Forest Conversion News No. 29 - March 2011 | WWF

Forest Conversion News No. 29 - March 2011

Posted on 28 March 2011    
Forest Conversion News focuses on the expansion of palm oil and soy.



GAR commits to new forest conservation policy

On February 9, the Indonesian palm oil producer Golden Agri-Resources Limited (GAR) and its subsidiaries, including PT SMART Tbk (SMART), announced that they will collaborate with other parties to stop deforestation associated with the expansion of their palm oil businesses.

GAR also announced a new Forest Conservation Policy that will affect its palm oil operations. The policy stipulates that the company will not develop plantations on High Carbon Stock Forests, High Conservation Value areas and peat lands. The policy binds the company to comply with all relevant laws as well as the New Plantings Procedure of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which requires all members to conduct an HCV assessment prior to clearing land.

To operationalize this commitment, the firm has signed an agreement with The Forest Trust (TFT), a Geneva-based non profit organisation, to identify High Carbon Stock Forests, High Conservation Value (HCV) areas and peat lands. TFT’s involvement will also prevent the plantations from contributing to the destruction of forests that are particularly valuable in terms of environmental preservation, biodiversity, landscape, or to local livelihoods. However, the agreement does not set out how much land GAR may use for new palm planting.

“WWF welcomes this move,” stated Nazir Foead, WWF-Indonesia’s Director of Corporate Engagement, “which goes even beyond compliance with RSPO standards on greenhouse gas reduction. GAR’s commitment not to convert high carbon stock areas, including peatlands, alongside its commitment not to convert high conservation value areas, sets a powerful precedent for the oil palm industry. We challenge other oil palm growers to follow suit in order to break the Indonesian palm oil sector’s association with deforestation and climate change.”

Last year GAR and SMART were the subject of a campaign by Greenpeace, which led several major palm oil buyers to cancel contracts with SMART.

“As with any commitment, the true test will be in its implementation,” stated Cherie Tan, WWF International’s Lead on Palm Oil. “While this move is encouraging, we look forward to seeing credible third party evidence that GAR is complying with these commitments and demonstrating a time bound plan towards RSPO certification. The only way to be sure that a company is acting responsibly is for them to produce or trade only certified sustainable palm oil.”

GAR is the world’s second-largest palm oil producer and the largest in Indonesia with annual revenues of US$2.3 billion.

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Hugo Byrnes, Product Integrity Director, Ahold

Why is Ahold committing to responsible soy? What commitment do you have in place?

We have identified soy as one of 6 critical commodities, which we feel need extra attention because of severe sustainability issues. These issues can be related to the environment, social circumstances, biodiversity or other. Often it is a combination of several issues.

For all 6 commodities we believe that it is important to have a corporate policy and to ensure that this policy is embedded in our sourcing strategy. Our commitment is to ensure that for all our own brand products, RTRS certified soy is used by 2015.

What are the challenges in sourcing responsible soy?

The biggest challenge is that we do not source soy directly, or even as an ingredient of products that we buy, with a few exceptions. The bulk of the soy that is imported into Europe is used as cattle feed, so it goes to cattle feed producers who then sell the cattle feed to farmers. At best the suppliers of our products buy their ingredients directly from the farmers. It is a long supply chain, which is difficult to monitor.

Can you describe your involvement with the Initiative for Sustainable Soy (what is the Initiative, why was it set up, what are the results until now, what are the plans for the future)? How about the European Soy Customer Group?

Exactly because we do not source soy directly we had to bring partners in our supply chain together and connect them with the feed industry. The Dutch Stichting Initiatief Duurzame Soja (IDS) did exactly that, so we were happy to join.

The aim is to promote the use of (more) responsible soy in cattle feed. Up until now there was no RTRS certified soy available, so we used available criteria to source as responsibly as possible. We now will change that to RTRS-certified soy as much as possible, as the end goal should be that all soy used in cattle feed in the Netherlands should be RTRS certified.

As only a limited amount of the soy imported into Europe is actually used in the Netherlands, we will have to ‘think bigger’ to make a difference with RTRS soy. Setting up a European Soy Customer Group seems like a good idea to promote the usage of RTRS soy in Europe. It will show the soy farmers and soy traders, that we are serious about this and that there is a demand in Europe.

How does sourcing responsible soy affect your supply chain? Will you be sourcing segregated soy?

