The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and the Executive Committee of the High Carbon Stock Approach Steering Group (HCSA SG) announce their intention to undertake exchanges on how to implement no-deforestation commitments within the RSPO Principles and Criteria Review process.
The process has already started with the formation of a small joint committee involving representatives of RSPO Secretariat, RSPO P&C Task Force and the HCSA SG Executive Committee to discuss proposals for the inclusion of the HCS Approach to address no-deforestation in the RSPO P&C. The P&C review Task Force will then deliberate in their next meeting (22-24 November) whether these proposals should be included, adapted or not incorporated into the next version of the revised RSPO P&C.
Over the past year, the HCS Approach Steering Group has been working together with the HCV Resource Network (HCVRN) to develop integrated procedures that will support the identification of HCS forests alongside HCVs.
HCVRN and the HCS Approach Steering Group are now pleased to announce that the new HCV-HCSA Assessment Manual has been published, and is available for download on the HCVRN website at: www.hcvnetwork.org/als/documents-and-guidance
The manual is primarily targeted at guiding assessment teams through the HCV-HCSA assessment process. However, the manual is also useful for HCS Approach Steering Group member companies commissioning HCV-HCSA assessments.
The HCVRN has also prepared a leaflet to support HCS Approach Steering Group member companies and licensed assessors through the transition from the HCS Approach Quality Assurance system (peer review) to the HCV Assessor Licensing Scheme (ALS) Quality Assurance system. This leaflet can be downloaded here.
The study was carried out by a team of researchers from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) at the University of Kent, who have been undertaking wildlife surveys in the forests of Borneo, in an area undergoing conversion to oil palm. Their findings revealed that when high-resolution maps were used to map forest and carbon resources, areas of high carbon were clearly seen to support the most mammal species. This relationship was driven by species of conservation concern such as orangutan and clouded leopards, suggesting that mammals vulnerable to deforestation and forest degradation will benefit the most from carbon policies.
Over the past years, the HCS Approach has expanded its work streams and efforts tremendously, driven by a great deal of volunteer work by the Executive Committee and the Co-Chairs in particular. We are grateful for these valuable contributions, without which we could not have achieved many of our successes as a new organisation. To ensure that we can maintain this level of effort and grow our activities, the Executive Committee is now looking for an outstanding individual to lead the continued work with the support of the Secretariat.
Please find the job description for the post here.
Interested candidates or organisations should contact the Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 October 2017 with a cover letter and CV. Please indicate any special requirements for confidentiality.
HCV Resource Network (HCVRN) has recently released an animated video explaining what High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) are, and how they work together. This animation has been specifically created for consumer goods companies with no-deforestation commitments. Many retailers and consumer goods manufacturers have committed to eliminating deforestation from their operations. The HCV and HCS approaches can help companies to implement their no-deforestation commitments, but what do they mean in practice? To find out, check out the video here:
For more information on HCVRN and what they do, please visit their website here.
We are also pleased to announce that the HCS Approach Introduction Video is now also available in Bahasa Indonesia and can be found here:
The High Carbon Stock Approach Steering Group is pleased to announce that five new members have joined the Steering Group since March 2017.
Conservation International is an NGO with the goal of saving and protecting nature through science, policy, and partnerships with countries, communities and companies. The organisation is active in empowering societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature and global biodiversity. More information is available on their website: www.conservation.org.
EcoNusantara is an independent organisation that provides expert services and advice on vital issues in the fields of environmental and social responsibility. The organisation has experience working on forest, climate, ocean and livelihood issues in Southeast Asia and is driven by the goal to delink unsustainable natural resource use from development. More information is available on their website: www.econusantara.org.
Greenbury & Associates is a sustainability advisory firm, which operates under PT. Mitra Putri Hijau. The firm observes and analyses the environment to support and guide key stakeholders in building a solid strategy to achieve responsible green growth and investment. Greenbury & Associates was founded by Aida Greenbury, who has more than 20 years of experience in the fields of sustainability and forestry management. More information is available on their website: greenbury.net.
IOI Group is a global integrated palm oil player and property developer cum investment company in Malaysia. Its plantation business covers Malaysia and Indonesia with a land bank of more than 230,000 hectares. IOI is the first Malaysian plantation company to join the HCS Approach Steering Group. As a previous signatory of the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto (SPOM), IOI is also the first member to join the Steering Group since the HCS Convergence Agreement in November 2016. More information is available on their website: www.ioigroup.com.
Mighty, a project of the Center for International Policy, is a global campaign organisation that focuses on conserving threatened landscapes like tropical forests, protecting oceans, and solving climate change. Mighty’s campaigns have played a role in persuading large food and agriculture companies to adopt policies to eliminate deforestation and human rights abuse from their supply chains. More information is available on their website: www.mightyearth.org.
Information about Steering Group membership can be accessed at the Governance page here.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the HCS Approach Steering Group Secretariat at email@example.com.
In May 2017, the HCS Approach Steering Group opened up a blog competition to the Indonesian public, on the tails of the launch of the HCS Approach Toolkit Version 2.0 on the 3rd of May in Bali.
