Bangkok: Major palm oil producers and environmental NGOs announced today their agreement on a method to decide which forests must be conserved for companies to uphold their ‘no deforestation’ commitments. Forest Peoples Programme, which has been engaging closely in the process (links), welcomed the outcome.
In response to consumer pressure to eliminate deforestation from products on supermarket shelves, corporations have been making numerous ‘Zero Deforestation’ pledges, often accompanied by ‘Zero Exploitation’ commitments. These companies seek to ensure that products in their ‘supply chains’ do not ‘embody deforestation’ and are not linked to land grabs and abuse of human and labour rights. These commitments are welcome but raise numerous questions: what do they require in practice and how can companies’ performance be verified?
Eco-business published an exclusive article jointly written by FPP, Greenpeace, RAN and WWF, on the NGOs’ thinking on protecting high carbon stock (HCS) forests. They indicated that despite commitments by some companies to protect these forests, challenges still remain, namely the definition of HCS. They discussed the two main groups and initiatives underway, namely the HCS Approach Steering Group and the HCS Study initiated by the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto (SPOM) group, in determining the “HCS Approach”.