This page provides an overview of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) risks related to palm oil grown in Ghana.
Palm oil is the most important edible oil crop in Ghana. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported that in 2014, over 2.4 million tonnes of palm oil were produced which represents an average annual increase in production of 12% since 2010.
There are approximately 350,000 hectares (ha) planted with palm oil in Ghana. The main palm oil farm types include:
- Estates - large monoculture plantations usually integrated with a processing mill. 12% of the country's palm oil farm area is estates.
- Smallholders - plantations owned and managed by individuals or groups. 88% of the country's palm oil farm area is owned by smallholders.
It is reported that a high number of palm oil farms operate informally without legal land tenure, are non-compliant with health and safety regulations, and evade tax payments among other business and legal risks. Major environmental concerns linked to palm oil farms include deforestation, biodiversity loss and water depletion. The biggest underlying threats are the lack of effective laws relevant to CSR and/or weak enforcement of the law.
A number of CSR risks are present in Ghanaian palm oil supply chains. The risks are wide ranging and appear across the business, social and environmental areas. If you are sourcing palm oil from Ghana you should take care to ensure the extensive risks identified are not present in your supply chains, or have been sufficiently mitigated.
Score: 41 / 100 in 2018
Rank: 78 out of 180 countries in 2017
In March 2017, the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution to restrict imports of unsustainable palm oil and called for new sustainability criteria for palm oil entering the EU market.
There are currently no armed conflicts in Ghana according to the Council on Foreign Relations' Global Conflict Tracker.
In 2018, there were 12,680 hectares of palm oil certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
Gather information on your supply chain
- Find out the different sources of palm oil
- Determine which source type your palm oil comes from
- Find out the main documents that can be used to indicate legality throughout the supply chain
Sources of palm oil
|Palm oil source type||Description of source type|
Palm oil from monoculture plantations (usually at least 40 hectares in size) owned and managed by companies which are usually integrated with a processing mill.
Smallholder farms - Scheme
Palm oil from farms supervised or managed by estate or scheme mill managers.
|Smallholder farms - Outgrowers||
Palm oil from farms located outside of the farmer’s own nucleus estate or are a tenant on a third party’s land.
|Smallholder farms - Independent Smallholders||Palm oil from farms that are self-organised, managed and financed by independent farmers.|
Documents to indicate legality
Processing, trade and transport
Export and Customs
Assess the risks in your supply chain
- Find out the main environmental, social and legality risks
- Download the full risk assessment to see more detail
Main environmental, social and legality risks
Mitigate the risks in your supply chain
Learn which actions we recommended to mitigate the risks associated with the palm oil sources from Ghana
We have two tools to help you mitigate risks for palm oil supply chains from Ghana:
- The Supplier Evaluation Checklist for palm oil from Ghana will help you identify and specify the risks in your supply chain.
- The Risk Mitigation Guide gives you a detailed overview of risks in Ghana, and how to mitigate them.
The tools above give you the most information. Below is a summary of our recommended actions to mitigate the risks associated with the palm oil sources from Ghana.
1. Fully map your supply chain
- Our supply chain mapping tool can help you do this.
2. Obtain and verify documents
- Land tenure and business documents
- Land title certificate or property deed
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business commencement certificate
- Business Operating Permit from the Metropolitan/Municipal/District Assembly
- For companies with shareholders - a register of the shares of each shareholder and the amount agreed to be paid on each share and actual amounts paid
- Tax related documents
- Tax registration and identification number (TIN)
- Receipts of payment of land rent
- Receipt of payment of business rate
- Receipts of payment of property tax
- Receipts of payment of export tax and fees
- Paid export tax and fees shall match exported volumes as stated on the packing list
- Receipts of payment of VAT (Value Added Tax)
- Receipts of payment of National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL)
- Sales documents shall include applicable sales taxes like VAT and NHIL
- Corporate Tax payment receipts
- Pay as You Earn (PAYE) payment receipts
- Employment-related documents
- Employment contracts
- Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contribution receipts
- List of registered employees and SSNIT Registration numbers of staff
- Signed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)
- Policies and procedures confirming ILO Fundamental Conventions are upheld
- Health and Safety related documents
- Health and Safety policy and procedures
- Records of Purchase and Provision of Personal protective equipment
- Records of Payment of work related injury compensation
- Records of Health and Safety Training
- Records of inspections
- Evidence workers are registered with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)
- Environmental documents
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permit
- Environmental certificate issued by EPA (required for clearing land to establish an estate which is greater than 40 hectares) in off-reserve areas
- Environmental Impact Assessment approved by EPA
- Environmental management plan approved by EPA
- Water use right or permit issued by the Water Resources Commission (WRC)
- Salvage permits from the Forestry Commission in off-reserve areas
- Biodiversity surveys and High Conservation Value (HCV) assessments
- Conversation/High Conservation Value (HCV) management plans
- Historical remote sensing imagery evidence to confirm no conversion of primary forest, peatlands and HCVs post November 2005.