The competition ran from the 15th of May until the 16th of June, during which time participants submitted blog articles about the HCS Approach and the newly launched version of the toolkit as the unified global methodology for putting ‘No Deforestation’ into practice.
The competition was a great success, with a total of 32 submissions. The Steering Group is very pleased to announce the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the competition:
Adequate mention of the various links relating to the HCS Approach and Toolkit Version 2.0,
Creativity in aesthetics and in the angle/perspective provided on the HCS Approach Steering Group’s value, purpose, programme, and stakeholders,
And most importantly: the quality of content and understanding in relation to the HCS Approach, the Toolkit Version 2.0 and the launch.
The Steering Group congratulates the top three winners, and would also like to thank all participants for submitting their pieces to us and helping to spread the news on the methodology and the launch.
The full list of submissions for the blog competition can be accessed here.
More information on the HCS Approach Toolkit Version 2.0 and the launch in May can be found here.
The High Carbon Stock Approach (HCS Approach) Steering Group is collaborating with HCV Resource Network (HCVRN) to develop procedures for integrated HCV-HCS assessments to support the identification of High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests alongside High Conservation Values (HCVs). A detailed technical HCV-HCS assessment manual is currently under preparation by the HCVRN and the HCS Approach HCV-HCS-FPIC Integration & Protection Working Group to create a step by step guidance narrative for conducting joint HCV and HCS assessments which will be recognised by the Assessor Licensing Scheme (ALS) of the HCVRN.
With the new guidance, all joint HCV-HCS assessments will need to follow the upcoming HCV-HCS Assessment Manual and new quality assurance procedures via the HCV Assessor Licensing Scheme (ALS). This integration is applicable to companies who have commitments to no deforestation of High Carbon Stock (HCS) and protection of High Conservation Value (HCV) areas.
Once the guidance is published:
It will be compulsory for any new HCV-HCS assessments to follow the new HCV-HCS Assessment Manual;
An ALS-licensed assessor will need to be hired to lead the HCV-HCS assessment (where the assessor must submit the assessment report to the ALS for evaluation); and
At least one member of the assessment team must have training in the HCS methodology. The HCS Approach Secretariat is developing a new training program for practitioners to refresh current HCS licenses and allow for new practitioners to be trained.
The new HCV-HCS Assessment Manual is expected to be published by August 2017. For more information on the implications of integrated HCV-HCS assessments for companies, you may find the factsheet available here.
Currently, the HCVRN is conducting a 30-day public consultation to gather input from interested stakeholders. For further details on providing your feedback/comments, kindly find the link to the HCVRN website here.
Today, a new and unified global methodology for protecting natural forests and identifying lands for responsible commodity production was released by a coalition of industry and Non-Governmental Organisations. The High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach Toolkit represents a breakthrough for companies, communities, institutions, and technical practitioners that have a shared commitment to protecting regenerating and secondary forests that provide essential carbon storage, habitat for biodiversity and livelihoods for local communities.
“Allowing deforestation for plantations is a thing of the past. Today, we have released an open-sourced toolkit that provides a practical, and scientifically robust technical guide to identify and protect tropical forests,” said Grant Rosoman, the Co-Chair of the High Carbon Stock Approach Steering Group.
The first version of the HCS Approach Toolkit was released in April 2015. The revised version released today has incorporated the latest scientific research, feedback from on-the-ground trials as well as new topics and inputs from working groups of the HCS Approach Steering Group, a multi-stakeholder membership organisation that governs the HCS Approach. The new toolkit also presents refinements, additions and important changes to the methodology, as a result of the ‘Convergence Agreement’ between HCS Approach and HCS+ Study in November 2016. With the completion of the HCS Approach Toolkit Version 2.0, the High Carbon Stock Approach Steering Group will now focus on piloting and trialing its adapted methodology for smallholders and farmers and strengthened social requirements that were developed as part of the HCS convergence process.
The HCS Approach Toolkit Version 2.0 is available here.
On 20 February 2017, British bank HSBC announced the release of their revised Agricultural Commodities Policy. HSBC has strengthened their policy for palm oil by expanding their prohibited businesses commitment, making it consistent with ‘No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation’ (NDPE) policies, which are increasingly being adopted by leading companies in the palm oil sector. The policy has now also been extended to refiners and traders.
The revision of the policy is considered a significant step in demonstrating commitment to breaking ties to destructive palm oil companies. HSBC customers will not only need to make a public commitment to protect high carbon stock (HCS) forests and peat areas by the end of June 2017, but will also be required to produce evidence of the independent verification of these commitments by the end of December 2018. While the policy does not specify a methodology for the implementation of HCS protection commitments, reference is made to the HCS Convergence Agreement of November 2016, and the common methodology defined in the agreement.
The HCS Approach Steering Group hopes that other banks and finance institutions will follow HSBC’s lead in revising their policies in support of HCS forest protection.
The official statement on the release and the revised policy is available on the HSBC website here.