Again, we are not sourcing this soy ourselves. Instead, we have to ask this from our supply chains. Our ideal is, that by 2015 all cattle feed in Europe, or as many countries as possible, will use segregated soy. Only in those cases where this is not possible we should revert to other options like certificate trading.

Are you satisfied with the existing traceability systems for responsible soy?

We will have to see how it works out. We will never be able to monitor every animal to see on which kind of soy it has been fed and then which products are produced from it. For us, it is important to know that RTRS soy indeed is used by the cattle feed producers.

Are you collaborating with other retailers in this sourcing effort?

We are urging all retailers to join us in asking from the cattle feed producers to use RTRS soy. But this isn’t only a retailers’ effort. This should be done by all players in the supply chain.

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NGO consortium launches palm oil labelling campaign

As the European Parliament begins a review of a new directive on the ‘provision of food information to consumers’, a consortium of NGOs is pushing the public to ensure that the directive includes the labelling of palm oil on food packaging in Europe. The campaign wants to make it compulsory for companies to label palm oil clearly on food packaging.

The coalition, including the Sumatran Orangutan Society, Orangutan Foundation, Elephant Family, Save the Rhino, The Jane Goodall Institute UK and Ape Alliance, urges people to write to MEPs on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Parliamentary Committee and ask for palm oil to be labelled clearly.

MEP Nessa Childers, who tabled this amendment, said: “European consumers should be reasonably entitled to make a judgment as to what type of vegetable oil they consume based on a number of criteria, including the impact on the environment and habitats from which the oil has been sourced.”

If the amendment is passed, companies will have up to three years to comply with the new legislation.

US food giants take steps toward sustainable palm oil

In the space of a couple of months, two US food giants—McDonald’s and the Kellogg company, have made sustainability commitments that will increase their use of sustainable palm oil in the near future.

McDonald’s launched the Sustainable Land Management Commitment (SLMC), a new initiative that requires the company to source all agricultural raw materials for food and packaging from sustainably managed land. The fast food giant has also committed to source only palm oil certified by the RSPO by 2015.

McDonald’s efforts are focusing on palm oil, beef, poultry, coffee and packaging, which are focus areas identified after an analysis conducted in collaboration with WWF’s Market Transformation Initiative. McDonald's has 32,000 locations that serve approximately 64 million customers in 117 countries each day.

Meanwhile, Kellogg Company, a Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) member, has announced that it will purchase GreenPalm certificates covering 100% of its global palm oil use.

Kellogg intends to purchase segregated palm oil when it is “financially and logistically” available, while encouraging its suppliers to blend in CSPO to increase the percentage of sustainable palm oil in the supplies they purchase.

The company will also support the Consumer Goods Forum pledge to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020 (see FCN 28). With 2007 sales of nearly $12 billion, Kellogg Company is the world's leading producer of cereal and a leading producer of convenience foods.

One step ahead in the supply chain, IOI-Loders Croklaan—one of the world's leading fully integrated palm oil producers—has already received their first bulk vessel shipment of RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil for the US market. The oil will be offered to the market as certified, mass balance oil with first deliveries of certified oil to customers beginning in April.

Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels launches Global Sustainability Certification System

The Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) announced the launch of the RSB Certification System at the World Biofuels Markets 2011 in Rotterdam, on March 22. The RSB certification system provides the assurances that biofuel operators need to guarantee the sustainability and traceability of their feedstocks and fuels.

The stakeholder engagement process followed by the RSB, which followed ISEAL Alliance code of conduct for standard-setting process, involved more than 100 organizations from over 40 countries in the development of its principles and criteria, and the associated certification system.

The new RSB system can put operators on a path towards compliance and certification for EU market access and other regulated markets. Biofuel operators that receive RSB certification will be able to assure their customers that their product is responsibly produced, “know their biomass/biofuel” by being able to trace the origin of the product along the entire supply chain through various chain-of-custody models, and receive market recognition as leaders in biofuel sustainable production.

In a joint statement, WWF, IUCN, UNEP and Conservation International pledged support for the RSB. “Protecting diverse ecosystems and carbon stocks, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions compared to the fossil reference, and addressing social issues and supporting rural development are all key elements of a sustainable biofuels industry,” said the statement. “We are pleased that the RSB certification system will recognize biofuels produced in such a way.”

