Indonesia: Workshop Focuses on Deforestation-Free Palm Oil, Pulp and Paper

Jakarta Globe 27 Jun 13;

Some of the world’s top palm oil, pulp and paper companies, together with major buyers, kicked off a two-day meeting with governments and NGOs in Jakarta on Thursday to discuss the sustainable production of such commodities.

The workshop is being held by the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, a public-private partnership committed to eliminating deforestation from key commodity supply chains such as palm oil, paper, soy and beef, a TFA statement said.

Companies attending the meeting include Asia Pulp & Paper, APRIL, Golden Agri-Resources, as well as Unilever, Nestle, Kraft, Mondelez, J&J, Lion, Aeon and Kimberly-Clark.

Together with the governments represented, and with the United States and Indonesia playing hosts, representatives will discuss the sustainable production of palm oil, pulp and paper.

The goals of the workshop include: building a common understanding and awareness of current initiatives to eliminate tropical deforestation from the palm oil and pulp and paper sectors, highlighting existing policies and identifying economic and technical obstacles and seeking solutions that industry, governments and civil society can work on together.

The challenge is to respond to rapidly growing demand for commodities and promote sustainable economic growth that benefits people while preventing further deforestation and degradation of the world’s remaining tropical forests, the TFA statement said.

The Jakarta gathering, titled “Promoting Sustainability and Productivity in the Palm Oil and Pulp & Paper Sectors,” has come at a less than ideal time. Indonesia continues to battle forest fires in Sumatra that have triggered severe haze in neighboring countries, underscoring the threat of clear cutting forests and slash and burn practices..

The production of palm oil, paper, soy and beef accounts for the majority of global deforestation, which represents roughly 15 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The TFA was born out of discussions between the US Government and the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) and seeks to deliver solutions on deforestation that spur economic growth and food security. These goals are aligned with the development and climate change priorities of the Indonesian and US governments.

The CGF is a network of more than 400 companies whose combined revenues exceed $3 trillion a year — around 4 percent of global GDP.

In 2010, the CGF made a commitment to eliminate deforestation by 2020.

The Tropical Forest Alliance members include the Consumer Goods Forum and the Governments of the United States, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Every year about 13 million hectares of forest is cleared or lost globally to natural causes, with the majority of clearing occurring in tropical forest countries.