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Climate Action 2009-2010

Book&Claim: MAKING

Book&Claim: MAKING SUSTAINABILITY COMMERCIALLY SUSTAINABLE SPECIAL FEATURE 174 No business or industry sector can afford to ignore the need to be socially responsible and environmentally sustainable. Customers demand it, stakeholders look for it and, increasingly, it is the only way to operate in a world where climate change is at the top of the global agenda. Yet it’s not always easy to do the right thing. Take ethical sourcing for example. ETHICAL SOURCING In a world of complex, interwoven supply chains it can be difficult, if not impossible, to identify and secure a supply of sustainably-produced material. Even if a sustainable source can be found, segregating and tracking material to ensure that it is not intermingled with supplies from unsustainable sources can prove to be so expensive as to make it commercially unviable. The alternative is to try to promote the sustainable production of essential commodities – using purchasing power as a lever. Trying to make producers change their ways by threatening not to buy is rarely successful. Instead of encouraging sustainability, such initiatives can simply drive the product to other markets or, worse still, harm livelihoods in parts of the world where people can least afford to lose work. A new initiative, Book&Claim Certificate Trading, is designed to tackle these issues head on, and is already proving its worth for the palm oil industry (visit www.bookandclaim.co.uk). BOOK&CLAIM CERTIFICATE TRADING Book&Claim is based on the principle that the best way to encourage producers of essential commodities to operate sustainably, is to pay them more for doing so. It overcomes the problems of complex supply chains by by-passing them completely. Producers who can prove that they are operating sustainably are invited to register a quantity of their output with the Book&Claim certificate trading programme. They are offered certificates on a pro rata basis for the quantity of sustainably produced material they register with Book&Claim. These can then be offered for sale on the Book&Claim on-line trading platform. Manufacturers or retailers of products containing that commodity can then bid for and purchase certificates online and, in doing so, pay a voluntary premium directly to the producer which is operating sustainably. The commodity itself is bought and sold in the usual way, with no need for costly segregation or tracing. Products covered by Book&Claim do not therefore contain sustainably-produced material, but their production has supported sustainable sourcing. Manufacturers and retailers can therefore demonstrate that they have supported sustainable production at a grassroots level, with that support being audited and verified by the Book&Claim system. Claims can be highlighted in CSR policies, on pack, on-line and in store. In this way Book&Claim provides a clear route through the complexities of interwoven global supply chains. VISIT: WWW.CLIMATEACTIONPROGRAMME.ORG

It gives producers a clear incentive to meet social and environmental criteria, as they are rewarded for continuing to work sustainably – even if their products are consumed locally and never leave the area in which they are made. the greenpalm success story The Book&Claim concept is already achieving real results for the palm oil industry, with an initiative called GreenPalm: www.greenpalm.org By enabling palm oil producers to earn more for their crop by operating sustainably, GreenPalm is beginning to tackle the environmental and social concerns regarding palm oil production. Globally, from the 1990s to the present day the area under palm oil cultivation has increased by about 43 per cent. Most of this growth took place in Malaysia and Indonesia, where palm oil production is a vital source of revenue for some of the world’s poorest people. While better managed plantations and oil palm smallholdings serve as models of sustainable agriculture, it is clear that not all palm oil is being produced in a sustainable way. Working with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), Book&Claim Ltd established GreenPalm to support and promote the production of sustainable palm oil. a million-dollar reason to join Less than a year after GreenPalm began trading certificates, palm oil producers who joined the programme, and who have met the RSPO’s rigorous guidelines for social and environmental sustainability, have collectively earned an additional $2.5 million for their efforts. None of this would be possible without the manufacturers and retailers who buy and redeem the certificates – so far more than 240,000 have been traded – in the process, demonstrating their commitment to supporting sustainability. “ the best way to encourage people to do things differently is to reward them for doing so “ General Manager of Book&Claim Ltd, Bob Norman, said: “This is an important achievement for GreenPalm, since the programme is based on the idea that the best way to encourage people to do things differently is to reward them for doing so. “The hope is that it will provide strong encouragement for them to continue to produce sustainably and for others to follow suit.” Any organisation which makes or sells products containing palm oil or palm kernel oil can support sustainable production by buying GreenPalm certificates. For many it is currently the only viable supply chain option endorsed by the RSPO – a point which has been publicly acknowledged by the WWF, a founding member of the RSPO. how Book&claim could work for you The success of GreenPalm has demonstrated the viability and effectiveness of the Book&Claim concept. Book&Claim’s founders believe that it could be similarly effective in any global market place, where there is a complex supply chain and where commodities are intermingled at every stage. It can be operated in a variety ways, either through franchising or by the Book&Claim team offering a turn-key solution. Either way it will be tailored to suit individual requirements, with the ultimate aim of making sustainable sourcing commercially viable and therefore sustainable. enquiries To find out how Book&Claim can work for your business or industry sector, call Bob Norman on +44 (0) 1482 332013, +44 (0) 7776 144731, or email bob.norman@bookandclaim.co.uk. Visit the website at www.bookandclaim.co.uk. special feature 175 Visit: www.climateactionprogramme.org