Innovating to prevent deforestation and address community needs across a developing country.
TFT member New Britain Palm Oil Limited (NBPOL) has developed an innovative new Forest Policy setting out its commitments to responsible growth across its operations.
A large-scale producer of responsible palm oil in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, NBPOL has reaffirmed its commitment to No Deforestation. As part of its Forest Policy, it will protect High Conservation Value (HCV) forests and High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests – essential for biodiversity and reducing greenhouse gases. The policy will be implemented through a values-based that brings together environmental and social elements, considering the needs of communities in the application of HCS.
Although Papua New Guinea is among the world’s top growers and producers of palm oil, it trails behind giants Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand in the United Nations Human Development Index (2013) and in all Millennium Development Goals. NBPOL has looked at what can be achieved to improve this through investment in rural areas, recognizing that communities should have access to the following at a minimum; 20 litres of tap-fed potable water, a medical health post and a primary school should be within one hour’s walk. NBPOL’s new Forest Policy seeks to balance these needs – protecting critical forest habitats while ensuring continued community development.
NBPOL has over 78,000 hectares of planted oil palm plantations, a further 10,000 hectares under preparation for oil palm. The company has twelve oil mills and two refineries, one in Papua New Guinea and the other in England. TFT director Bastien Sachet says: “We congratulate NBPOL for developing such an innovative and forward thinking commitment. It reinforces the company’s position as a sustainability leader in the palm oil industry, and will demonstrate that forest conservation need not come at a cost to community development.”
NBPOL’s approach builds upon the HCS methodology published in 2012 by Golden-Agri Resources and developed with TFT support. TFT will now work closely with NBPOL to implement its Forest Policy and refine the HCS methodology to the Papua New Guinea context.
NBPOL became a TFT member in February 2013. Its work with TFT is in addition to its membership of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), whose Principles and Criteria NBPOL applies across all its plantations.
Bastien Sachet continues: “NBPOL took the HCS idea and thought deeply about how it could be best implemented in its plantation area. This policy is a great development and highlights the real value of sharing ideas and free thinking to innovate through an open source process. Today we celebrate the process that led to this new Forest Policy as much as the Policy itself. NBPOL’s new Forest Policy sets out a new approach that other companies, in diverse contexts throughout the world, in any industry, could apply to protect forests while enhancing community livelihoods.”