Wilmar recognises the importance of being able to trace supply flows from ports and refineries back to oil palm mills and over time to plantations. This is an integral part of providing greater transparency in the supply chain, including supplier locations and knowledge of practices being used on the ground. Wilmar has identified all the mills supplying each of its refineries in Indonesia and Malaysia. There are over 850 mills in total supplying Wilmar refineries in these countries alone, with each refinery typically having 50-100 mills in its supply network, providing crude palm oil (CPO) and/or palm kernels (PK); not all mills supply products every period. Wilmar’s refineries sometimes bring in products from other Wilmar refineries. Where this occurs it is always from sources with traceability data. On the contrary, when Wilmar buy products from third party refineries, it currently does not have data of the supplying mills. This mapping exercise is already helping to better understand the issues being faced by growers and hence what is required to help suppliers with the implementation of the Wilmar policy.
There are ongoing discussions in the market about the definitions of traceability and debates on whether traceability back to mill would suffice or should the products be traced right back to their origins, namely plantations. Different interpretations were also used by different companies in reporting the traceability of their supply chains.
The Wilmar approach has been to promote transparency, providing stakeholders with data and information on various aspects.