How we work with New Britain Palm Oil on Palm Oil
TFT’s relationship with NBPOL started in April 2012 while conducting a Responsible Sourcing Guideline assessment for Nestlé. TFT reviewed NBPOL’s performance against these criteria on the ground at their West New Britain and New Island plantations and mills, in PNG.
From there we began to work together on developing a Forest Policy that would ensure ecologically viable forest areas are protected, while also respecting customary rights and community needs. This built upon a solid foundation of environmental, social and continual improvement management systems. NBPOL became a TFT Member in 2013 and in line with their Forest Policy; all new plantations are subject to conducting a High Carbon Stock (HCS) assessment.
In early 2014, TFT and NPBPOL carried out their first HCS measurements and community engagement to discover significant forest cover in the target site. Following the existing HCS methodology (as developed in more fragmented landscapes of Indonesia), the site would not have enough non-forested area to make development viable. This was particularly challenging given the development needs and aspirations of the local community at the site. We are still working through possible avenues to adapt the HCS procedure for this context, and to better understand the social and environmental impacts of proceeding or not with development here on this site and as a precedent elsewhere in PNG.
The second area of interest for HCS assessment included 35 community lands blocks which poses new challenges and lessons regarding how to adapt the HCS procedure for smaller sized and community owned blocks, as opposed to larger size company owned concessions.
In November 2014 we also visited NBPOL estates in Solomon Islands, called Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Ltd (GPPOL) to assess the operations against Florin AG’s policy, as well as NBPOL’s own policy. The findings again demonstrated NBPOL’s well developed environmental and social management systems, while also highlighting areas of focus for their continual improvement systems, including future HCS assessments.
NBPOL and TFT have also compiled a database of plantations, mills, refineries and ports and are able to share this upon request to buyer traceability requests. NBPOL’s supply is from company managed plantations; either state lease or community leased; or from approved smallholders. They are fully integrated from plantation, to mill to refinery. 100% of the plantations are RSPO certified and subject to the Forest Policy requirements.
Future work is focused on supporting High Carbon Stock assessments and refining the HCS methodology to be more suited the Papua New Guinea context, including relatively high forest cover landscapes and land ownership structures. We are also exploring options for our buying members to support smallholder projects on the ground.