Throughout the course of the latest RSPO Principles & Criteria (P&C) review, no deforestation has been one of the key topics of discussion. As a direct reflection of stakeholder comments and conversations, new requirements to halt deforestation through the use of the High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) Toolkit (C7.12) have been incorporated in the new RSPO Principle & Criteria (2018), adopted at RSPO General Assembly 15 (GA 15), Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, 15 November 2018.
In alignment with RSPO’s Theory of Change, committing to balancing sustainable livelihoods and poverty reduction with the need to conserve, protect and enhance ecosystems – a major challenge has been focussed around how to halt deforestation in High Forest Cover (HFC) countries and landscapes. HFC countries require economic opportunities that enable communities to choose their own development path, while providing socio-economic benefits and safeguards. Through various communication and consultations with the HCSA Executive Committee during the P&C review process, there has been strong recognition for the need and desirability for RSPO to work in collaboration with the HCSA to ensure that requirements around No Deforestation are aligned and harmonised.
Hence, the RSPO Board of Governors (BoG) endorsed the establishment of a ‘No Deforestation Joint Steering Group’ (NDJSG) on 16 November 2018, a joint collaboration between RSPO and HCSA to oversee the development of procedures, methodologies and guidance for the implementation of Criterion 7.12 around High Forest Cover (HFC) countries and landscapes.
The NDJSG’s Vision:
To seek to halt deforestation and ensure the effective joint contribution of RSPO and HCSA to support the palm oil sector to transition to be free from deforestation and achieve positive impacts, balancing sustainable livelihoods and poverty reduction with the need to conserve, protect and enhance ecosystems, and respect land users’ rights.
The NDJSG’s Mission:
The central body for discussing and guiding development of the framework for implementation and decisions on no deforestation in High Forest Cover (HFC) Countries, and within those, in HFC Landscapes, in consultation with Indigenous Peoples, local communities and in-country Civil Society Organizations. NDJSG may also identify specific HFC landscapes in other countries, which is to be included within the scope of work of this group.
Quentin Mounier (Olam)
Laure d’Astorg (Alliance Forêts Bois)
Laure Gregoire (Alliance Forêts Bois)
Gemma Tillack (RAN)
Grant Rosoman (Greenpeace)