New HCSA SG Members: Sime Darby Plantation & Tropenbos Indonesia

The HCSA Executive Committee is pleased to announce two new HCSA SG Members: Sime Darby Plantation Berhad and Tropenbos Indonesia.

Sime Darby Plantation (SDP) Berhad is the world’s largest producer of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO). As a globally integrated plantation company, SDP is involved in the full spectrum of the palm oil value chain. This includes its upstream operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Liberia, as well as its downstream operations in 15 countries, represented by its subsidiary, Sime Darby Oils.

SDP was a member of the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto (SPOM) team that conducted the science study on HCS in 2014, was involved in the HCS Convergence negotiations and has also been actively involved in various working groups within the HCSA. SDP will be replacing the seat of its subsidiary, New Britain Palm Oil Limited (NBPOL).

Sime Darby Plantation officially came on board as a HCSA plantation company member on 20 March 2019. For more information, see their website www.simedarbyplantation.com.

Yayasan Tropenbos Indonesia links research into policies and practices by providing evidence-based knowledge to improve the management and governance of forests. They also play a role in influencing decision makers for the issuance of better policies and in influencing practitioners towards better implementation forest governance practices. Tropenbos Indonesia works with local governments and international organisations towards HCV/HCS mapping in the provinces of West Sumatra, Jambi and West Kalimatan, including involvement in drafting ministerial regulations.

Tropenbos Indonesia came on board as a HCSA technical support organisation member on 20 March 2019. For more information, see their website www.tropenbos-indonesia.org.

A full list of HCSA SG Members can be found here and more information on membership can be found here.

HCSA Launches Theory of Change and Global Strategic Business Plan

The High Carbon Stock Approach is pleased to announce the launch of its Theory of Change and Global Strategic Business Plan.

In the effort to prevent deforestation, HCSA’s accomplishments have played a critical role to date. As of October 2018, close to three million hectares of HCSA assessment area has been registered and over 500,000 hectares of HCS forests have been identified, set aside by companies for non-development and are in the process of being secured for conservation.

After 12 months of consultation, the Theory of Change (ToC) will provide a roadmap for HCSA to broaden its adoption, impact, achieve and supplement its ‘Tropical HCSA Adoption’ goal and the UN New York Declaration on Forest goal of ‘Ending Natural Forest Loss’ by 2030 respectively. The ToC identifies five main priority workstream strategies that will direct how HCSA should address the gaps and drawbacks of the implementation to date, build upon its strengths and seize opportunities for broader implementation and adoption. The ToC short-term strategic goals and priorities are detailed under the mid-2018 – mid-2021 Global Strategic Business Plan.

HCSA will work through collaborations and partnerships with key initiatives, governments and organisations across several regions and with sectors to pilot and adapt its implementation, expanding its reach and impact.

High Carbon Stock Approach Theory of Change 2018 to 2030

To know more about what HCSA has been up to, have a look at our Summary Progress and Highlights brochure.

For more information, contact the HCSA Secretariat at info@highcarbonstock.org.

NEW HCSA SG Member: SPKS

The HCSA Executive Committee is pleased to announce HCSA’s newest Steering Group (SG) member and first smallholder member, SPKS.

Serikat Petani Kelapa Sawit (SPKS) is an organisation of small-scale oil palm growers established in June 2006 and declared in 2013. SPKS works together with smallholder members to sustainably improve the management of palm oil plantations through empowering palm oil smallholders and advocating for better policies. Together with these farmers, SPKS aims to strengthen their well-being and self-reliance through building smallholder awareness, strengthening smallholder institutions and providing capacity-building programmes to increase smallholder livelihoods in Indonesia. SPKS has been actively collaborating with the HCSA on developing an adapted HCS Approach for smallholders to decouple its practices from deforestation in Indonesia. The organisation is also collaborating with HCSA and USAID to achieve recognition and conservation of HCS forests and HCV areas by the Indonesian government.

