Agreement on Unified Approach to Implementing No Deforestation Commitments

Following a year of intensive work, the HCS Convergence Working Group announced in Bangkok today that they have reached agreement on convergence between the HCSA and HCS+ approaches. The Group has agreed on a single, coherent set of principles for implementation of companies’ commitments to “no deforestation” in their palm oil operations and supply chains. The members of the Group worked together constructively to develop recommendations that provide a roadmap forward for addressing the issues that remain in a collaborative and integrated way.

The agreement outlines:

  • Fundamental elements of the converged methodology that protects HCS forests, HCV areas and peatlands, including forest stratification and decision-making in “young regenerating forest” within fragmented landscapes, the role of carbon and robust implementation of FPIC and other social requirements;
  • The intention for functional and institutional integration of HCS with the HCV Resource Network; and
  • A roadmap for resolving outstanding issues through a collaborative process.

The recommendations will be incorporated into the revised HCSA Toolkit and the members of the Group are committed to further the implementation of these recommendations and to address the important remaining issues through their engagement in the HCSA Steering Group. In addition, the agreement will be reflected in the policies and positions of the organisations endorsing this agreement and the revised HCSA toolkit will be implemented by the companies when it is issued in early 2017.

Organisations reaching agreement are:

Asian Agri
Cargill
Forest Peoples Programme
Golden Agri-Resources
Greenpeace
IOI Corporation Berhad
KLK
Musim Mas
Rainforest Action Network
Sime Darby
TFT
Unilever
Union of Concerned Scientists
Wilmar International
WWF

This agreement has also been received and endorsed by Executive Committee of the HCSA. The full agreement is available for download here.

Should you have any questions about the outcomes of this agreement, please contact: info@highcarbonstock.org

To view the full statement, please click here.

Public Consultation: HCS Approach Methodology & Toolkit version 2.0


Second Consultation Period 30 September – 30 October: Please Give your Feedback

 
Earlier this year, it was announced that the High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach Steering Group would be commencing the first revision of the HCS Approach Methodology and Toolkit since its public release in 2015. As part of the first phase of the revision process, key stakeholders, such as commodity companies and practitioners implementing the HCS Approach, were consulted on their experience with the Toolkit and Methodology. Members of the scientific community were engaged in the process via the HCS Approach Scientific Advisory Committee, and all stakeholders were invited to provide feedback through a public consultation and a workshop that was held in March.

Following a second consultation workshop held last week on the 20th of September in Singapore, and further to the HCSA/HCS+ convergence agreed key elements, a selected set of new chapters for version 2.0 are now open for public consultation. The drafts of these chapters can be downloaded below:

Chapter 3: Vegetation Stratification
Chapter 4: Ground Survey
Chapter 6: HCS Forest Patch Analysis & Decision Tree
New Chapter: HCS-HCV-FPIC Integration

The Steering Group invites any interested parties and relevant stakeholders to contribute to the HCS Approach Methodology & Toolkit Version 2.0 by reviewing the above selected chapters and providing feedback/comments in the survey form below. The consultation is open starting from the 30th of September, and will close on the 30th of October, 2016.

HCS Approach Methodology & Toolkit Version 2.0 – Public Consultation

NOTE: We strongly recommend that you read the chapters you wish to review, and note down your feedback prior to commencing the survey. Due to restrictions, it is not possible to start the survey and complete it at a later point. However, if you have submitted a survey response and wish to edit your response, this is possible via a link on the form submission confirmation page.

Should you have any questions regarding the new chapters and/or the public consultation, please do not hesitate to contact the Secretariat at: info@highcarbonstock.org

More information on the timeline of the toolkit methodology and revision process can be found here.

The HCS Approach Toolkit Version 1.0 is available here.

First HCS assessment completes HCS Approach Steering Group Quality Review Process

The HCS Approach Steering Group would like to congratulate Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK) for being the first company to complete the HCS Approach Steering Group Quality Review Process. Last week, the Summary Report and Peer Review report for the HCS assessment conducted for KLK’s Palm Bay Estate in Liberia was released on the HCSA website.

The Quality Review Process is intended for all HCS assessments completed by members of the Steering Group, but also welcomes any assessment submissions by non-members who request review. The review process does not require third-party certification, however, companies must engage trained practitioners to conduct the HCS assessment and submit the assessment to a small Peer Review panel. The Peer Review panel’s feedback is then published alongside a summary of the assessment and any additional company comments, so that stakeholders can enter into a dialogue with companies about the results.

Since the launch of the Quality Review Process in November 2015, eleven HCS assessments have been submitted. One has been reviewed, and the results released. One is undergoing Peer Review, and the others will undergo the review process once the assessments are in their final stages of implementation.

To view the peer review results of KLK’s Palm Bay Estate assessment, please visit the Registered HCS Assessments page.

To learn more about the Quality Review Process, please visit the HCS Approach Quality Review Process page.

