Case studies


Co-op engage suppliers to ensure RSPO compliance

Co-op is committed to working with its suppliers to use sustainably sourced palm oil and derivatives within their own brand product ranges.

To help measure their performance against this commitment, Co-op worked with supplier engagement experts S4RB to undertake an extensive data collection campaign to understand which products supplied to them contain palm oil, palm kernel oil as well as other derivates and soy.



Palm oil is an important ingredient for the food industry, although there are environmental and social concerns relating to its production. In 2004, a global multi-stakeholder initiative, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), was established to develop, deliver and maintain a global market for sustainable palm oil, palm kernel oil, other derivates and soy.

In recognition of these concerns, and as a full member of the RSPO, Co-op Food acknowledges the need to use sustainable oil palm in its products and to understand the use of other similar oils such as soy. To achieve this, Co-op has ensured that all the palm oil in its own brand products is certified as sustainable under one of the RSPO certification schemes. In 2011, Co-op achieved its goal of using 100% CSPO (Certified Sustainable Palm Oil) in its food products and non-food in 2014 by purchasing GreenPalm certificates for any non-sustainable palm oil in its supply chain.

Co-op is now working towards having 100% segregated palm oil in all of its food products and non-food by 2020, while reducing its reliance on RSPO credits and Mass Balance where appropriate.



S4RB worked closely with the Co-op team to consult and implement an effective and easy to use data collection tool for suppliers, to replace the previous approach of email and spreadsheets. This made it easier for suppliers to submit accurate information and easier for Co-op to report automatically on the information provided as well as track the completion process.

“The tool is a positive step forward and really easy to use.” Cristina Ramsay, Allied Bakeries

Based on the ENGAGE section of the Affinity™ platform, the tool monitors each interaction to see when emails are undelivered, opened, read, and further action is taken. This makes it easier to ensure the right contacts are engaged with the request and to report on their progress. The system also provides intelligent warnings and checks to reduce user errors whilst linking to online supporting material and help for technical queries, with the option to ask a question if support is required.

S4RB provided a ‘turn key’ solution and managed the entire process from the management of the data collection through to the final reporting back to the RSPO. Information was collected for 100% of the supplier base, who are all now engaged with the initiative and the new system.

“S4RB used their expertise to work closely with us and tailor the data collection tool to get the information we needed, but in a way, that was simple and intuitive for the suppliers to complete.” Sarah Wakefield, Food Sustainability Manager, Co-op



100% of Co-op’s supply base submitted their data in the allocated timescale. Responses were captured from 300+ suppliers for over 1000 products in just three weeks.

The aim was to collect product level palm oil, soy and derivatives information (% in finished product) plus product size and sales information so that the system can automatically calculate the tonnage information on the supplier’s behalf. The supplier was also required to enter different certification type used in their products so that the tonnage could be split into oil types reported by RSPO, as well as uploading any certificates to support their entries. This ensured all information required for RSPO reporting as well as providing the Co-op actionable information to drive improvements towards the 2020 goal.

“We set a stretch goal to complete the collection within just a few weeks in January and S4RB worked with us to ensure we hit our deadline and achieved responses from 100% of suppliers” Sarah Wakefield, Food Sustainability Manager, Co-op

As well as capturing responses from over 350 suppliers this approach identified over 75 new contacts for Co-op to engage with on sustainable palm oil and palm kernel oil as well as other derivates and soy.


Key facts

- 350+ suppliers

- 1300+ products

- 100% supplier responses received

- 75+ new technical contracts confirmed


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Team S4RB

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