When it comes to sustainable palm oil, we want our work to benefit everyone in the areas we source from - including smallholder farmers and civil society; forests and wildlife; and governments, businesses and communities.
That’s why we’re supporting landscape programmes within Southeast Asia – in the provinces of Aceh, North Sumatra, Riau and Central Kalimantan in Indonesia, and in Sabah, Malaysia.
In a landscape approach, all stakeholders are united behind a shared vision of sustainable development, where the needs of the environment and communities are balanced. This collaborative mandate recognises that no single organisation, company or group of people alone can achieve what’s possible when everyone works together.
Today, we publish a which offers fresh insights into our work in this area, detailing the progress we have made alongside our partners, as well as the learnings we’ve discovered along the way. By sharing our approach and impact to date, we hope to inspire others to join our journey.
The need for holistic solutions
We’re involved with these landscapes because they form part of our supply chain, have existing government commitments to sustainability, and offer clear opportunities for us to protect the forests and ecosystems, and support the surrounding communities.
By working alongside those who know the land best – local communities, governments and NGOs – towards common goals, we can help reimagine the role that palm oil can play in their landscapes.
As Willem Uijen, our Chief Procurement Officer, says: “We’re investing in landscape programmes because it’s clear that the challenges related to climate, nature and social equity are deeply interconnected and require holistic solutions. Working with our partners, we are helping to empower smallholder farmers, protect and restore forests, support governments in creating the sustainable development they seek, and progress our own sustainability goals.”
See for yourself
Through our Reimagining Landscapes Google Earth Story, you can take a virtual trip into the heart of these programmes to meet the communities and organisations working there, and to experience for yourself the important ecosystems we’re helping to restore.
Here’s a quick snapshot of two of the programmes featured in the report.
Protecting the Leuser Ecosystem with IDH and FKL
Indonesia’s Aceh province is a biodiversity hotspot. It contains part of the largest intact tropical rainforest in Sumatra – the 2.6-million-hectare Leuser Ecosystem – which is the last place on earth where endangered wildlife, including the Sumatran tiger, rhinoceroses and elephants, can be found in the same area. With our partners IDH and the Leuser Conservation Forum (FKL), we’re helping to .
We’re equipping the programme with Radar Alerts for Detecting Deforestation (RADD) satellite technology to help monitor – and verify – deforestation faster. Working through a multistakeholder forum, we’re helping to develop a response protocol for when deforestation alerts are received. And we’re working with farmers to restore the Leuser Ecosystem through agroforestry and nature regeneration schemes.
We’re also helping farmers obtain official documentation so they can apply for RSPO certification. This means they can increase the income they generate from their existing farmland, because certified sustainable crops command a higher price in the market. This in turn reduces pressure on the land as the farmers have less need to expand into the forest.
Supporting Sabah’s wildlife alongside WWF
Photo credit WWF-Malaysia
The Malaysian state of Sabah is rich in forests and wildlife, and is also one of the country’s largest producers of palm oil by volume, some of which enters our supply chain.
We support the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) programme, which forms part of a wider, government-led effort. We support forest restoration in Tawau, Kinabatangan and Lower Sugut, two of three orangutan and elephant habitats and riverside areas covered by the programme.
Through our work with WWF and other funders, we also support ‘No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation' (NDPE) training and help prepare smallholders and outgrowers – unorganised smallholder farmers with domestic and international buyers – for RSPO and MSPO (Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil) certification.
Working towards our Protect and Regenerate Nature goals
We’re committed to building a deforestation-free supply chain in palm oil, paper and board, tea, soy and cocoa by the end of 2023, to protecting and regenerating 1.5 million hectares of land, forests and oceans by 2030, and to sustainably sourcing 100% of our key agricultural crops, including palm oil.
But we know we can’t achieve these alone. Only by collaborating with others can we accelerate and scale the work required to overcome systemic environmental and social challenges. For this reason, landscape programmes are key to our approach to making sustainable living commonplace.