The RSB is a multi-stakeholder initiative hosted by the Energy Center of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

Dutch market makes strides towards responsible soy

On March 10, the Initiative Sustainable Soy (IDS), a platform that unites major Dutch soy users such as Nevedi (The Dutch Feed Industry Association), Ahold, Storteboom, VION, Gebr. Van Beek Group and FrieslandCampina, held a meeting to share its plans to work towards 100% Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) certified soy by 2015 and inspire more operators to start buying responsible soy.

The goal of the IDS is to support the uptake of RTRS-certified soy in The Netherlands. IDS activities closely relate to the activities of the Dutch Task Force for Sustainable Soy, a platform of soy producers and users aimed at promoting the use of RTRS Certified Soy in The Netherlands.

Since its inception in 2006, the Task Force has supported the RTRS, and has committed to ensure that at the end of 2015 the amount of sustainable soy that is needed to satisfy the Dutch market should be produced in accordance with the RTRS principles and criteria. 

Note: In response to a recent appeal by some organisation to reject RTRS-certified soy, the IDS recently released a statement saying that "the RTRS is the only voluntary multi-stakeholder initiative resulting in a single standard for sustainable soy. The Task Force calls on all parties to [...] join all stakeholders in  thinking constructively about how we can produce and trade soy in an ecologically and socially responsible  manner across the world."

ISPO certification begins trials in Indonesia

Starting in March, Indonesia will begin trialling the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification plan in 20 oil palm plantations across the country, as part of the government’s plan to require oil palm plantations to apply for ISPO certification beginning by 2012.

ISPO certification, which is planned to become a mandatory requirement for palm oil businesses in Indonesia, will require firms to comply with domestic legal requirements. The certification will be based on various criteria, such as plantation licenses and plantation management, cultivation techniques, environmental management, surveillance and social engagement with employees and the community.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has welcomed the emergence of ISPO, which it considers as a complementary standard that further reinforce RSPO’s global vision and commitment.

ADM to invest in sustainable palm production in Brazil

Archer Daniel Midland (ADM) has unveiled plans to invest in sustainable palm oil production. The sustainable palm and biodiesel production will be part of the Brazilian government's Social Fuel Stamp program, under which ADM will contract 600 family farms for 6000 hectares of palm production.

It will provide them with technical assistance on sustainable agriculture practices. ADM is Brazil's largest domestic soybean meal producer, its second largest soybean crusher, and second largest bottled oil producer.

In addition to being a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), ADM has also signed up to the Soy Moratorium.

Al Gore and WWF unite to promote business solutions for forest conservation in the Heart of Borneo

Former US Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore delivered a keynote address sharing his vision for the role of forests in a sustainable future at a gala dinner in Jakarta in early January.

The event marked the simultaneous launch of the United Nation’s International Year of the Forest and of the Heart of Borneo Green Business Network (HoB-GBN). This GBN aims to engage businesses in delivering the Heart of Borneo Declaration made by the governments of Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia in 2007, to conserve and sustainably manage the 22 million hectare of trans-boundary forests called Heart of Borneo.

Mr Gore outlined the huge advantage for Indonesia to become the regional leader in the pursuit of a green economy in partnership with business. “This may not be the easy choice today, but history will show that it is the right choice, morally, economically and environmentally,” he said.

Co-hosted by the Republic of Indonesia, WWF-Indonesia and Global Initiatives (GI), the dinner was part of the 2011 Business for Environment (B4E) Forest Dialogue - the forerunner to the B4E Global Summit, the world’s leading international conference for business-driven action for the environment which is scheduled for 27 - 29 April, 2011, in Jakarta.

WWF-UK launches “Save the Cerrado” campaign

WWF has launched a new campaign to educate consumers about the impacts of soy production, especially the changes caused by the expansion of the crop in Brazil’s Cerrado, biologically the richest savannah in the world.

The campaign presents the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) as one solution to help contribute to improved soy production practices and asks consumers to reach out to UK retailers with the request that they commit to buying RTRS certified soy. A short video brings a personal perspective to the story of soy in the Cerrado. Learn more at:

GreenPalm: new membership rules come into force

New membership rules at GreenPalm include a revision to the GreenPalm yield calculation, which has changed from 93% to 94% to bring it into line with the recently established yield calculation for RSPO certified palm oil, the formal introduction of palm kernel oil into the GreenPalm programme, and new rules that simplify the claims process for retailers.

