businesses a transformative and efficient approach for palm oil traceability and purity assurance and helping to alleviate significant and increasing pressure to deliver on commitments to enhance sustainability practices.
While the 2017 Ceres' Reporting Guidance for Responsible Palm notes serious issues around palm oil production such as tropical deforestation, increases in greenhouse gas emissions, and worker's rights infringements, discontinuing the supply and use of palm oil altogether is not the answer, the companies said. Palm oil production is an essential contributor to the economies of many countries, and the production of alternative, less efficient oils would result in more deforestation. Global efforts to prevent environmental and labor abuses commonly associated with palm oil production have failed to keep pace with consumer demands for sustainable sourcing. The appropriate and most effective response to the problem is a consolidated effort from all stakeholders to produce and source sustainable palm oil across the entire supply chain.
UL and SafeTraces are solving critical challenges and removing barriers to access markets by offering brands a uniquely robust and innovative solution to the problem. SafeTraces patented DNA-based traceability technology provides actors across the palm oil supply chain with the source information they need to make sustainable choices. UL's objective, science-based assessments confirm the accuracy of that information. With the ability to accurately identify the source of palm oil, leading food companies, processors, and producers can significantly strengthen sustainable sourcing systems and simultaneously drive trust within the industry and with consumers.
"SafeTraces has developed a game-changing first-mile traceability solution that links the physical food product to its digital ID," said Simin Zhou, vice president and general manager for UL Ventures. "Through our integration with the SafeTraces solution, we can jointly accelerate and validate the supply chain's efforts toward fully traceable, more sustainable sourcing practices. As a 3rd party audits and inspections provider with a worldwide presence, we will work together with SafeTraces to tackle the palm oil sourcing problem on the ground, delivering unprecedented control of and insight into a critically important food supply chain at the global level."
"Palm oil is ubiquitous in the world's most popular consumer food and household products, yet its supply chain has a well-documented track record of troubling environmental and labor practices that sadly continues today," said Anthony Zografos, founder and CEO of SafeTraces. "The human, environmental, and financial toll of this problem is enormous. The first-mile, from plantation to mill, is where the risk of deforestation and labor exploitation is greatest and where traceability is weakest. SafeTraces is thrilled to partner with a global leader like UL to securely trace palm oil back to individual plantations in a way that is operationally and financially attractive for our customers."