SPKS came on board as a HCSA SG smallholder member on 22 January 2019. For more information, please see their website www.spks.or.id.

RSPO and HCSA Collaborate to Implement No Deforestation in High Forest Cover Landscapes

A Joint Steering Group will develop a framework to implement the RSPO’s updated certification standards for No Deforestation in High Forest Cover Landscapes

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah – The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and the High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) have agreed to establish a No Deforestation Joint Steering Group (NDJSG) focused on providing guidance on the implementation of no deforestation requirements in High Forest Cover Landscapes. This collaboration is to support the incorporation of No Deforestation and the HCS Approach into its revised certification standard that was adopted at the RSPO 15th annual General Assembly held on Thursday, 15 November in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

The approach to High Forest Cover Countries and Landscapes in some of the world’s last remaining tropical rainforests has been a key area for discussion over the course of the RSPO Principles and Criteria (P&C) review process, in the last 18 months. The Joint Steering Group will consider the palm oil sector’s transition to local community production that conserves and enhances ecosystems in High Forest Cover Landscapes, while achieving sustainable livelihoods and poverty reduction. It will also socialise plans to balance these objectives and ensure practices that respect land users’ rights and uphold indigenous peoples’ rights to self-determination.

Judy Rodrigues, Executive Director of the High Carbon Stock Approach welcomed the agreement and said, “We are committed to working with the RSPO to develop guidance to implement no deforestation in High Forest Cover Countries and Landscapes. It is our hope that working together with Indigenous Peoples and local communities who will be supported and able to engage fully with this process we can find lasting solutions to the growing loss of rainforests in these regions.”

Datuk Darrel Webber, RSPO Chief Executive Officer, highlighted the importance of the partnership with HCSA, stating, “This collaboration provides the platform to provide lasting solutions to halting deforestation, through engagement and alignment on the approach. Most importantly, it will allow local stakeholders (particularly communities) to make their own participatory decisions on land use, in achieving positive impacts balancing sustainable livelihoods, and poverty reduction, with the need to conserve, protect and enhance ecosystems and respect land users’ rights,” he said.

About RSPO
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed in 2004 with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders. RSPO is a not-for-profit association that unites stakeholders from the seven sectors of the palm oil industry including oil palm producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental or nature conservation NGOs, and social or developmental NGOs.

This multi-stakeholder representation is mirrored in the governance structure of RSPO, such that seats in the Board of Governors, Steering Committees and Working Groups are fairly allocated to each sector. In this way, RSPO lives out the philosophy of the “roundtable” by giving equal rights to each stakeholder group, facilitating traditionally adversarial stakeholders in working together to reach decisions by consensus, and achieving RSPO’s shared vision of making sustainable palm oil the norm.

The seat of the association is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is currently based in Kuala Lumpur with satellite offices in Jakarta (ID), London (UK), Zoetermeer (NL), Beijing (CN) and Bogotá (CO).

About the HCS Approach
The HCS Approach is the first practical, field-tested methodology for distinguishing forest areas that should be protected or restored, from degraded lands that may be developed, using an integrated land-use planning approach. The methodology was developed with the aim to ensure a practical, transparent, robust, and scientifically credible approach that is widely accepted to implement commitments to halt deforestation in the tropics, while ensuring the rights and livelihoods of local peoples are respected. The HCS Approach has allowed major plantations and supply chain actors to reduce their impact by not clearing or purchasing goods from HCS forests and High Conservation Value (HCV) areas. For further information, please visit www.highcarbonstock.org.

This statement is available for download here. For more information, contact the HCSA Secretariat at info@highcarbonstock.org.

Leading Palm Oil Certification System Adopts No Deforestation Requirements

The High Carbon Stock Approach Welcomes the Integration of its Methodology into the RSPO’s Updated Certification Standard

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah – The High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) Executive Committee welcomes the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) General Assembly’s decision to adopt No Deforestation requirements into the Principles and Criteria at the RSPO 15th General Assembly, held earlier today at The Magellan Sutera Resort Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. The updated Principles and Criteria now includes the HCSA methodology.

