SPOTT provides best practice advice on key topics linked directly to the company assessments and indicator framework. Find out more about important issues related to the following topics:



These pages give details of the primary environmental risks of production, the importance of addressing these risks, and related guidance and resources on approaches to monitoring and managing the related impacts. Read more.



deforestation by Rainforest Action Network

Deforestation as a result of palm oil in Indonesia © Rainforest Action Network

The clearing of forest to establish plantations is one of the most significant environmental risks of palm oil production, having catastrophic impacts on biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services, such as water and climate regulation, and nutrient cycling. Read more.



ZSL is working to protect the critically endangered Sumatran tiger © ZSL

The potential environmental impacts associated with palm oil production are extensive. Habitat loss and degredation impacts biodiversity, as well as increases human-wildlife conflict, and the use of pesticides and fertilisers and the release of palm oil mill effluent (POME) can cause groundwater contamination. Read more.

Fire and Emissions

Camera trap images of a forest fire in Berbak National Park, Indonesia

Camera trap images of a forest fire in Berbak National Park, Indonesia

The clearing and burning of forests and the destruction of carbon-rich peatlands to make land available for oil palm plantations is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. This makes land more susceptible to fire, which in tandem with the practice of using fire to clear land, increases emissions further. Palm oil mill effluent (POME) is also a major source of emissions, particularly methane. Read more.


Transparent information is communicated in publicly available materials that are freely and readily accessible to all stakeholders at no cost. Transparency enables producers to demonstrate that they are addressing the potential environmental and social impacts of palm oil production. Read more.



Certification schemes and independent standards provide palm oil companies with the opportunity to commit to sustainable practices and ensure the credibility of these commitments. Most schemes are founded on a set of principles to which all bodies certified under the scheme must adhere. These principles divide into subcategories, or ‘criteria’, with specific guidelines and reporting requirements. Read more.