Announcement: Upcoming HCS Approach Practitioner Training In Bahasa Indonesia

The HCS Approach Steering Group is pleased to announce that the next HCS Approach Practitioner Training is scheduled to take place next month in Jakarta on the 26th-28th of July. The three-day in-person session will be the second training to be held in Bahasa Indonesia, and the second practitioner training to be held in 2016.

Training Objective
The objective of the training is to provide guidance to assessors on the implementation of the HCS Approach assessment process and toolkit. The training is a critical part of the HCS Approach Quality Review Process, and assessors are required to attend at least one training in order to be registered as an approved HCS Approach Practitioner.

Intended Participants
This is not a general introduction to the HCS Approach, but rather a three-day technical training for professionals who intend to eventually lead HCS assessments and oversee the image and forest patch analysis components of HCS assessments. Plantation company staff are welcome if they expect to be deeply involved in the technical side of HCS assessments, for instance satellite image analysis or the overall integration of HCS, HCV, community lands, and other areas into the land use plan.

How to Register
Please find the registration form together with further information on the training here. Any inquiries and/or registration forms may be submitted to the HCS Approach Secretariat at: QA@highcarbonstock.org.

Announcement: New translations of the HCS Approach Toolkit now available

As commitments to the implementation of the High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach methodology continue to grow across different regions, the HCS Approach Steering Group is seeking to accommodate the demand for the availability of the Toolkit in various languages. The Steering Group is pleased to announce that the Toolkit is now available for download in Spanish and Portuguese.

The Bahasa Indonesia Toolkit was released in 2015, and the French version of the Toolkit will be launched in the coming weeks.

To download the Toolkit in Bahasa Indonesia, Spanish, and Portuguese, please click here.

HCS Convergence Working Group commit to goals, process, and high-level work plan for 2016

On March 29, 2016, the HCS Convergence Working Group met in Singapore to commit to goals, process, and a high-level work plan for 2016. This meeting followed up on a first session in October 2015. The HCS Convergence Working Group consists of members of the High Carbon Stock Approach Executive Committee and additional companies that participated in development of the HCS+ methodology.

Members of the HCS Convergence Working Group confirmed their commitment to working together to develop a single, coherent set of rules for implementation of companies’ commitments to “no deforestation” in their palm oil operations and supply chains. The Group reviewed the results of a desk study that provided a first look at how these two methodologies compare on the ground. The Group then agreed to a process and high-level work plan with the following goals for 2016:

  • Consensus on the fundamental elements of an HCS methodology, including forest thresholds and below-ground carbon, decision-making in “young regenerating forest,” and social safeguards;
  • A pathway for institutional integration of HCS with existing systems, with appropriate governance; and
  • A roadmap for resolving outstanding issues through collaborative process and, as needed, field trials, including:

     – Approaches to estimating and managing the overall
         carbon impacts of land-use decisions;
     – Rules for applying HCS methodology in high forest regions;
     – Application of HCS methodology to small producers; and
     – Assuring protection of HCS lands and other set-asides.

The HCS Convergence Working Group agreed to meet two more times in 2016, likely in June or July and in November. Prior to the next meeting, a subset of the group will advance recommendations related to socio-economic elements of the HCS methodology. A second subset of of the group will develop analyses and options for addressing the key outstanding issues and will develop a plan for field trials. Members of the HCS Convergence Working Group also committed to participating actively in the working groups established under the HCSA Steering Group. These groups are addressing issues of common concern such as how to approach integration of HCS with systems for identifying High Conservation Value (HCV), and for assuring the Free Prior Informed Consent of local communities (FPIC), and how to incorporate into the HCS methodology high forest cover regions, smallholders, and ongoing protection of lands set aside for conservation.

Should you have any questions about the outcomes of this meeting, please contact: info@highcarbonstock.org

To view the full statement, please click here.

The HCV Resource Network and the HCS Approach Steering Group agree to deepen collaboration

The Executive Committee of the High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) Steering Group and representatives from the Management Committee of the High Conservation Value Resource Network (HCVRN) met in Singapore on Friday the 1st of April, 2016 to discuss next steps with regards to joint quality assurance of HCV and HCS assessments, a future joint HCV-HCS assessment manual and the potential for a shared institutional home for the HCS and HCV approaches.

Recognising the potential for significant efficiency gains for companies, communities and practitioners alike in integrating the governance and quality assurance of the HCV and HCS approaches, both groups agreed to:

a) From April 2016 to January 2017, develop common procedures to evaluate the quality of HCV and HCS assessment reports, including joint HCV-HCS reports. Procedures will be developed and implemented under the umbrella of the existing HCV Assessor Licensing Scheme and will build on the interim peer review procedure and transparency requirements developed by the HCS Approach Quality Assurance working group, which was launched in December 2015.

b) In the short-term, both parties agreed to develop integrated guidance on how to conduct joint HCV-HCS assessments in a range of situations, including with smallholders, at landscape level, and high forest cover regions, building on the work of the HCS Approach HCV-HCS-FPIC Integration working group, the HCS Approach toolkit, the Common Guidance for HCV Identification, Management and Monitoring, the HCV Assessment Manual, and the HCSA and HCS+ convergence process that is currently underway.

c) In the medium-term, both groups will work towards joint governance of the HCV and HCS approaches and encourage broader uptake of HCV-HCS guidance and quality assurance mechanisms by stakeholders such as certification schemes and companies committed to deforestation-free production and sourcing.