Following more than a year of intensive work the RSPO Principles and Criteria Review Task Force 2017, comprising growers as well as environmental and social NGOs, has come to a consensus on No Deforestation requirements (under Principle 7 of the new Principles and Criteria framework). With the inclusion of the HCSA methodology under criterion 7.12, the RSPO is poised to become the global certification standard for deforestation-free palm oil, which has seen increasing demand from consumers and international markets over the last decade. Additionally, application of the rigorous social requirements of the HCS Approach by RSPO members will be integral to achieving positive impacts for communities that balance sustainable livelihood and poverty reduction with the need to conserve, protect and enhance ecosystems, and respect land users’ rights.

The RSPO, alongside the HCSA, will now work rapidly to effectively monitor and enforce compliance of its enhanced No Deforestation standard. A formal RSPO-HCSA joint steering committee will be constituted to oversee implementation of the RSPO No Deforestation work.

About the HCS Approach
The HCS Approach is the first practical, field-tested methodology for distinguishing forest areas that should be protected or restored, from degraded lands that may be developed, using an integrated land-use planning approach. The methodology was developed with the aim to ensure a practical, transparent, robust, and scientifically credible approach that is widely accepted to implement commitments to halt deforestation in the tropics, while ensuring the rights and livelihoods of local peoples are respected. The HCS Approach has allowed major plantations and supply chain actors to reduce their impact by not clearing or purchasing goods from HCS forests and High Conservation Value (HCV) areas.

About the HCSA Steering Group
The HCSA Steering Group provides overall governance of the HCS Approach and oversees further development of the methodology, including refining its definition, its objectives, and its relationship to other approaches to halting deforestation. The Executive Committee is elected by the Steering Group and is the decision-making body for governance and organisation matters. For further information, please visit www.highcarbonstock.org.

This statement is available for download here. For more information, contact the HCSA Secretariat at info@highcarbonstock.org.

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Critical Vote for Leading Palm Oil Certification Scheme to Adopt True ‘No Deforestation’ Standard

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah – The High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) Executive Committee is calling for the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) members to vote in favour of the updated RSPO Principles & Criteria as it integrates the HCSA No Deforestation methodology into criterion 7.12 during the 15th General Assembly. The RSPO is the world’s largest palm oil certification scheme and a positive vote will situate the RSPO as the global standard committed to certifying deforestation-free palm oil. Growing concerns over the impact of deforestation on the global climate, water scarcity, wildlife loss, and the rights of forest dependent communities is driving international demand for palm oil that is not linked to the continued loss of rainforests.

Deforestation – a critical issue on the ballot
During the RSPO’s Principles & Criteria review process, deforestation has been a critical issue because the current certification standard permits the clearance of secondary forests, which are vital for wildlife, carbon storage and local livelihoods.[1] Despite increasing global awareness and efforts to protect forests, over 13 million hectares of forest are still lost every year,[2] and most tropical deforestation is driven by development for agricultural commodities, such as palm oil,[3] beef, and soy. This crisis does not only displace the people and wildlife dependent on theses rich forests, but it also makes reaching our 1.5-degree climate goal more difficult; instead of these forests acting as vast carbon sinks, deforestation and agricultural development emit more carbon than all of our cars, ships, and planes combined. This failure to harness rapid emission reductions possible through a transition to responsible, deforestation-free agriculture represents a giant opportunity cost.[4] Thus, strengthening the RSPO’s Principles & Criteria to prohibit deforestation will create a win-win for people, wildlife, and our climate goals, and respond to market demands for responsible agricultural production.

Voting in favour of the RSPO’s new proposed requirements to halt deforestation through the use of HCSA’s No Deforestation methodology will allow the RSPO certification system to contribute to the transition to a deforestation-free palm oil sector. Additionally, application of the rigorous social requirements of the HCS Approach will be integral to achieving positive impacts for communities that balance sustainable livelihood and poverty reduction with the need to conserve, protect and enhance ecosystems, and respect land users’ rights.

