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”.
The NGOs clearly stated their support for the HCS Approach Steering Group as they say, it is a multi-stakeholder body with wide representation from industry and civil society, is accessible to interested parties, and seeks to ensure a balance between different interests. According to the NGOs, the HCS Approach also is a tool to assist land-use planning, not just a greenhouse gas emissions or carbon assessment, unlike the SPOM’s HCS study which is focused on carbon assessment.
The NGOs say they have confidence in the Steering Group as it seeks input from experts and scientists, especially from practitioners that are currently field-testing the HCS methodology, and will therefore come up with a tool that is pragmatic yet robust. Despite some reservations on the SPOM’s HCS study, the four NGOs say they are looking forward to the study’s results and hope that its findings will further strengthen the HCS Approach. While they welcomed the step taken by the SPOM companies in temporarily stopping clearance of potential HCS areas, the four urge them to announce stronger social and environmental safeguards for all the palm oil they use throughout their supply chains, and to define what they mean by ‘potential HCS areas’.