ZSL's SPOTT: Sustainability Policy Transparency Toolkit

- 20th Sep, 2019

Unsustainable commodity production threatens highly biodiverse tropical forest landscapes. Sustainable commodity production can provide environmental, social and economic benefits to local and global communities. SPOTT supports industry engagement – by investors, buyers and other influential stakeholders – to drive the adoption and implementation of sustainable practices on the ground. Developed by ZSL, SPOTT is a free online platform which scores palm oil, timber and pulp, and natural rubber producers, processors and traders annually on their public disclosure of policies, operations and commitments related to sustainability. Companies are chosen for assessment based on their potential impacts on tropical forests. SPOTT assesses companies against more than 100 sector-specific indicators across 10 categories relating to environmental, social and governance issues. Annual assessments allow benchmarking of progress over time, enabling users to identify areas where engagement may be needed. This promotes responsible investment in sustainable commodity production and incentivises companies to develop best practice.

In 2018, SPOTT assessed 120 palm oil, timber and pulp companies, and engaged with 67 companies to encourage the adoption of best practices. Since mid-2016, ZSL has been in contact with more than 160 financial institutions, and more than 70 of these are confirmed users of SPOTT data. As of September 2019, more than 700 users have registered for a Dashboard account in order to access full assessment datasets. Repeated assessments have shown increases in company scores, engagement with companies has resulted in improved transparency, and an increasing number of financial institutions are using SPOTT data in their decision-making processes. ZSL entered the SPOTT project into the BIAZA Awards 2019 Sustainability category and won a Gold award.

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