Palma Futura: Improving Working Conditions in Latin America's Palm Oil Industry

Partners: Partners of the Americas, J.E. Austin & Associates (JAA)

Funder: United States Department of Labor

Context: Palm oil can be found in up to half of all consumer goods and commercial food products. It is an important cooking oil around the world, cosmetic ingredient, and an increasingly important biofuel. As a widespread and versatile global commodity, palm oil production impacts millions of farmers, workers, and communities across the globe. This project is an exciting opportunity to raise expectations for social performance across an important global industry and improve conditions for workers around the world.

Program Description: Beginning in 2019, SAI and our partners will work with companies, workers, and communities in Colombia and Ecuador to build up robust social performance systems that improve conditions for workers at every level of the supply chain—from industrial processing plants, to large-scale plantations, to thousands of smallholder farms. SAI and Partners of the Americas will also work with stakeholders and government officials to build capacity at the local and national level.

As part of this project, JAA will conduct an in-depth value chain analysis, positioning the industry to link improved social performance and business competitiveness. Participant companies' experiences will be turned into Harvard Business School case studies, guiding future generations of business and organizational decision-makers. The overall project outcomes and tools will be disseminated in Brazil, Peru, and other key palm-producing regions.

Learn more: If you are interested in learning more about this program, please contact Stephanie Wilson at