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Forest Conservation

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Introduction

Contents

We are one of the major players in the Palm Oil industry, with a significantly planted land of oil palm trees, and understand that we have an important role to play in promoting sustainable forest management in our industry and helping to protect our natural environment.

As oil palm growers, we understand the inter-dependency between the health of the natural environment and the sustained success of the agro-forestry sector. We are strongly committed to environmental sustainability:

  • We will minimise and mitigate our impact on the natural environment where we operate. 
  • We will also seek to enhance the state of the natural environment where possible, and identify areas where we can make a difference.


Our Principles

  • Adherence to the Best Practices Guidelines laid down by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). 
  • No usage of fire during new development or replanting; rather, to adopt mechanical methods. 
  • No development on Primary Forest or areas that are identified with High Conservation Values or High Carbon Stock (HCS) .
  • No development of HCS forests as defined by the HCS Approach. 
  • No development of Peatland , regardless of depth. 
  • No planting on steep terrain and/or marginal and fragile soils.
  • No establishment of new plantings in places where it can be demonstrated that there are legal or customary or user rights, without having obtained 'Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)'.
  • Continually explore ways to enhance the state of the natural environment in which we operate, by monitoring and continuously reviewing our activities.

No Development of High Conservation Value Forests


We are committed to protect and enhance HCV forests. HCV was originally developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), to standardise the varying notions of a natural forest that should be conserved. FSC identified six generic traits that a forest may contain, covering environmental and social aspects. For example, areas that contain endemic or endangered species, or areas that are fundamental to meet the basic needs of local communities, are set aside as conservation areas or social enclaves. Please refer to the 
HCV Resource Network for more information on the HCV concept.

As part of any land development plan, the Group’s Sustainability Department will first conduct an internal HCV assessment to map potential HCV sites or primary forests. We do not develop primary forests or any areas that contain one or more HCVs. 

Once HCV areas within the concessions are mapped out, we engage external HCV consultants to verify these HCV areas and identify other areas that may have been overlooked. In accordance with the RSPO guidelines, we only engage HCV Assessor Licensing Scheme (ALS) accredited assessors. 

The agreed plot of land will only be developed after consultation with stakeholders such as local communities, local government agencies and non-governmental organisations. 

When the internal and external parties have agreed on the HCV areas, our Sustainability team will develop a management and monitoring plan to safeguard these areas.
 
The HCV management plan for the Group’s existing plantations was developed in 2008 and peer-reviewed by two external consultants. The monitoring plan and methodology were peer-reviewed by two experts from ETH Zurich in 2010, and one from Princeton University in 2012.

In spite of the availability of literature on the HCV concept, the RSPO is also working on an identification and management framework better suited to the oil palm context. The RSPO Executive Board has since commissioned a Biodiversity and HCV Working Group to improve the framework for growers. Musim Mas is a member of this working group. 

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No development of High Carbon Stock Forests


Forests play a vital role in mitigating climate change by acting as carbon pools. As part of our commitment to the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG), we are committed to conducting HCS assessments prior to any new development of land, according to the guidelines laid down by the HCS Approach Methodology.

The HCS Approach Toolkit Version 2.0: Putting No Deforestation into Practice, was launched by the HCS Approach Steering Committee on 3 May 2017.

This revised version incorporates the latest scientific research, feedback from on-the-ground trials as well as new topics and inputs from working groups of the HCS Approach Steering Group. The new toolkit also presents refinements, additions and important changes to the methodology, as a result of the ‘Convergence Agreement’ between HCS Approach and HCS+ Study in November 2016.

We will take this standardised HCS methodology into account, prior to the undertaking of new developments. 

No Development of Peatland, regardless of Depth


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Peatlands are wetland areas with peat soils rich in carbon. Peat is defined as an acidic organic soil with more than 65% of organic matter, more than 50cm in depth, and covering an area of at least one hectare.

Loss of peatlands means that vital carbon sinks for the planet will be lost too. Additionally, some peat soils in their natural state are less suitable for oil palm cultivation as they do not provide adequate anchorage, leading to slanting palms. 

As stated in our Musim Mas Sustainability Policy, we do not have new planting on peatlands, regardless of depth. We will apply Best Management Practices on existing peat in our plantations.