The Forest Trust have released a short video on their Respect programme which aims to address human rights issues in agricultural supply chains. It discusses some of the issues on plantations in Indonesia and in the manufacturing sector in China, and the worker-focused solutions they are implementing to tackle them.
A toolkit, named the HCS Approach, has been developed by a group of organisations with the aim of identifying High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests. The toolkit was endorsed last week by major NGOs and plantation companies in Singapore including Golden Agri Resources, APP, Wilmar, Greenpeace, WWF, RAN, Unilever and The Forest Trust. The toolkit is seen as a crucial element in developing sustainable plantations and the companies involved will now begin the steps towards implementation in the field. HCS sits alongside HCV
Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), a long-time target of environmental campaigners, committed in February 2013 to protect and restore a million hectares of forest across Indonesia under its Forest Conservation Policy. This video presented by Tony Juniper, an advisor to APP, highlights key aspects of the policy. The policy requires its suppliers to not only protect natural forest resources, but also biodiversity and human rights. APP has worked with The Forest Trust (TFT) to help develop and implement the policy. And the company has adopted the High Conservation Value (HCV) assessment, developed by the Forest Stewardship Council, to ensure the values of natural forest are fully understood. APP is also adopting High Carbon Stock (HCS) survey to understand the location of big stocks of carbon. The restoration commitment of APP targets nine “landscape” across Sumatra and Kalimantan, regions where the company sources its fibre.
An independent study by The Forest Trust and Ata Marie have found that APP has sufficient plantation resources to supply a massive new mill being built in OKI, South Sumatra. The study did however uncover one minor gap in supply in 2020. Aida Greenbury, APP’s managing director of sustainability said “The TFT report forecasts a minor gap in supply in 2020. However it is clear that with a harvesting rotation of around five years, improvements made now can bridge that gap by increasing productivity of supplier plantations through improved yield, better tree stock and reduction of waste. As such, we have been developing an action plan to ensure we have sufficient plantation fibre to meet the pulp requirements of our existing mills as well as our future mill in South Sumatra, in line with our target to become a 100% plantation business for pulp production.
Johnson & Johnson have revealed a comprehensive palm oil sourcing policy to eliminate deforestation and social conflict from its global palm oil supply chain.
The current use of palm oil by Johnson & Johnson stands at 0.2% of global palm oil production, the equivalent of 75,000 tons per annum. By working with The Forest Trust, they plan to set up sourcing systems that deliver fully traceable palm oil.
In response to TFT's criticisms of the Chain of Custody system, FSC issued a response highlighting the controls in place to maintain a robust system. The article does not respond to all of TFT's points but rather focuses on the COC improvements that are underway.
Commentary from Scott Poynton, Founder & Executive Director of The Forest Trust, highlighting the conflicts of interest faced by voluntary certification schemes who are "protecting income streams rather than the world's forests". To solve the problem, Scott recommends certification schemes adopt a new funding model that does not rely on issuing certificates.
Following an investigation into allegations by Indonesian NGO Eyes on the Forest that a forest concession was cleared in breach of APP’s ‘No Deforestation’ policy, the company has announced that it was accidentally in breach of its policy. Eyes on the Forest published evidence in May that 70 hectares belonging to APP subsidiary PT. Riau Indo Agropalma (RIA) had been cleared. APP and The Forest Trust (TFT) – the NGO working with APP to implement its policy – then investigated the matter and have acknowledged that it did constitute a breach of the policy. However, the clearance was following an agreement mandated under Indonesian law to implement a community development programme. APP stated that an alternative arrangement should have been agreed through consultation with the community and that they are now reviewing internal sign-off procedures.
Skoll World Forum debate: “How do we feed the world and still address the drivers of deforestation?”
The debate led to a disagreement between The Forest Trust (TFT) and WWF. Jason Clay from WWF US referred to FSC as a success story in halting deforestation. However, Scott Poynton from TFT, while acknowledging FSC as the strongest forest management standard, accused it of allowing illegal timber through thousands of Chinese Chain-of-Custody certified factories with the help of WWF’s GFTN programme, FSC accredited certification bodies and the FSC itself. Clay did not respond to the allegations.
TFT published the following statement on their website with the full report: ‘TFT has carried out a thorough technical study into alleged allegations of APP suppliers clearing forest in West Kalimantan Province and has produced the below report which shows no evidence of any violation of APP's forest clearance moratorium.’
The Forest Trust (TFT) has revealed that it is working with Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) on an overall framework for sustainability which includes and goes beyond legal compliance. TFT has previously worked successfully with Golden Agri Resources, Indonesia’s largest palm oil company which sits under the same ownership as APP. TFT plans to publish regular updates once it believes that APP is making significant progress.