Several RSPO members including growers have been using the HCS Approach as the methodology for implementing their No Deforestation commitments for years. The High Carbon Stock Approach Steering Group is committed to working with the RSPO to actively support the uptake of its methodology by all RSPO members, ensuring a rapid transition to a deforestation-free palm oil standard.

About the HCS Approach
The HCS Approach is the first practical, field-tested methodology for distinguishing forest areas that should be protected or restored, from degraded lands that may be developed, using an integrated land-use planning approach. The methodology was developed with the aim to ensure a practical, transparent, robust, and scientifically credible approach that is widely accepted to implement commitments to halt deforestation in the tropics, while ensuring the rights and livelihoods of local peoples are respected. The HCS Approach has allowed major plantations and supply chain actors to reduce their impact by not clearing or purchasing goods from HCS forests and High Conservation Value (HCV) areas.

About the HCSA Steering Group
The HCSA Steering Group provides overall governance of the HCS Approach and oversees further development of the methodology, including refining its definition, its objectives, and its relationship to other approaches to halting deforestation. For further information, please visit www.highcarbonstock.org.

This statement is available for download here. For more information, contact the HCSA Secretariat at info@highcarbonstock.org.

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[1] Gareth D Lennox, Toby A Gardner, James R Thomson, Joice Ferreira, Erika Berenguer, Alexander C Lees, Ralph Mac Nally, Luiz E O C Aragão, Silvio F B Ferraz, Julio Louzada, Nárgila G Moura, Victor H F Oliveira, Renata Pardini, Ricardo R C Solar, Fernando Z Vaz-de Mello, Ima C G Vieira, Jos Barlow. Second rate or a second chance? Assessing biomass and biodiversity recovery in regenerating Amazonian forests. Global Change Biology, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14443; https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181004085335.htm

[2] Brazil, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Malaysia have had the highest rates of rainforest loss between 2012 and 2014. Hansen M.C., Potapov, P.V., Moore, R., Turubanova, S.A., Tyukavina, A., Thau D., Stehman, V., & Goetz, S.J. (Nov 2013) High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change. Science 15 Nov 2013: Vol:342, pp 850-853. Global Forest Change 2000–2017

[3] One of the main drivers of deforestation and forest ecosystems degradation is agricultural expansion. According to different estimates, agricultural expansion is the primary driver of 27 to 80 percent of deforestation worldwide. Kissinger, G., Herold, M. & De Sy, V. 2012. Drivers of deforestation and forest degradation: a synthesis report for REDD+ policymakers. Vancouver, Canada, Lexeme Consulting. Curtis, P.G., Slay, C.M., Harris, N.L., Tyukavina, A. & Hansen, M.C. (2018). Classifying drivers of global forest loss. Science 361, 1108–1111

[4] Missing pathways to 1.5 Celsius: The role of the land use sector in ambitious climate action. Climate ambition that safeguards land rights, biodiversity and food security. Climate Land Ambition and Rights Alliance (CLARA) October 2018

Clarifying Statement on Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL)

The High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) wishes to advise stakeholders that Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) is not a member of the High Carbon Stock Steering Group. This clarification was confirmed by the HCSA Executive Committee during its meeting on Thursday the 4th of October 2018.

Golden Veroleum Liberia was previously incorrectly listed as a member due to its involvement in working groups as an alternate for an existing plantation company member.

The High Carbon Stock Approach has received information on allegations of breaches of the High Carbon Stock Approach by Golden Veroleum Liberia in its operations in Sinoe County, Liberia. As GVL is not an HCSA member, an investigation is underway to assess if there has been a breach of the requirements outlined in the High Carbon Stock Approach Toolkit in regards to the application of the HCSA methodology. The outcome of this investigation will be reported publicly and directly to stakeholders that have raised concerns on this case.

