Vacancy: Technical Consultant for Membership Requirements Review 2019-2020

Given the steady growth of the High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) multi-stakeholder initiative, it has been widely supported within the HCSA Steering Group and Executive Committee that a review of the current HCSA Steering Group Membership Requirements is due, to strengthen the application of the methodology, its corresponding governance and decision-making for the credibility of the initiative.

To support the HCSA in the review, we are seeking the expertise of a technical consultant/expert to support HCSA’s Membership Committee conduct the Membership Requirements Review.

The Terms of Reference for the position is available for download here.

If you have the relevant experience and are interested in the position, please send in your CV and cover letter to the HCSA Secretariat at membership@highcarbonstock.org by Thursday, 30 May 2019. Thank you.

Announcement: Call for Legacy Case Applications

The HCSA Legacy Task Force is pleased to announce that they are accepting applications for Legacy Cases through 30 June 2019.

Please find here the Legacy Case Review Application Form and the Terms of Reference for the Legacy Task Force, which have been approved by the HCSA Executive Committee. The HCSA Steering Group members and applicants are invited to submit legacy cases and encouraged to forward the invitation to any third-party suppliers with legacy cases in High Forest Cover Landscapes.

The first step of the Legacy case process is to determine whether each case meets the eligibility criteria for acceptance. The full requirements are included in the application form; in summary the case must be in a High Forest Cover Landscape, it must have legal rights to develop the land, a community agreement must already be in place, and the company must maintain a clearance moratorium while the legacy case is processed. While the deadline for submitting the application is relatively short, the information needed in this round is limited and we do not think companies will have trouble presenting the necessary documents in time. Our goal is to discuss the eligibility of each case at the Legacy Task Force during the next SG Meeting week, and then move on to a deeper due diligence process for approved cases.

Kindly submit all applications, documents and/or queries to the HCSA Secretariat at Legacy@highcarbonstock.org, and refer to this page for latest updates. Thank you.

HCSA and WCF Collaborate to Halt Deforestation in Cocoa

The High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) Steering Group and the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) have signed a memorandum of understanding to advance commitments to ending deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa supply chain. This collaboration will contribute to the implementation of multilateral policy and corporate commitments in the cocoa sector to conserve High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests and High Conservation Value (HCV) areas that have high carbon, biodiversity and social values in tropical forest countries.

Judy Rodrigues, Executive Director of the High Carbon Stock Approach welcomes the collaboration and states, “The HCSA is excited to partner with the WCF and stand ready to work together to expand its impact in the cocoa sector. We are keen to build upon the HCSA’s success of preventing the deforestation of several million hectares of tropical forests and the conservation of over 575,000 hectares of HCS forests in the palm oil and pulp and paper sector to the cocoa sector.’’

She continues, “This collaboration will engage public and private sector stakeholders to facilitate and accelerate implementation of the HCSA methodology by companies and smallholder farmers in cocoa production landscapes.”

Ethan Budiansky, WCF’s Director of Environment said, “The HCS Approach is a proven methodology to identify forest areas that should be a priority for protection as part of a broader landscape-level approach. The partnership will be integral to supporting the implementation of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and advancing the cocoa sector’s commitments to no-deforestation, responsible land use management and conservation.”

The partnership will: identify key stakeholders in cocoa expansion frontiers with active deforestation and forest degradation, map the most effective areas for rights-based forest conservation, restoration and creation of forest corridors, engage with companies, governments, civil society and other stakeholders to pilot the HCS Approach in the field, and share learnings to identify opportunities for scaling-up the application of the HCS Approach including in new tropical forest regions in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The memorandum of understanding was signed on 29 March 2019.

About the World Cocoa Foundation

WCF is a non-profit international membership organisation whose vision is a sustainable and thriving cocoa sector – where farmers prosper, cocoa-growing communities are empowered, human rights are respected, and the environment is conserved. WCF has more than 100 members that represent 85 percent of the global cocoa and chocolate sector.

In November 2017, the Governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and the world’s leading cocoa and chocolate companies entered a public-private partnership called the Cocoa & Forests Initiative with the aim to end deforestation and promote forest restoration and protection in the cocoa supply chain. The Cocoa & Forests Initiative has been organised by the World Cocoa Foundation, IDH – the Sustainable Trade Initiative, and The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit, in partnership with the Governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. For further information, please visit www.worldcocoafoundation.org.

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 areas. For further information, please visit www.highcarbonstock.org.

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.