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RSPO High Forest Cover countries consultancy report

The RSPO is currently reviewing its production standard (Principles & Criteria; P&C) with the aim of finalising a new P&C by November 2018. A critical issue for RSPO and its stakeholders in the P&C review is the issue of deforestation, and the P&C Review Task Force has agreed to include new requirements for “No deforestation” in the new standard to ensure that RSPO contributes effectively to halting deforestation and transitioning to a deforestation-free palm oil sector.

One major challenge in the effort to stop deforestation is how to achieve this in highly forested countries/landscapes. This has been a contentious topic for decades due to the tension between the global need to conserve the world’s remaining forests and local economic and rural development needs in what are some of the world’s poorest countries or areas.

The critical question is really a practical one: how can deforestation most effectively and most equitably be stopped in these contexts?

In order for the P&C Review Task Force to better understand the issues surrounding high forest cover countries, RSPO commissioned a consultancy project to provide technical input on the topic. The consultancy provided a range of options to the P&C Task Force ‘No Deforestation Interim Group’ on potential definitions of High Forest Cover Countries and options for approaches to tackle deforestation in these countries. The consultancy was conducted by Proforest. This report (RSPO No deforestation consultancy: high forest cover countries) presents the results of the consultancy. 
The RSPO P&C No Deforestation Interim Group reviewed the various options explored in the consultancy and developed the text on “No deforestation” presented in Criterion 7.13 of the draft P&C. This text was agreed by Task Force members during the 5th Task Force meeting in May 2018 and is now out for public consultation until 2 August.

Based on feedback received during this public consultation, the P&C Review Task Force will finalise the text under Criterion 7.13 for inclusion in the new P&C.

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