If you have questions about the outcomes of this meeting, please contact secretariat@hcvnetwork.org or info@highcarbonstock.org

To download this statement, please click here.

Announcement: HCS Approach Methodology & Toolkit Revision


First Consultation Period 1st to 28th of March:
Please Give your Feedback

 
In March 2015, version 1.0 of the High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach Toolkit was launched, enabling the widespread adoption of the HCS Approach. The Toolkit provides guidance for producers on how to identify High Carbon Stock forests and integrate them with other land use planning approaches such as High Conservation Value areas, the protection of peatlands, and respect for the rights of indigenous and traditional communities to their lands.

The HCS Approach Steering Group is now announcing the commencement of the first revision of the HCS Approach Methodology and Toolkit since its public release in 2015. The revision process will take place in the coming months, with the aim to launch version 2.0 before the end of the year.

As part of the first phase of the revision process, key stakeholders, such as commodity companies and practitioners implementing the HCS Approach, are being consulted on their experience with the Toolkit and Methodology to date. Members of the scientific community will be engaged in the process via the HCS Approach Scientific Advisory Committee. All other stakeholders such as government representatives, NGOs, community organisations, and consumer companies are also welcome to provide feedback. Recommendations from further field trials and new scientific information will also be incorporated in the revision.

On the 30th of March 2016, the HCS Approach Steering Group will be holding an HCS Approach Methodology and Toolkit Revision Consultation Workshop in Singapore. The workshop will be an open session for critical feedback and will also include presentations on proposals for revision based on issues arising from the targeted questionnaires and feedback to date. Any interested parties and relevant stakeholders are welcome to participate in the workshop.

Should you be interested in joining the consultation workshop to provide feedback on your experience or views on the methodology, please contact: info@highcarbonstock.org.

We also invite you to provide your feedback on the methodology by filling in our questionnaire below before the 28th of March, 2016.

General Survey – HCS Approach Toolkit & Methodology Review

The HCS Approach Toolkit Version 1.0 is available here.


Photos: courtesy of TFT and Golden Agri-Resources

Announcing the release of the HCS Approach Quality Review Process and Registered Practitioners

In November 2015, the HCS Approach Steering Group launched a Quality Review Process, which will be followed for all HCS assessments completed by members of the Steering Group, as well as any non-member who requests review. The review process does not require third-party certification, however, companies must engage trained practitioners to conduct the HCS assessment and submit the assessment to a small Peer Review panel. The Peer Review panel’s feedback will then be published alongside a summary of the assessment and any additional company comments, so that stakeholders can enter into a dialogue with companies about the results.

The procedure will be valid through November 30, 2016. The HCS Approach Quality Assurance Working Group is considering changes to the process after this first year.

A list of trained registered practitioners is also now available following two HCS Approach practitioner trainings that were held earlier this year. The first training was held in Bahasa Indonesia in Bogor, Indonesia in August, 2015. The second training was held in English in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in September, 2015. More trainings will be scheduled for the upcoming months across different regions. Practitioners interested in attending HCS Approach trainings should contact QA@highcarbonstock.org for further information.

Registration is tied to the organisation and the registered individual practitioner. Under the HCS Approach Quality Review Process, only Registered Organisations can lead HCS assessments, and the HCS team must include at least two Registered Practitioners. The HCS Approach Steering Group encourages companies committed to implementing the HCS Approach to contact these Registered Organisations to lead HCS assessments.

The HCS Approach Quality Review Process document is now available, and outlines the details and steps of the Quality Review Process.

For additional information on the process, HCS Approach Trainings, and for the list of Registered Organisations and Practitioners, please visit the HCS Approach Quality Review Process page on the HCS Approach website.

Call for interest: HCS Approach Practitioner Training 2016

In August and September of 2015, the HCS Approach Steering Group organised two technical training sessions for HCS Approach practitioners in Malaysia and in Indonesia. These trainings are a critical part of the HCS Approach Quality Review process, and assessors are required to attend at least one training in order to be registered as an approved HCS Approach practitioner. We are now looking to schedule further sessions for 2016 to ensure that assessors have access to appropriate guidance and an in-depth understanding of how to implement the HCS Approach Toolkit.

We wish to ensure that training sessions are organised according to demand and interest, please send us a non-binding expression of interest to info@highcarbonstock.org by 15 December, 2015 if you or representatives from your organisation would consider attending trainings organised by the HCS Approach Steering Group.

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