Multinational cosmetics organisation The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) has provided an update on its palm oil supply chain initiative Project Lampung, founded in 2018.

The programme is aimed at strengthening the sustainability of the palm oil supply chain and supporting smallholder farmers in the Lampung province of Indonesia.

The project is implemented by global NGO Solidaridad, ingredient and chemical supplier BASF, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), Business Watch Indonesia (BWI), and the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Extension (KTNA), a local farmers association.

Originally a 3-year initiative, Project Lampung evolved and was extended to help accommodate shifting priorities for smallholder farmers to support them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through Farmer Field School trainings initiated in January 2022, in total the initiative has provided technical education and training for 1,003 independent smallholder farmers and helped 313 of those smallholders receive official RSPO certification.

The farmers have improved their knowledge in sustainable production, including learning good agricultural and best management practices that help protect the environment.

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As part of Project Lampung and in partnership with local organisations, a Social Impact Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment were also conducted, mapping farmers’ fields to verify that no deforestation or land conversion had taken place.

To support direct market access for smallholders, ELC also announced the purchase of 220 RSPO credits from these newly certified farmers in the Lampung region. This purchase also supports the company’s commitment to source its palm-based ingredients responsibly. Since 2015, 100% of the palm-based ingredients sourced by ELC are reportedly certified under one of RSPO’s certification types.

Through its Charitable Foundation (ELCCF), ELC is also a founding member of the Action for Sustainable Derivatives (ASD) Impact Fund, a collaborative initiative that allows funding partners to direct support to on-the-ground projects that address underlying issues influencing responsible practices in priority palm production landscapes.

ELC reported net sales of $3.52bn in the first quarter of fiscal 2024, down by 10% from $3.93bn in the same period in FY23.