RSPO position statement: Non-primary forests can include High Conservation Values

The RSPO Executive Board has reaffirmed the organization’s position that areas containing secondary and degraded forests and non-forest vegetation can be important for environmental conservation and community well-being and that these forests must be considered as part of any High ConservationValue assessment and in any subsequent certification process. back to table of contents



The Effect of Changes in UK Food Consumption on Land Requirements and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The study by Audsley et al. looks at the effect of changes in UK food consumption on land requirements and greenhouse gas emissions both in the UK and overseas.

The report shows that the UK agricultural land base can support increased consumption of plant-based products arising from the reduced consumption of livestock products. This would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but would also reduce land requirements.

This in turn would bring potential environmental benefits and significant opportunities to deliver other products ranging from biofuels production to rewilding, carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services, from UK agricultural land.

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Apes in Space: Saving an Imperilled Orang-utan Population in Sumatra

A recent study conducted by Fauna & Flora International (FFI), in partnership with the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), investigates whether and how orang-utans are able to survive in human-altered landscapes where oil palm and other agriculture has replaced primary habitat, but where remnants of old growth forest also still occur.

The article, published in PLoS One, reveals that orang-utans actually can live, and even reproduce, in an agroforestry system that has been isolated from primary rainforest.

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UNEP report: Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication

According to this new report by UNEP, investing just 2% of global GDP into ten key sectors can kick-start a transition towards a low carbon, resource efficient green economy.

This sum, around $1.3 trillion a year and backed by progressive national and international policies, would grow the global economy at around the same rate if not higher than those forecast, under current economic models.

The report sees a Green Economy as not only relevant to more developed economies but as a key catalyst for growth and poverty eradication in developing ones too.

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New Report on Soy Imports into the Netherlands

The first ever analysis of the Dutch soy industry has been published by LEI for the Dutch Sustainable Soy Task Force.

The report reveals that Dutch companies use 1.8 million tonnes of soya products and 0.13 million tonnes of soya oil. The 1.8 million tonnes of soya products are used for animal feed, while the 0.13 million tons of soya oil are used for food products and technical applications.

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CSR, Oil Palm and the RSPO: Translating Boardroom Philosophy into Conservation Action on the Ground

In this opinion piece by Paoli et al., the authors acknowledge that RSPO has made substantial inroads to improve the environmental and social performance of Southeast Asia’s largest and fastest growing plantation industry, yet they consider that serious challenges remain for RSPO to mainstream environmentally sustainable and socially responsible practices throughout the supply chain.

The article highlights areas where change is required not only among growers but also the broader RSPO membership to build on recent achievements and accelerate progress.

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REDD+ and Agriculture: Proposed Solutions from the Private Sector

This document summarises the proposals that emerged from regional meetings held in Brazil, Ghana, Malaysia and Indonesia in 2010, bringing together representatives from the private sector, NGOs and governments, for increasing agricultural production without further deforestation, by increasing yields, rehabilitating degraded land and reducing waste along the supply chain.

The report shows that in many cases this should generate positive economic returns for the private sector without requiring significant public subsidies, even if some public intervention may be required to reduce upfront risks, to stimulate the flow of credit and to create the right enabling conditions.

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The Soy Moratorium in the Amazon Biome Monitored by Remote Sensing Images

The study by Bernardo Friedrich et al., published in the journal Remote Sensing, aims to identify soybean planting in deforested areas in the Brazilian Amazon Biome.

In the 2009/2010 crop year, 6,300 ha of soybean (0.25% of the total deforestation) were identified in areas deforested during the moratorium period. The use of remote sensing satellite images reduced by almost 80% the need for aerial survey to identify soybean planting and allowed monitoring of all deforested areas greater than 25 ha.

According to the authors, it is still premature to attribute the recent low deforestation rates in the Amazon biome to the Soy Moratorium, but the initiative has certainly exerted an inhibitory effect on the soybean frontier expansion in this biome.

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WWF Heart of Borneo Green Business Report

The Green Business Network (GBN) Report aims to provide tools and support to businesses willing to work towards a sustainable future for the Heart of Borneo. The document provides resources to businesses on issues such as the definition of sustainable land use, carbon financing, and certification.

This report and the related strategy for the GBN are the product of extensive interviews and surveys involving over 80 companies currently operating in and around the Heart of Borneo.