- Trade and transport documents:
- Final Invoice
- Bill of Lading
- Packing List
- Certificate of Origin (if applicable)
- Company Registration with the General’s Department
- Proforma Invoice
- Supplementary Information Document (SID)
- Tax Indentification Number (TIN) Certificate
- Single Administrative Document (SAD)
- Ghana Export Form (from the Banks or Port of Exit)
- Ghana Customs form
- Company Registration with Ghana Export Promotion Council
- Company Registration with the General’s Department
3. Consult stakeholders
- Confirm ownership and validity of Land Title Certificate or property deed with the Land Registration Division (LRD) of the Lands Commission
- Consult neighbours and local communities about the existence of any land tenure conflicts. If they do exist, confirm land tenure rights with the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands, Lands Commission and traditional authority
- Confirm with the Registrar General’s Department that the supplier has a valid business license to operate in Ghana
- Confirm with stakeholders that the farm was registered legally
- Confirm with the Ghana Revenue Authority that the supplier is registered and is up to date in payment of applicable taxes
- Confirm with the Metropolitan/Municipal/District Assembly that the supplier has a Business Operating Permit to operate within the Assembly
- Confirm with the Food and Drugs Authority that there is a valid business registration for palm oil production, supply or distribution, and export
- Confirm that there was a public hearing before the start of development activities on the land or farm, and before it was issued with an EPA registration and permit.
- Confirm with the District Assemblies whether the farm has been exempted from having to have water use permits
- Confirm with the Water Resources Commission that water use rights or permits have been issued
- Confirm that the palm oil plantation is not located in a protected area
- Assess the risk of deforestation by examining remote sensing time series images e.g, Global Forest Watch maps, within your palm oil supply area and/or cross reference it with the palm oil farm boundary maps
- Supplier records of stakeholder consultation with environmental NGOs knowledgeable on protected areas
- Confirm with environmental/nature conservation stakeholders that the supplier’s conservation and environmental management practices meet acceptable standards
- Confirm with staff that workers are paid at least the legally established minimum wage (GH8.80 as of 01-01-17)
- Confirm with staff that nobody under 15 is employed, and anyone involved in hazardous work is at least 18
- Confirm with staff that the employer allows them the right to organize and collectively bargain
4. Carry out verification
- Confirm that workers are paid at least the legally established minimum wage by consulting company payment records
- Confirm that nobody under 15 is employed, and anyone involved in hazardous work is at least 18 by consulting company employment records
- Confirm that the employer allows staff the right to organize and collectively bargain
- Confirm that the farm is within the boundaries marked on the relevant licenses
- Confirm that the company has an occupational safety and health (OSH) management programme, an H&S officer position (for large-scale plantations), and that training, procedures and equipment are in place
- Confirm that the Environmental Impact Assessment and plan were implemented and that they fulfil all the legal requirements
- Confirm that management plans for protected sites, species and High Conservation Values are implemented and monitored
- Confirm that maps/remote sensing images for deforestation reflect reality
Desk-based, but on-site:
- Confirm that the property deeds (land allocation, lease or indenture) indicate clear management rights
- Confirm that the quantities and qualities given in sales and transport documents match the fees paid and that sales prices are in line with market prices
- Cross-reference staff SSNIT registration numbers with samples of SSNIT contribution payment receipts
- Confirm that workers are employed according to regulations and required contracts
- Confirm that the company does not employ unregistered workers, either on probation, or who receive government benefits for the unemployed