The drivers of deforestation are complex global forces that are beyond the power of any one industry or company to tackle alone. Collective endeavour by businesses, governments, communities and civil society is required to effect real and lasting change on the ground.
Wilmar has been active in partnerships and collaborations to achieve transformation at the landscape level.
An emerging model for addressing environmental and social constraints in multiple land-use scenarios is the jurisdictional approach. This is a government-led initiative to develop regulatory frameworks and build stakeholder partnerships to mitigate deforestation while promoting socio-economic development in a specific region.
Starting with Sabah, Central Kalimantan and South Sumatra, more state governments are seeing the potential for improved land-use planning and tenure clarification, smallholder inclusion and production practices, and recognising the need for supportive provincial regulations to enforce sustainable supply practices.
Using a jurisdictional approach is the only way to ensure that smallholders are not left out of certification, In Sabah alone, as an example – this would mean including 25,000 smallholders in 170,000 ha in sustainable production.
As Wilmar’s representatives are also co-chairs of RSPO’s Smallholder Working Group and Biodiversity and High Conservation Value HCV Working Group, we are leading the discussions on enabling smallholder certification and HCV compensation and remediation processes for the state.
Wilmar signed up as a partner to the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA) in 2015. This initiative was founded in 2012 at Rio+20 after the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) committed to zero net deforestation by 2020 for palm oil, soy, beef, and paper and pulp supply chains. The CGF partnered with the US government to create the public-private alliance with the mission of mobilising all actors to collaborate in reducing commodity-driven tropical deforestation.
In support of its partners’ commitments to reduce deforestation in tropical forest countries, TFA 2020 continues to grow its partner membership and bring on board key actors committed to tackling deforestation. Since June 2015, the TFA Secretariat has been hosted at the World Economic Forum offices in Geneva, with financial support from the governments of Norway and the United Kingdom.
Wilmar’s Chief Sustainability Office, Jeremy Goon, is a member of the TFA 2020 Steering Committee, together with the Heads of Sustainability of various consumer business companies, as well as government officials from forest countries. Wilmar is also an active participant in TFA working groups, such as the Finance working group, to catalyse financial sector involvement in deforestation-free commodity supply chains.
Wilmar has been an active participant in various RSPO working groups that strive to improve standards and practices and develop solutions to complex issues through a multi-stakeholder and participatory process. We currently have representations within the RSPO, which include the Board of Governors, the Smallholder Support Fund Panel, the Steering
Committee for the Sabah Jurisdictional Approach for Sustainable Palm Oil Production, the Fresh Fruit Bunch
(FFB) Legality & Traceability Taskforce, the Shared Responsibility Working Group, the Biodiversity and High Conservation Values (BHCV) Working Group, the Compensation Task Force (CTF) as well as the Human Rights Working Group, which includes the related Taskforce on Labour and the Taskforce on Decent Living Wage. Within these working groups, we will be pushing for improvements and better clarity in the implementation of key components of the RSPO Principles and Criteria and RSPO Supply Chain Certification Standard.
Established in February 2016, the FFA focuses on fire prevention through community engagement. Founding members include APRIL, Asian Agri, IDH, Musim Mas, PM. Haze and Wilmar. Sime Darby and IOI Group officially joined as members in March 2016, further extending the reach of the FFA’s community fire prevention and management programmes across Indonesia and Malaysia.
By March 2016, FFA has expanded fire prevention outreach to 218 villages in various parts of Indonesia. Of these, 77 villages signed up with FFA members for intensive fire-free programmes in 2016.
FFA members have reported reductions in fire incidences of between 50% and 90% from 2015 to 2016.
Since joining the FFA, Wilmar has completed a fire risk map for our concessions, which helps us to plan for the monitoring activities especially in high risk areas. We have also expanded our monitoring to areas outside our boundary up to 5 km. This is in part to ensure that any fires are quickly detected and extinguished before it reaches our plantations.
We have also socialised the ‘Fire-Free Community’ programme to 61 villages in South Sumatra and Central Kalimantan in 2016. 1.39 ha of planted area and 67.15 ha of unplanted area were burnt in 2016, representing an improvement of approximately 90% on previous years. Our 2017 goal is to halve the mean average incidence of fires from 2011-2015 in Indonesia plantations and reduce fires in the buffer areas 5km beyond plantation boundaries.
The ‘Decent Rural Living Initiative’ (DRLI) was initiated in March 2018 by Wilmar, Cargill, Golden-Agri Resources, Musim Mas and Sime Darby Plantations. The initiative seeks to improve the overall protection of labour and human rights in the agriculture sector by developing and delivering practical and realistic recommendation and plans that will further support and benefit rural workers and communities in developing countries.
Efforts by the DRLI include engaging and collaborating with external stakeholders from the public and Civil Society Organizations. The overall goal is to create and enable more conducive settings that will provide them with the long-term ability to thrive. The DRLI programme kicked off in Indonesia, with intensive multistakeholder consultations to identify areas of importance. The outcomes from this consultation have been published, and identified the following as focus areas for the palm sector and for DRLI including addressing concerns to:
The development and implementation of Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs)
Protection of rights of women and children
The improvement of health and safety aspects of work
In May 2020, based on their experience dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, the DRLI members published a Covid-19 case study on potential impacts of the pandemic. The case study also identified opportunities for long term improvements and recommendations for best practice in the sector post pandemic.