First Resources publishes 2017 Sustainability Report

First Resources Limited has recently published their fourth sustainability report and will continue to produce an annual sustainability report following the SGX requirements. This 2017 report provides an in-depth review of First Resources’ sustainability operations since their last cycle in 2015.
Download the report here.

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Wilmar launches 2017 Sustainability Report

Wilmar International Ltd has recently published their sixth sustainability report. This annual report covers their sustainability performance for the 2017 calendar year reporting on their palm oil operations, as well as their sugar business for the first time.
Download the report here.

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Release of RSPO’s Impact Update 2017

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) have recently released their Impact Update 2017 report. This annual report builds on their bi-ennial full Impact Reports and covers their progress and activities over the previous year.
Download the report here.

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Bumitama launches second Sustainability Report

Bumitama has released their second Sustainability Report, covering financial years 2015 and 2016. This report provides an overview of Bumitama’s progress, successes and challenges in implementing its Sustainability Policy that launched simultaneously with its first report in 2015.

Download the report here.

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Wilmar International launches Sustainability Report 2016

Singapore-based Wilmar’s fifth Sustainability Report reflects the company’s documents progress towards its No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation commitments in 2016. The report details progress and performance data on key issues such as labour conditions and climate change, as well as overviews on planned activities for the coming years.

Download the report here.

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IJM publishes its first sustainability statement

IJM Corporation Berhad launched its first sustainability statement within their Annual Report 2017, the scope of which covers the IJM’s Group business operations in Malaysia and IJM Plantations’ operations in Indonesia. The sustainability statement describes IJM’s key non-financial metrics, evaluates their existing CSR initiatives and provides a roadmap for strengthening their sustainability management, activities, processes and reporting in the future.

Download IJM’s Annual Report 2017 here.

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PPB Group Berhad launches its first sustainability statement

PPB Group Berhad launches its first sustainability statement within their Annual Report 2016. As the first output of PPB’s sustainability journey, their statement provides insight to their performance on key non-financial metrics, highlights important areas where their sustainability management and processes can improve and provides a solid basis for future reporting.

Download PPB’s Annual Report here.

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Launch of the High Carbon Stock Approach Toolkit V 2.0

On 3rd May, the High Carbon Stock Approach launched Toolkit V 2.0 in Bali. The methodology is a critical step in ensuring that companies have the support and practical tools to identify and prevent deforestation. The Helikonia team worked hard to support the development and launch of the toolkit in partnership with experts from all over the world.

To see the full details, please visit www.highcarbonstock.org

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Hap Seng Plantations launches 2015-2016 Sustainability Report

Sabah-based Hap Seng Plantations has launched its second sustainability report. Based on the Global Reporting Initiative Standards, the report covers environment, human rights, community engagement and good agricultural practices. Alongside this report, Hap Seng has introduced its Sustainability Agriculture Policy, outlining the company’s ambition and commitments as a responsible palm oil producer.

Download the report here and the Sustainability Agriculture Policy here.

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One way forward for No Deforestation commitments

by Rikke Netterstrom

In response to a decade of debate around the role of the agriculture sector in protecting forests, many companies operating in, or sourcing from, tropical forest landscapes have adopted policies to eliminate deforestation from their operations and supply chains.  Several tools that define what areas can be converted to plantations or industrial agriculture have been developed, including GHG emissions assessments, and High Conservation Values (HCV). However, many stakeholders believe that these tools are valuable, but that they do not fully address deforestation, and that there is a need for an approach that provides clearer guidance on which natural forest is to be protected and on how to implement a ‘no deforestation’ policy commitment while simultaneously respecting human rights and ensuring the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) of indigenous peoples and local communities.

The High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) was developed to meet this need, using a combination of remote sensing analysis and field plots to identify areas that have vegetation classes with the structure, composition and density to maintain and restore themselves as natural forest ecosystems, as well as functioning as natural carbon stores and maintaining high levels of biodiversity. The HCSA also applies FPIC procedures and conservation planning tools to the identified HCS forest areas and combines with HCV, peatland and riparian areas to micro-delineate areas for conservation, restoration, community land, and/or areas potentially available for plantation development.

Since first being conceived in 2011 in a partnership between Golden Agri-Resources, Greenpeace and TFT, dozens of companies in the palm oil, pulp and paper and rubber sectors have applied or committed to using this approach. Members of the governing body of the HCSA, the HCS Approach Steering Group, now include corporate giants such as APP, Wilmar, Unilever, BASF and P&G, alongside global NGOs such as WWF, Rainforest Action Network and the Union of Concerned Scientists. This group provides oversight and governance of the HCS Approach to ensure its scientifically-grounded development and application in the field.

However, in 2015, the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto, a group consisting of major palm oil growers undertook to develop an alternative approach, which was supported by leading scientists, and which focused on addressing socio-economic concerns related to forest-set-asides, and on determining a carbon neutral approach towards development.

For many observers and stakeholders, the existence of two separate methodologies cause confusion, and have likely also provided slow movers with an excuse to avoid a No Deforestation commitment, using the classic excused of ‘disagreement among scientists’ to defer commitments.

So when the two approaches announced last week that they had, in fact, reached a convergence agreement, it may well have been a historic day for forest protection. Following a year of intensive work, the two groups agreed on a single, coherent set of principles for implementation of companies’ commitments to “no deforestation”.

The timing of this announcement is also critical. In 2018, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil will be updating its certification standard, the RSPO Principles and Criteria, and the review process will begin in 2017. With most leading palm oil companies now committed to the new unified HCS Approach, there is an opportunity to seek inclusion of HCS into the RSPO standard, making it mandatory for new oil palm developments. And if this can be achieved, the path may well become easier for the introduction of the HCSA into other commodity certification schemes, such as the Forest Stewardship Council or the Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative.

The road ahead is still fraught with challenges and complexities, particularly on issues such as highly forested landscapes with big development needs, as well as ensuring that HCS does not lead to smallholder exclusion. However, a big first step has been taken in truly creating joint action to prevent deforestation.

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