BASF is one of the leading global manufacturers of ingredients for the home and personal care (HPC) market using mainly palm kernel oil and its primary derivatives as raw material and connects upstream and downstream stakeholders in the supply chain. From our continuous dialog along the supply chain we know that many manufacturers in the HPC industry are uncertain how to tackle the complexity of the RSPO Mass Balance (MB) scheme for oleoderivatives, especially when a multitude of production steps are involved. With its “Rules for oleochemicals and its derivatives,” the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has made it easier and more transparent to handle the MB module. The update was published in December 2016 and is complimentary to the RSPO Supply Chain Certification Standard (SCCS).
The palm oil supply chain is complex. Its challenges are linked to environmental protection, human rights, economics in developing countries and international trading. At the same time, it is immensely attractive: Palm oil and palm kernel oil are very versatile vegetable oils, and oil palm trees produce higher yields per hectare than any other oil seed. For the chemical industry mainly palm kernel oil and its derivatives are the key renewable raw materials: The oil from crushed palm kernels is the basis for many home and personal care ingredients from soap to shampoo.
As an oleo processor in the middle of the supply chain, BASF actively fosters the market transformation toward RSPO certified sustainable oil palm products and supports the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) especially with respect to the transformation of complex oleoderivatives. Palm kernel oil (PKO) based oleochemicals and their downstream derivatives are an important demand element with a strong relevance in end consumer product supply chains. Initially, the RSPO put the focus on the food market applications where supply chain mechanisms have been well studied. More recently, relevant supply chain needs in the application of oleochemicals and their derivatives are moving into focus.
There is a need to tackle the specifics of oleoderivatives with respect to RSPO certification in the HPC market. These key elements are:
- Closing the gap between the RSPO Supply Chain Certification Standard (SCCS) and present business practices in downstream oleochemical derivatives;
- Addressing the lack of clarity in oleochemical derivatives and striving for an overall pragmatic calculation system; and
- Supporting the sequential path toward SG supply chains via MB supply chains by specifically addressing the need for clarity in the MB segments.
This is the main reason why the RSPO MB-standard is the most common certification module for oleoderivatives at this time. The RSPO SG-standard would require to keep all these steps separate, resulting in a huge complexity and subsequent inefficiencies and costs.
The new RSPO guidance for oleoderivatives clarifies some key elements for the application of the MB-module in primary oleochemicals and secondary oleoderivatives. These elements close the gap between the RSPO Supply Chain Certification Standard (SCCS) and current practices until the next review of the SCCS in 2018.
MB-claim transfer “1:1 rule.” For primary and secondary oleochemicals produced from palm kernel oil the 1:1 MB claim transfer rule applies as their molecular weight does not differ significantly from the precursor oil. For secondary oleoderivatives like surfactants, thickeners or emollients, the 1:1 rule shall apply followed by the product calculation factor (molecular weight based conversion factors). In the case where a secondary oleoderivative conversion factor is not (yet) covered in the existing document already, there are RSPO guidelines to calculate them.
MB-claim transfer “downstream/upstream.” For primary oleochemicals and secondary oleoderivatives made from palm kernel oil a MB claim transfer can only be applied downstream. The same rule applies for those limited primary oleochemicals and secondary oleoderivatives made from palm oil. For example, a downstream MB-claim transfer from fatty acid to a betaine shall be allowed. An MB-claim transfer upstream from fatty alcohol back to palm kernel oil or from a betaine upstream back to a fatty acid shall not be allowed.
MB-claim transfer “cross referencing.” The transfer of an MB-claim inside a specified section (see illustration 2) is allowed. For example, from a fatty acid to a fatty alcohol within the section primary oleochemicals or from a sodium laureth —sulfate to a betaine within the section secondary oleoderivatives shall be allowed. Glycerine is excluded from cross-referencing as glycerine neither has a precursor identity nor a C-chain reference. The same rule applies for those limited primary oleochemicals and secondary oleoderivatives made from palm oil.
About the Author
Rita Köster is stakeholder manager for global sustainability palm products at BASF Personal Care and Nutrition in Monheim and has contributed to the new RSPO guideline.