New HCSA SG Members: KLK & Nestlé

The HCSA Executive Committee is pleased to announce two new HCSA Steering Group (SG) Members, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK) and Nestlé S.A.

KLK is a Malaysian multinational company involved in plantation, manufacturing, and property development. Starting off as a plantation company more than 100 years ago, oil palm and rubber plantations still serve as KLK’s core business activities. The Group’s plantation landbank now stands close to 270,000 hectares spreading across Malaysia, Indonesia and Liberia. KLK commits to No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation (NDPE) and recently updated their Sustainability Policy. KLK came on board as a HCSA SG plantation company member on 2 October 2018.
For more information on KLK, please see their website www.klk.com.my.

Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company with more than 2000 brands globally and presence in 189 countries around the world. Nestlé’s purpose is enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. Nestlé committed to “No Deforestation” in 2010 and was one of the first companies to commit to protecting HCS forests. Since the HCSA concept became part of their requirements, the company has been working with suppliers and partners on transformation activities to bring their supply chains into alignment with their Responsible Sourcing Standard. Nestlé came on board as a HCSA SG commodity user company member on 4 October 2018.
For more information on Nestle, please see their website www.nestle.com.

A full list of HCSA SG Members can be found here and more information on membership can be found here.

HCSA Steering Group Statement on High Forest Cover Landscapes

14 June 2018

Highlights:
  • The High Carbon Stock Approach Toolkit and Decision Tree will not be altered for application in High Forest Cover Landscapes (HFCLs).
  • However, the HCSA Steering Group will work with stakeholders to identify alternatives to the industrial plantations model in HFCLs, meeting community aspirations and allowing development as well as conserving HCS forests in the long-term.
  • For a strictly limited number of existing “legacy cases” of concessions in HFCLs that meet eligibility criteria and agree to enter into a due diligence process, this may include limited conversion subject to specific thresholds and procedures, via an agreed legacy case review process.
  • Additional information on the Legacy Case review process will be available in the next 30 days on the HCSA website.

Members of the High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) Steering Group have long recognised that many agricultural development projects are slated for development in High Forest Cover Landscapes (HFCLs), defined as landscapes[1] with over eighty percent forest cover. In these landscapes there may be insufficient area or optimal arrangement of degraded land to support development of large-scale plantations, while governments and local communities are anticipating the implementation of projects, including those where the Free, Prior and Informed Consent has been obtained from rights holders.

Following deliberation by the HFCL Working Group in 2017, it has been decided that the HCSA methodology and Decision Tree will not be altered for application in HFCLs. Sanctioned deforestation in these landscapes is not compatible with a No Deforestation commitment, and this decision will maintain the credibility and rigour of the HCSA as a tool for putting No Deforestation into practice. This decision provides needed clarity over the scope of the HCSA for its stakeholders, further strengthening ongoing efforts to incorporate HCSA into certification schemes and improve support and adoption by governments.

In recognition of the development aspirations of communities and governments in HFCLs, as well as the importance of these forests for keeping climate change below 1.5 degrees and biodiversity, the HCSA Steering Group will instead shift its focus to researching, identifying, and developing new strategies, financing, and stakeholder engagement tools for these contexts. These will assist actors in HFCL areas to identify alternatives to the industrial plantations model that will allow development as well as the conservation of HCS forests. Such assistance will be based on cooperation with local communities as primary rights holders, as well as NGOs, governments, and the private sector. It is anticipated that this will include pilot projects and demonstration case studies to test different models and generate replicable and scalable proofs of concept.

In parallel, for a strictly limited number of “Legacy Cases” that meet specific eligibility criteria and agree to undergo a due diligence process, the HFCL Working Group will focus on assisting communities, companies, and their partners working in these existing concessions within HFCLs to prioritise conservation outcomes. In certain instances, following application of the Toolkit and Decision Tree, the Integrated Conservation and Land Use Plan (ICLUP) process may include limited conversion of identified HCS forest that does not exceed the Young Regenerating Forest (YRF)[2] vegetation class and maximum area thresholds defined by the HCSA Steering Group. A key focus will remain on building alternative livelihood and development options to the large-scale plantation model, and decisions on limited conversion exceptions for YRF areas will be determined via a mutually agreed decision-making process with affected communities. These options will include assurances for long-term protection of High Conservation Value (HCV) areas and HCS forest.

