Deforestation-free and traceable supply chains for the production of sustainable surfactants


Meo Carbon Solutions Gmbh.
Hohenzollernring 172,
50672, Cologne, Germany


Thanks to its technological characteristics and availability on the international market, palm kernel oil is the main feedstock used for the production of bio-based surfactant. However, the production of this biological feedstock is often associated to deforestation practices in the countries of origin. As a consequence, reliable certification standards are needed in order to guarantee deforestation-free palm kernel oil and preserve the sustainability characteristics of the feedstock throughout the whole supply chain. This article illustrates the solutions that ISCC PLUS offers to support the surfactants industry in adopting the use of sustainable feedstock. In addition, the Global Risk Assessment Services (GRAS) tool is presented to demonstrate how current remote sensing technology can support the sourcing of sustainable material and therefore serve global detergent and cosmetic manufacturers in fulfilling their no deforestation commitments.



The role of surfactants is particularly relevant for the production of detergents and body care products (1) (Cesio in Tegewa 2014). According to the European Committee of Organic Surfactants, in 2014 circa 2.5 millions of surfactants have been used by the western European industry (figure 1). Two thirds of these amounts, corresponding to 1.5 million tonnes, have been used for the production of households and industrial detergents. Additional 380,000 tonnes of surfactants have been used for cosmetic and pharmaceutical goods production.
In figure 2 it is illustrated the European Union production of surfactants divided by country. According to Eurostat (2) (2016), Germany produced one third of the overall surfactants in the European Union in the year 2014. Currently, no official statistics on the use of feedstock for surfactants manufacturing is publicly available. Due to its relevant role in the European surfactants industry panorama, we can assume that the German industry can be considered a good proxy in relation to the type of feedstock used for surfactants manufactur ...