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Impact of Oil Palm Plantations on Peatland Conversion in Sarawak 2005-2010

The report by Wetlands International and Sarvision provides sequenced maps and statistics on the area of peatlands converted for oil palm plantations in Sarawak from 2005-2010.

According to the report, an increasing part of Malaysia’s palm oil is produced at the expense of large areas of tropical peatswamp forests. The authors argue that in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, expansion of oil palm plantations may lead to the complete loss of these vast, unique forests by the end of this decade.

According to the data, in just 5 years time, almost 10% of all Sarawak’s forests and 33% of the peatswamp forests have been cleared. Of this, 65% was for conversion for palm oil production. The study concludes that 20% of all Malaysian palm oil is produced on drained peatlands.

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The Energy report

Two years in preparation, WWF’s The Energy Report is a provocative vision of a world run entirely on renewable energy by 2050.

The Energy Report, produced through a collaboration between WWF and Ecofys, breaks new ground in the energy debate: a possible system in which ALL of the world’s energy supply is provided by renewable and sustainable sources by mid-century.

The Energy Report draws together strategies and technology options that have already been trialled or implemented - to create a feasible global scenario.

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RSPO: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the ‘New Option’ for Selling Palm Products under a Mass Balance Claim

On 12 November 2010, a new option to rules governing the sales of Mass Balance sustainable palm products went into force.

Companies can now purchase segregated sustainable palm products and use them to offset sales of similar volumes of other palm products with a Mass Balance claim. This document provides some answers to frequently asked questions on the new option.

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WWF Livewell Food Campaign

A new campaign from WWF-UK posits that by just adapting our diets slightly – eating less meat and fewer processed foods, replacing them with more fruit, vegetables and grains – we’ll be making a positive difference for ourselves and the planet.

WWF and the Rowett Institute of Nutrition & Health (University of Aberdeen) have been researching people’s diets and are promoting the benefits of a healthy diet for a healthier planet.

The Livewell 2020 diet is based on nutritional guidelines from the UK government for eating healthily – and it will also help meet the 2020 targets for greenhouse gas reductions, as laid out the in UK Climate Change Act.

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The World Bank Group, palm oil, and poverty

WRI, March 22, 2011

The World Bank Group should aim to achieve and measure poverty reduction, not palm oil investments, argues this article.


Precedent-setting land deal in palm oil expansion zone in Borneo

Forest Peoples Programme, March 21, 2011

An oil palm plantation being developed in West Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, has relinquished community lands to which it had gained a government permit. The company, PT Agro Wiratama, a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and subsidiary of the giant Musim Mas group, agreed to relinquish more than 1,000 ha of its 9,000 ha concession back to the community, following interventions by community representatives and NGOs. Under the RSPO’s standards, companies are required to respect the customary rights of local communities and indigenous peoples and must not take over their lands without their ‘free, prior and informed consent’.


Dancing with devils, March 18, 2011

According to this article by Scott Poynton of TFT, industry-wide transformation is the key to the palm oil dilemma, and key to that is pressure from supply chain partners who are themselves seeking change. But campaigns alone can't get companies over the bridge to a better place; someone needs to help the company over—to dance with the so-called "devils" and help them transform their business practices.


AAK introduces RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil into entire bakery fats range, March 17, 2011

AAK UK has announced that starting mid-March 2011, its full range of bakery fats and other products will contain Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)-certified palm oil. It has committed itself to supplying sustainable stearin by 2012/2013. However, in the meantime, the company is still relying on Greenpalm and Mass Balance options.


New Britain Palm Oil plans sustainable bakery ingredients and foodservice packing operation, March 11, 2011

Palm oil producer New Britain Palm Oil has announced plans to invest around GBP 9 million in a new processing facility at its Liverpool palm oil refinery. The new facility will be the world’s first operation of its type dedicated to manufacturing bakery and foodservice products made with palm oil that only comes from certified sustainable sources.


Neste opens world’s largest biodiesel plant in Singapore, March 8, 2011

Neste Oil has officially opened the world’s largest biodiesel plant, which is expected to produce up to 800,000 tonnes each year in Singapore. The plant, which will use palm oil as feedstock from Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as waste animal fat from Australia and New Zealand, has been certified by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification and hence meets the criteria of EU’s Renewable Energy Directive.