Shortly, the HCSA Steering Group will disseminate additional information about eligibility criteria and the due diligence process for those existing projects in HFCLs that wish to apply for consideration as valid Legacy Cases. Interested parties should note that in order to be considered a valid Legacy Case, a moratorium on forest clearance must have been enacted and any active clearance during the application process will serve as a disqualification from further consideration.

The HCSA Steering Group recognises that this strategy restricts options for concession-holders in High Forest Cover Landscapes, and that some direct or indirect future development may occur. The Steering Group will monitor potential ‘leakage’ and may at a future date decide to re-evaluate the approach to ensure that our strategy continues to address our goal of stopping broader deforestation associated with commodity production.

[1] See HCSA Toolkit Module 5: “Landscape is defined as a geographical mosaic composed of interacting ecosystems resulting from the influence of geological, topographical, soil, climatic, biotic and human interactions in a given area”, based on the definition used by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). See: http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/en_iucn__glossary_definitions.pdf (accessed 1 June 2018)

[2] Young Regenerating Forest (YRF) is defined as a highly disturbed forest or forest areas regenerating to their original structure. Diameter distribution dominated by trees 10-30 cm and with higher frequency of pioneer species compared to Low Density Forest. This land cover class may contain small areas of smallholder agriculture. Note: abandoned plantations with less than 50% of basal area consisting of planted trees could fall in this category or above. Concentrations >50% of basal area would not be considered HCS forest but rather plantations and should be classified separately. The HCS Approach Toolkit Module 4 Version 2.0 May 2017

High Carbon Stock Approach to Launch Africa Steering Group

17 May 2018, Accra, Ghana: The High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) hosted its inaugural meeting with stakeholders to establish a new Africa Steering Group on the sides of the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 event. With the expansion of the use of the HCSA across Central and West Africa, the Africa Steering Group will provide support for the application of the HCSA methodology, networking and consulting with key stakeholders, and integrating HCSA into the various African nations’ land use plans.

The HCSA, a methodology for putting No Deforestation commitments into practice while ensuring the rights and livelihoods of local peoples are respected, is being used by hundreds of companies across several million hectares of land in Asia and Central and West Africa. Much of the focus of HCSA so far has been on oil palm and pulpwood plantations in Asia. However, Africa contains the second largest area of tropical rainforest in the world and it is under increasing pressure from the expansion of agricultural production including palm oil, cocoa, rubber and coffee.

The High Carbon Stock Approach Toolkit is well established for implementing No Deforestation in fragmented tropical forest landscapes. The initiative is continually evolving new innovations and will soon issue guidance for the implementation of strengthened social requirements, an adapted approach for smallholders, support for forest conservation through incentives and benefits to local communities, and a position on only addressing existing ‘legacy’[1] plantation development in High Forest Cover Landscapes while supporting alternative conservation and development options.

For more information contact:
Asen M. Ako, EHS & Sustainability Manager of Wilmar Nigeria,
asen.ako@ng.wilmar-intl.com, Ph: +234-8158066794
Judy Rodrigues, Executive Director of HCSA,
judy@highcarbonstock.org, Ph: +31-650503758
Grant Rosoman, Co-Chair of HCSA,
grant@highcarbonstock.org, Ph: +64-21428415
HCSA Secretariat,
info@highcarbonstock.org.

[1] ‘Legacy’ cases are existing partially developed plantation expansion operations that have suspended expansion due to no deforestation requirements but have legal commitments, and obligations and expectations with local communities. Valid legacy cases will be determined through eligibility criteria.