Avon’s new Palm Oil Promise: deforestation-free, traceable, and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil compliant

In Washington, the Union of Concerned Scientists is hailing the updated “Palm Oil Promise” from cosmetic giant Avon, which said that “Avon recognizes that palm oil is a significant cause of tropical deforestation and peatland depletion, which can result in the loss of natural habitats for endangered species, and also has known human rights issues.” The revised Avon’s Responsible Palm Oil Principles are: 

“Avon will buy palm oil, palm kernel oil (PKO) and palm/PKO derivatives from suppliers that meet the below practices across their entire supply chain:

  • Deforestation-free. No development on and protection of High Conservation Value Areas (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests from conversion due to plantation expansion or new plantation development
  • Trace their palm oil to a point in the supply chain where they can demonstrate the palm oil meets our sourcing principles
  • From growers that protect peatlands of any depth from new plantation development and have a no burning policy
  • From growers using best management practices for palm oil plantations on existing peat soils
  • From growers that comply with all relevant local, national, and international laws
  • From growers that track and report on the carbon footprint of their production
  • From growers that are conflict free and protective of the rights of workers and indigenous communities In accordance with the International Labor Organization Core Conventions and the Avon Supplier Code of Conduct. Suppliers involved in land use and acquisition will respect the rights of local communities to give or withhold their Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) to operations on lands to which they hold legal, communal, or customary rights.
  • Compliant with existing RSPO Principles and Criteria, or equivalent standard

When UCS scored the palm oil sourcing policies of 40 top companies in April, Avon came in towards the bottom of the list; of ten personal care companies analyzed, Avon scored second-to-last. 

Lael Goodman, analyst with UCS’s Tropical Forest & Climate Initiative said, “With its promise today, Avon committed to buying palm oil that protects tropical forests, our climate and endangered species’ habitat. The company’s actions will increase the demand for deforestation-free palm oil. By requiring that any palm oil supplier from which Avon sources meets these requirements, these companies will in turn be required to ensure their palm oil operations across the board—will be free of deforestation and peatland destruction. Once Avon announces a timeline for this promise, consumers will be much closer to being able to lather on their Avon, Anew, Skin So Soft and Mark products with the knowledge that the palm oil in these products doesn’t contribute to deforestation and climate change.”

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