Ghana creates history for Africa

RSPO, March 7, 2011

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has announced that a National Interpretation (NI) of the RSPO Principles and Criteria for sustainable palm oil has been approved in Ghana, the first country in Africa to receive this endorsement.

The NI paves the way for RSPO certification of oil palm growers in the country, setting out clear indicators for the development of sustainable palm oil appropriate to the local context.


Palm oil smallholders can more than double output

The News, March 4, 2011

Independent smallholders can more than double production if given access to better farming techniques according to Conservation International. Such techniques would allow them to increase yields from around 2 tonnes per ha to the corporate yields of around 4 tonnes. The key is to provide technical assistance regarding best practices on water, pesticides, fertilizer and land use.


Woolworths investigates Australia’s sustainable palm oil

Australian Food News, March 3, 2011

Woolworths has put out a request for information to all suppliers and importers of palm oil in Australia, in an attempt to assess the availability of sustainable palm oil. The supermarket chain aims to use only palm oil certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in its private label products by 2015, a target set in March last year. The supermarket became the first Australian retail member of the RSPO in September.


Sale of certified soy not a threat to palm oil

The Star, March 2, 2011

The initial sale of certified soy by the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) to Europe will not pose a threat to certified palm oil by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).


MPOB encourages participation of industry members in certification scheme, February 25, 2011

The Malaysian Palm Oil Board is encouraging industry members to participate in the Codes of Practice (COPs) certification scheme, which is currently done on a voluntary basis. In ensuring high quality oil palm planting materials and adherence to good nursery practices, the MPOB is in the process of mandating the implementation of the Codes of Good Nursery Practice for Oil Palm Nurseries for next year.


Sime Darby announce plans for carbon-neutral CSPO, February 22, 2011

In February Sime Darby also announced its intention to produce "100 per cent carbon neutral sustainable certified palm oil". Recommitting to the certification of all its plantations to the RSPO P&Cs by the end of 2011 the company went on to admit that an understanding of "what zero carbon palm oil might look like" was unlikely to emerge before 2020, adding that Sime Darby would need to address a myriad of issues before then, such as how to measure and certify palm oil-related emissions and whether the company could implement offsetting practices to deliver carbon neutrality.


No choice but to better manage altered forests

The Star, February 8, 2011

With more modified than virgin forests cloaking its lands, Sabah is left with no choice but to better manage the altered habitats so that they still host biodiversity according to Dr Glen Reynolds, director of the Royal Society’s South East Asia Rainforest Research Programme (SEARRP).


Rainforest fears slow Indonesia's palm oil growth, February 7, 2011

Efforts to preserve Indonesia's rainforest are accelerating a decline in the expansion of palm oil plantations. Provincial authorities have already stopped issuing permits for planting on Indonesian land deemed forest by the government, and so protected from development. The pace of expansion in oil palm plantations has already slowed to an annual rate of 350,000 hectares, from 400,000 hectares in the decade to 2006. Indonesian industry group Gapki sees the pace of plantation growth slowing to 150,000 hectares.


Two-thirds of UK biofuel fails green standard, figures show

The Guardian, January 27, 2011

Less than one-third of the biofuel used on UK roads meets government environmental standards intended to protect water supplies, soil quality and carbon stocks. Biodiesel from soy was the single biggest source of biofuel (31%) in 2009/10, with a large increase in Argentinean soy compared to the previous year.


Sime Darby expands in Liberia

The Star, January 26, 2011

Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd, one of the largest plantation companies globally and a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), is expected to begin oil palm planting in Liberia this April. The company has a total annual production of 889,000 tonnes of certified sustainable palm oil from 20 of its strategic operating units that are RSPO-certified. That volume is expected to increase when the next batch of 20 strategic operating units have completed their RSPO certification, accounting for 6% of the global CPO output.


Greening the world with palm oil?, January 26, 2011

A broad stroke overview of the complexities of the palm oil industry, and its social and environmental impacts.


M&S boosts sustainable palm oil range, January 21, 2011

Marks & Spencer (M&S) claims to have launched the UK's largest range of food products containing sustainable palm oil. Although this still represents a small percentage of products overall, M&S purchases GreenPalm certificates to cover the remainder of its product line and has also committed to extending the use of certified sustainable oil to all its products by 2015. The M&S scheme is run in conjunction with the WWF.


