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United coalition of industry and NGO actors release toolkit needed to distinguish and protect tropical rainforests

Bali – Today, a new and unified global methodology for protecting natural forests and identifying lands for responsible commodity production was released by a coalition of industry and Non-Governmental Organisations. The High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach Toolkit represents a breakthrough for companies, communities, institutions, and technical practitioners that have a shared commitment to protecting regenerating and secondary forests that provide essential carbon storage, habitat for biodiversity and livelihoods for local communities.

“Allowing deforestation for plantations is a thing of the past. Today, we have released an open-sourced toolkit that provides a practical, and scientifically robust technical guide to identify and protect tropical forests.”, said Grant Rosoman, the Co-Chair of the High Carbon Stock Steering Group.

“For two years, stakeholders have converged efforts to agree to one global approach for putting ‘No Deforestation’ in practice. The resulting methodology has expanded social requirements, a wider recognition and application of carbon stock data, incorporates new technology including the use of LiDAR, optimises conservation and production outcomes and includes adaptations for Smallholders .”

“This unlikely coalition has united in response to the growing concerns over the impacts of tropical deforestation on our climate, wildlife and the rights of forest dependent communities. We now welcome its broad adoption to support local community rights and livelihoods, conserve forest carbon and biodiversity as well as the responsible establishment of new plantations.” he added.

The first version of the HCS Approach Toolkit was released in April 2015.  The revised version released today has incorporated 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, a multi-stakeholder membership organisation that governs the HCS Approach. 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. With the completion of the HCS Approach Toolkit Version 2.0, the High Carbon Stock Steering Group will now focus on piloting and trialing its adapted methodology for Smallholders and farmers and strengthened social requirements that were developed as part of the HCS convergence process.

About High Carbon Stock Approach

The High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach is a methodology that distinguishes forest areas for protection from degraded lands with low carbon and biodiversity values that may be developed. The methodology was developed with the aim to ensure a practical, transparent, robust, and scientifically credible approach that is widely accepted to implement commitments to halt deforestation in the tropics, while ensuring the rights and livelihoods of local peoples’ are respected. The HCS Approach was initially developed by Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) in collaboration with Greenpeace and TFT in 2011-2012. As of November 2016, the HCS Approach includes a convergence with the HCS+ — meaning there is now only one global HCS methodology.

About HCS Approach Steering Group

The HCS Approach Steering Group is a multi-stakeholder organisation established in 2014 to govern the HCS Approach. The Steering Group (SG) was set up to oversee the further development of the methodology, including Refining its definition, its objectives and its relationship to other approaches to halting deforestation. The SG also guides implementation of the methodology, communicates/engages with stakeholders and develops/runs the governance model for the methodology. For more information visit

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