How will your organisation promote the RSPO internally and to other stakeholders?
GVL is committed to sustainable palm oil production. As we are a start up organization, we have been able to and shall continue to adopt RSPO principles from the very beginning of our work. All land development, from the first acre, will be conducted in compliance with RSPO.
Internally, our management team has prior experience in RSPO and as we expand, sustainable operations will be a key part of our internal training, standards, audit and performance evaluation. Corporate policies and programs are from day one compliant with RSPO Principles and Criteria. These policies and programs will form an integral part of our management system and the way we work day-to-day.
Externally, we are currently participating as a founding member of the Liberian National Initiative for Sustainable Oil Palm Development (LINSOP), together with other developers, the Government, and active NGOs, and are working towards the development of the Liberian National Interpretation of RSPO.
Further, as the Liberian Oil Palm Smallholder Programs accelerates, we will take responsibility for educating and helping the small farmers whom we are supporting to embrace RSPO. Additionally, we educate the general Liberian public through the media on our FPIC practices.
Where relevant, what processes is the organisation establishing to engage with interested parties, for example to resolve conflict or to use sustainably produced palm oil?
Our investment planning and land selection is conducted together with local communities, starting from series of community meetings, progressing to discussions and surveys and equal engagement with both the traditional (informal) and with the formal governance and social structures and membership, and in accordance to the FPIC approach. We are proud of the fact our land selection for development is today overwhelmingly guided by invitation from local communities and individuals who wish us to work with them. Local community members are given employment priority and training opportunities.
We will not only provide income and create employment for the rural people; we are also committed and have agreed to be contractually obliged to bring infrastructure, education and health care to the communities and thereby lift livelihood of the local community, creating the basis for stability and peace.
We are committed contributors to two important initiatives that will be built together with the communities (The Community Development Fund) as well as with all the constituents of the emerging Liberian sustainable oil palm industry (The Oil Palm Development Fund).
We are also engaging with Liberian Colleges and Universities, with our annual USD $100,000 scholarship fund for students in agriculture, rural health care and engineering and development of a postgraduate program in the area of sustainable oil palm development and protection of the environment.
Further, we will contribute to preventing or reducing deforestation and land degradation caused by rural poverty and food shortages, through provision of employment and income opportunities, productive food production practices and training and education.
Where relevant, how will your organisation work towards implementing the RSPO Principles and Criteria or assessing supplier performance against these criteria?
As we proceed, sustainable operations will be a key part of our internal training, standards, audit and performance evaluation. Corporate policies and programs are developed and aligned to RSPO Principles and Practices. These policies and programs will form an integral part of our management system and the way we work day to day.
GVL is committed to the environmental management through its environmental, land use and conservation policy with respect to biodiversity conservation, soil and water protection and socio-economic development.
GVLs development practices follow sustainable practices. These practices include such elements as:
• Conducting Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in any proposed area prior to engagement.
• Conducting bio-physical and socio-economic benchmark studies
• Development of agri-environmental and social indicators
• Survey and comprehensive plan, which include preventive land use, plan such as:
• No development of high conservation value areas, whether flora, fauna, or social
• Riparian and water shed protections
• Buffer zones and corridors for fauna to access water sources
• Zero-burning policy in land development;
• Development and conservation plan
• Research for generation of new technologies to ensure continuous improvement in sustainable oil palm development,
In future implementation of recycling of mill wastes (Empty Fruit Bunches) and Palm Oil Mill Effluent as fertilizer crops or mill fuel when mills are designed and built, appropriate Pesticide and fertilizer management and Integrated Pest Management will be institutionalized to minimize risk of pollution right from planting to harvesting.
The effectiveness of an environmental management plan is largely determined by a well-defined monitoring plan. The monitoring program we are implementing is designed to evaluate impacts resulting from the development and operation of GVL. Continuous monitoring of the environment will be an integral part of all phases of the project with a help of an internal monitoring team, engaged independent consultants and annual audits by the Liberian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
GVL will educate Liberian contractors and suppliers (such as machine operating entrepreneurs) on relevant RSPO principles and criteria, help build capability and monitor compliance.
In addition to the RSPO principles, GLV strictly operates in accordance with Environmental Protection and Management Law of Liberia and any other laws and regulations of the EPA of Liberia.
Any other information that would support the application such as what your organisation hopes to gain from joining RSPO and how it would support RSPO?
We are joining RSPO as we wish to be an active participant in developing RSPO, through joining its policy and technical work. We believe that this will certainly help us be recognized as a responsible and sustainable oil palm developer, but we also hope to increase our own skills by so doing.
We hope to be a leading RSPO member on the African continent, a new major oil palm development region, thereby inculcating the RSPO principles into the Africa based oil palm industry.
Locally, we are already participating as a founding member in LINSOP, and together with other developers, the Government, and active NGOs we are working towards the development of the Liberian national Interpretation of RSPO.
Further, as the Liberian Oil Palm Smallholder Programs accelerate, we will take responsibility for educating and helping the small farmers whom we are supporting to embrace RSPO and ultimately enter into an appropriate membership of RSPO.