Sunday, January 12, 2014

"RSPO+9", new TFT / Climate Advisers-led policies for Wilmar

New  The Forest Trust or TFT / Climate Advisers-led policies for Wilmar include these nine (9) substantive policies, which adds on to existing RSPO commitments, hence we can call it "RSPO+9" for now:

(i) non-use of peat land of any depth;

(ii) likely 35 tonnes carbon per hectare ceiling for land development;
(iii) progressive GHG reductions;
(iv) restoration and enrichment of forest and peatlands (similar to RSPO HCV compensation?);
(v) no forced labour,
(vi) 60-hour work week with 1 day off inclusive of overtime,
(vii) 3.8 square meters / 32 square feet of individual living space,
(viii) trade unions and collective bargaining;
(ix) grievance procedure where advisers and stakeholders have a say in banning suppliers.

Khor Reports blog exclusive comment: The independent advisers to Wilmar are TFT of Switzerland and Climate Advisers of the USA. TFT-Greenpeace was instrumental in putting forth the high carbon stocks ceiling principle for Golden-Agri / Sinar Mas which ran into severe NGO campaigning. This resulted in various global buyers suspending palm oil purchases from the large Singapore-based Indonesian conglomerate. Wilmar did not run into such market problems, although it was obviously facing increasingly negative comments about its "problematic" third-party purchases and land deals in the international news and NGO websites. It is notable and interesting that Wilmar also chooses to be led by the strong principles of TFT-Greenpeace. Presumably, Wilmar (also Singapore-based but with operations globally; and large plantation area in Sarawak and Indonesia and a very big refinery market share in China) expects good outcomes from adopting the approach of Golden-Agri and doing much more to boot. Climate Advisers is a relative newcomer to setting market access policy for palm oil. Palm oil companies, mostly owned by Southeast Asian entrepreneurs, have been quite readily accepting NGO-led standards on a voluntary basis. Palm oil is one of the 15 global (mostly tropical) commodities targeted by the WWF, which focuses on the very largest companies to push for more rapid change. However, WWF's Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), now finds itself superseded by the new RSPO+9 effort led by TFT-Greenpeace principles.

Look out of Khor Reports' Palm Oil Newsletter #6, Jan/Feb 2014 for more! This is a sneak preview of our review of Wilmar's bold move. Many ask how they will implement this while NGOs say that this is "just the beginning..."

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