At the Multi Stakeholder Conference of the Amsterdam Group last week, policy-makers, international companies and civil society came together to address the link between the loss of natural forests and European consumption. The international conference focused on approaches for sustainable and deforestation-free supply chains, through discussing examples from palm oil, soy and cocoa initiatives. Several of IDH partners presented our joint work in these sectors.
A group of food companies in Spain has signed the Commitment to Support: 100% Sustainable Palm Oil in Europe by 2020.
Italy is the latest country to sign the Amsterdam Declaration that pledges countries to promote the use of 100% sustainable palm oil by 2020.
During the Bonn Challenge in South Sumatra on 9-10 May, the South Sumatran governor, Alex Noerdin, officially presented his provincial green growth plan to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.
At least 1.5 million hectares in various parts of Indonesia, are participating in community-based fire prevention initiatives, with commitment to extend in Malaysia.
The landscape in the Ketapang district of West Kalimantan is under pressure from concessions for palm oil, pulp and paper, mining, and logging. IDH, Aidenvironment and Bumitama Gunajaya Agro (BGA) oil palm plantation company cooperate on a project that combines wildlife protection with sustainable production
IDH is incorporating a large Fund to work with investors, companies and local authorities on deforestation-free jurisdictions, and responsibly produced commodities like palm oil, pulp & paper, beef, soy and cocoa.
Europe is the main importer of sustainable palm oil. A monitoring report by ESPO, EPOA and the RSPO shows that in 2015, 2 million mass balance and segregated RSPO certified sustainable palm oil was imported in Europe and an additional 1.5 million Book and Claim certificates were redeemed for the European market.
In 2016 IDH decided to move from focusing on segregated commodity supply chains to using a landscape approach to address sustainability at field level. We decided to do this because it became increasingly clear that many challenges such as legality, water management and forest conservation are common across commodities, especially in the forestry sector, and that working together would be the most effective way forward.
As part of a Dutch trade mission to Indonesia in November, IDH moderated a discussion on sustainable palm oil with among others Minister Lukita (Min. of Trade of Indonesia) and Minister Ploumen (Min. for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands) as well as Chinese trade delegates.
In Europe, there is a growing negative image of palm oil which is leading towards a movement to boycott palm oil instead of using sustainable palm oil.
Think of palm oil, and it’s likely that the forests and swamps of west Africa and Southeast Asia spring to mind. More specifically, at least if you are in Western Europe or the United States, it’s possible that you imagine decimated forests, drained swamps, homeless orangutans and out-of-control mega fires. As a European arriving in Asia for the first time four years ago, this certainly was the perception I had.
In early November, the IDH team visited the 14th annual round table on sustainable palm oil (RSPO RT). Although as a certification neutral organisation IDH is not an RSPO member, IDH is keen to support all actors working towards sustainable palm oil. Our focus this year was on the jurisdictional approach to certification, as IDH is supporting the efforts of South Sumatra to become one of the first RSPO certified jurisdictions in the world.
The Norwegian Initiative for Sustainable Palm Oil has signed the Commitment to Support: 100% Sustainable Palm Oil in Europe by 2020.
Moving towards sustainable palm oil in Europe creates an incentive to make the global palm oil supply more sustainable. NGOs like Greenpeace and Conservation International support the sourcing of credible, sustainable palm oil and the goal to achieve 100% sustainable palm oil in Europe.
The governor of West Kalimantan, Cornelis M.H., has set out his roadmap for sustainable development, and plans to use an integrated landscape approach to support his objectives for green growth.
Asian Agri, Setara Jambi and IDH launch a collaborative program on March 15 to support 10,000 palm oil smallholders in the border area between Jambi and South Sumatran Province in Indonesia.
A group of leading forestry and agriculture companies, NGOs and other partners today announced the formation of the Fire-Free Alliance (FFA), a voluntary, multi-stakeholder platform to aid in the solution to land and forest fires in Indonesia.
European private sector forces join to ensure a fully sustainable palm oil supply chain in Europe by 2020. The commitment to support 100% sustainable Palm Oil was presented to the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen. Four other EU countries also showed their support for the Amsterdam Palm Oil Declaration.
Today the South Sumatran Provincial governor Alex Noerdin and IDH director Joost Oorthuizen signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the IDH office in Utrecht. With the MoU in place, IDH and the South Sumatran government can jointly implement a green growth plan that will help stop fires, delink commodity production from deforestation by convening the power and influence of both businesses and government.
To improve agriculture, business practices and productivity, IDH, convened civil society, corporate and finance organizations in coalitions with the aim of creating new financing models to fund smallholder farmer perennial crops (Cocoa, Coffee, Tea).
Minister Ploumen (Ministry of International Trade and Development Cooperation) has expressed her support for the ambition of European Sustainable Palm Oil (ESPO), an initiative of The Netherlands Oils and Fats Industry (MVO), and IDH. ‘The Netherlands are ahead in their achievements: by the end of this year we hope to have switched to 100% sustainable palm oil. It is time that other European countries also progress in making their supply chains more sustainable’, said the Minister last February.
On the 8th of July in Monrovia, the Dutch Economic Mission to Liberia led by Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ploumen, alongside IDH, co-organized a round table on green economic growth and private sector development.