Sunday, August 30, 2015

Market access and voluntary standards news: Indonesia Coordinating Economic Minister worries voluntary corporate pledges jeapordise small farmer prospects; RSPO Next and RSPO NPP public consultations

Why care about new policies at voluntary standards? Voluntary standards have become de facto international trade policies that are increasingly affecting market access. The accession of palm oil's giant companies and its heavily concentrated processor-trader segment are driving market change. Is your company at the forefront of adoption and involved in this policy making? Are you a close follower? Will lagging take-up affect who you can sell to or buy from in the future? Buyers - do you need to switch or lock in suppliers? Growers - do you worry if you may face price discounting issues in the future? The "complexification" of sustainability is widely expected to prop up any premiums and market powers. Keep an eye on this!

30 August 2015: Indonesia Coordinating Economic Minister worries voluntary corporate pledges jeapordise small farmer prospects

Govt opposes zero-deforestation pledge by palm oil firms Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Sat, August 29 2015, 6:21 PM; In stark contrast to Indonesia’s commitment to reduce rampant deforestation, the government has surprisingly become a vocal opponent of a “zero deforestation” pledge signed by the four biggest palm oil companies in Indonesia.The Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister said on Friday that the pledge would jeopardize the country’s palm oil industry, currently the biggest in the world, as it puts restrictions on small farmers.“Oil palm plantations are the livelihoods of many of our people. The most effective driver of economic growth is through oil palm plantations,” the office's deputy for food and agriculture coordination Musdhalifah Machmud said on Friday......

19 August 2015: Public consultations on RSPO Next and RSPO New Planting Procedure

Editor's note: Thanks to reader TG for alerting on two new public consultations at the RSPO. There is the voluntary add-on addendum -  seen by experts as a necessary catch up with the "no peat, no deforestation, no exploitation" shift seen since December 2013 led by Wilmar and other plantation giants. It's also expected by key global buyers, who tell us that the (current) "RSPO is not good enough."  RSPO NPP is its de facto HCS policy. Look forward to reader feedback on these.

Announcement: Public Consultation on RSPO NEXT - by 6 October 2015
Public Consultation on RSPO NEXT, a voluntary add on program to the RSPO P&C Certification.
RSPO NEXT was developed by a Working Group of a cross section of Board of Governors members comprised of Growers, Processors & Traders, Retailers, Social and Environmental NGO’s.  The group developed guidance on the themes of No Deforestation, No Fire, No Planting on Peat, Reduction of GHGs, Respect for Human Rights and Transparency.


Also relevant: HCS+ Science Study proposes strong carbon threshold? Update 2b - On the peat / organic soil question

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Trade deals: Via TPP, Malaysia ready for environmental step up for US market access, but the US-oriented geopolitical deal stumbles ("as important as another US aircraft carrier").

Talks for Pacific Trade Deal Stumble By JONATHAN WEISMAN JULY 31, 2015; LAHAINA, Hawaii — Trade negotiators from the United States and 11 other Pacific nations failed to reach final agreement on Friday, with difficult talks on the largest regional trade agreement ever deadlocking over protections for drug companies and access to agriculture markets on both sides of the Pacific....Vietnam, Malaysia and New Zealand were willing to make significant concessions to gain access to United States markets.... ...Canada would not budge on opening its poultry and dairy markets. Chile... saw no reason to compromise, especially on its demand for a short window of protection for United States pharmaceutical giants. Australia’s delegation insisted that pharmaceutical market protections beyond five years would never get through Parliament... Mexico’s secretary of economy, was defiant on the hard line he took against the export of Japanese cars with any less than 65 percent of their parts from T.P.P. countries....The bright spot might have been the environmental negotiations... cover illegal wildlife trafficking, forestry management, overfishing and marine protection, and it could prove to be a landmark, setting a new floor for all future multilateral accords....Environmentally destructive subsidies, such as cheap fuel to power illegal fishing vessels and governmental assistance for boat making in overfished waters, are banned....Failure to comply ... potentially culminating in trade sanctions. United States negotiators hope that just the threat of economic sanctions will bolster relatively weak environmental ministries in countries like Peru, Malaysia and Vietnam....The impact of the Pacific accord’s environmental chapter could be broad, both for the nations in the deal and those outside. The 12 participating countries account for more than a quarter of the global seafood trade and about a quarter of the world’s timber and pulp production. Five of the countries rank among the world’s most biologically diverse countries.... Some, like Vietnam and Malaysia, have long been on the watch list for illegal wildlife trafficking...

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