APP backs ‘No Deforestation’ toolkit

A toolkit developed by leading plantation companies and NGOs including Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and Unilever has been launched to help companies end deforestation in their supply chains.

The High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach Steering Group developed the toolkit, backed by Greenpeace and WWF, to enable the widespread implementation of the HCS Approach of identifying tropical forests for conservation and degraded lands for potential plantation development.

Deforestation is a major cause of climate change which accounts for 10-15% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions – equivalent to the emissions from the entire transport sector.

Widespread adoption

The new Toolkit provides practical guidance for producers on how to identify HCS forests and integrate them with other land use planning approaches such as respect for the rights of indigenous and traditional communities to their lands.

Greenpeace forest solutions coordinator Grant Rosoman said: “The HCS Approach breaks new ground by providing a practical way to achieve no deforestation together with recognition of community land rights. The publication of this Toolkit should enable the widespread adoption of the HCS Approach in key tropical forest regions where oil palm and pulp and paper plantations are being developed.”

The Toolkit has already been tested in pilot palm oil and pulp and paper concessions in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Liberia and is expected to be widely adopted by companies in other countries and products in 2015.

Asia Pulp and Paper managing director for sustainability Aida Greenbury said: “As the industry moves towards zero-deforestation, it is vital that we have an agreed method for defining what ‘forest’ is. We hope that the development of the HCS Approach will form the foundation for forest conservation over years to come and we invite Government, industry and other stakeholders to follow.”

The HCS Approach was first developed by The Forest Trust and Greenpeace in 2011 and adopted by other major producers including APP and Wilmar when they announced No Deforestation policies in 2013.

Progress investigations

APP was recently found to have made ‘moderate progress’ on its forest conservation efforts by the Rainforest Alliance in February. The Alliance evaluated APP’s Forest Conservation Program (FCP) – created two years ago after the paper company was targeted by Greenpeace for its destructive impact on the forests of Southeast Asia.

However, a similar investigation by a coalition of Indonesian and International NGOs in January concluded that there has been “little evidence to date that APP is taking sufficient action to resolve land conflict issues”.

Ninety percent of businesses realise a commitment to deforestation-free supply chains is the first step in safeguarding against climate-related risks, according to a report by CDP last year. In September 2014, the ‘New York Declaration on Forests’ was announced at the UN Climate Summit in New York, which saw a public-private partnership pledge to halve the rate of deforestation by 2020 and eradicate the issue completely by 2030.

Lucinda Dann

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