Paul Polman: Biofuel subsidy regime has spectacularly backfired

Foodnavigator, January 19, 2011

Unilever boss Paul Polman unveiled a radical new manifesto to improve food security and launch an attack on “well-meaning but ill-conceived” policies on biofuels. He also restated a company commitment to purchase all palm oil from certified sustainable sources by 2015.


Dear Pizza Hut, Stop Slicing Up Our Rainforest. Love, Foodies, January 17, 2011

Greenpeace recently delivered a pizza and a message at Pizza Hut's headquarters in Dallas, Texas: Pizza Hut's use of unsustainable palm oil is killing Indonesia's rainforests and wildlife. The pizza box that was delivered included 7,000 signed petitions from people who want the pizza company to switch to sustainable palm oil.


No such thing as good time to start: HUL's Chief, January 13, 2011

An interview with Harish Manwani, President, Unilever Asia Africa, including the corporation’s commitments to sustainable palm oil. “There is absolutely no doubt that the approach we are taking is the only approach that businesses have to take going forward,” he says.


Businesses turn towards conservation to improve revenues, reputations, January 12, 2011

Unlikely businesses have emerged to lead the way on conservation, and the trend appears to be catching on, noted Al Gore at a business dialogue in Jakarta. Firms are partnering with non-governmental organizations, such as the World Wildlife Fund, which recently launched the Heart of Borneo Green Business Network, a sustainability information sharing platform aimed at businesses operating within the Heart of Borneo.


Commodities Buzz: Buyers Start To Switch To Certified Palm Oil; Sales Up In 2010

Capital Market, January 12, 2011

Sales of certified sustainable palm oil more than tripled in 2010, signalling growing consumer preference for environmentally friendly oil, data from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has shown.


Converting palm oil companies from forest destroyers into forest protectors, January 02, 2011

In this interview, World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Craig Hanson and Moray McLeish discuss how a WRI initiative to shift palm oil companies from virgin forests to degraded land could turn the palm oil sector from drivers of deforestation into forest protectors.


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Announcement: 9th annual Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RT9)
Week commencing November 21, 2011
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

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International Conference on Responsible Soy (RT6)
June 15-16, 2011
Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Sustainable Palm Oil: Challenges, a Common Vision and the Way Forward
May 5 – 6, 2011
London, UK

Organized with support from the Zoological Society of Longon’s Biodiversity & Agricultural Commodities Programme and Wilmar International, this symposium will seek to define a common vision for integrating environmental and socio-economic goals for more sustainable palm oil production and to identify and catalyse the stakeholder actions necessary to achieve this.

As a first step, key scientists, policy makers, NGOs and private sector representatives will review the science and practicalities of reconciling continued global oil palm expansion with biodiversity conservation and the maintenance of ecosystem functions.

The second step will be to explore the processes, decisions and conditions necessary to make this common vision a reality, highlighting the roles of investors, policymakers, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, palm oil producers, retailers and NGOs.

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Business For Environment (B4E)
April 27-30, 2011
Jakarta, Indonesia
B4E (Business for the Environment) the world’s leading international conference for dialogue and business-driven action for the environment, will be held in Jakarta from 27 – 30 April 2011, in partnership with WWF, Global Initiatives and the Government of Indonesia.

Entitled “Leading by nature: Delivering transformative solutions for our planet”, the Summit will explore a new approach to business leadership that aligns corporate goals with biodiversity and natural capital to provide innovative, sustainable solutions and services for a clean economy and low carbon future.

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MVO/IDH Seminar: Sustainable Sourcing Soy & Palm Oil
April 11, 2011
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Why is it important to choose sustainable sources, and how can sustainable palm oil and responsible soy be bought? Organized by MVO and Dutch Initiative Sustainable Trade (IDH), the seminar will be attended by recognized speakers who will present updated information on the latest advances of sustainable palm oil and responsible soy works. The seminar is targeted to MVO company representatives, animal feed companies, retailers, NGOs, and governments interested in sustainable soy and palm oil supply.

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First Training Course for Auditors
April 4-8, 2011
Lausanne, Switzerland

The Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels will offer a 4-day interim auditor training course from April 4 to April 8 at its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The objective of the training course is to provide auditors with sufficient knowledge of the RSB Sustainability Standard to conduct audits for companies seeking RSB certification. Upon successful completion of a competency exam following the training course, auditors will be qualified to conduct certification audits against the RSB standards.

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