Events and insight for sustainability

How business can tackle deforestation: Asia under the lens

27 September
28 September

Timeslots are provisional and exact timings may change

8.45

Opening keynote: State of play: Insight into Asia’s political economy

9.15

Corporate perspective: Delivering on commitments – are we there yet?

While many companies, including industry giants, have made bold commitments to zero deforestation in supply chains, just how are big brands actually getting on with implementation? Commitments are vague and do not necessarily make the translation into real actions an easy task. This plenary session will prompt leading companies to be both practical and self-critical in offering insight on the struggles they have faced, and progress they have made in implementing policy to deliver on their company commitments.

We will be asking questions around:

  • The key challenges encountered and how to overcome them
  • What does the process ahead look like?
  • How can the implementation progress be measured, monitored and verified?
  • Impact on the ground; what passes for substantial progress, or will whatever is done never be good enough for some NGOs?

With:

Dhaval Buch, chief procurement officer, Unilever

Jeremy Goon, chief sustainability officer, Wilmar

Lucita Jasmin, director, external affairs, APRIL Group

With commentary from: Marco Albani, director, Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, member of the Executive Committee at World Economic Forum

Moderated by: Tobias Webb, founder, Innovation Forum

10.15

Break

10.45

How can business address complex and entrenched land right issues?

Indonesia has complicated land rights, with conflicting land maps that lack agreement on boundaries, scales or standards, are posing serious challenges for plantation companies. Exploitation of the conflict between maps results in encroachment on forests and peatlands that are supposed to be off-limits, often allowing plantation and timber operations to take place on protected forests or village lands. Recent pressures on land for investments are fuelling speculation and the illegal and unethical transfer of lands. Given the informal nature of most commodity production and lack of effective governance of land in the region, this becomes a major issue for sustainable development.

In this plenary session we explore what strategies exist for business to improve land tenure governance in areas of operation. We will be asking leading company representatives about the initiatives they are taking, the challenges they are facing, how to overcome these and who needs to be involved.

With:

Adam Tomasek, acting deputy director: science, technology, innovation and partnerships, USAID

Richard Donovan, senior vice president & vice president of forestry, Rainforest Alliance

Dini Widiastuti, program director economic justice, Oxfam Indonesia

Moderated by: Brendan May, chairman and founder, Robertsbridge

11.45

High hopes in methodology: A workshop for taking HCS beyond the conceptual level

In theory, the High Carbon Stock Approach offers a simple, practical and cost-effective way forward for commodity producing companies to implement their commitments to reduce climate impact and deforestation footprints. Many leading companies such as Unilever, Wilmar and Cargill have all mentioned HCSA in their policies. And though aspirations are high, the approach has yet to deliver on long-term protection for forests, due to political and policy challenges that face companies.

In this workshop we will be going back to basics to discuss how to use the HCS Approach to determine HCS classified vegetation types and how to make the approach work.

We will address how to overcome challenges such as:

  • How to get governments to step up to take appropriate implementation roles;
  • How to better integrate HCS, FPIC and HCV;
  • Best practices for respecting community rights to give or withhold their consent (FPIC) to proposed developments and delivering incentives to communities for forest protection; and
  • How to make the approach work in different regions with different vegetation.

With:

Kiki Taufik, global head of Indonesia forest campaign, Greenpeace

Grant Rosoman, interim chair of HCSA steering group, High Carbon Stock Approach

Moderated by: Tobias Webb, founder, Innovation Forum

12.30

Lunch

1.30

Breakout one: Who should be responsible for verification? The future of auditing.

Commitments to deforestation free practices are ripe, yet there are many implementation issues and much room for improvement. Companies make claims about their implementation progress based on their interpretations, but there is a lack of verification of what companies claim to be doing on the ground. Almost no auditing is carried out independently and many third party audits have been found to carry out methodologically flawed fieldwork and produce substandard, biased reports that fail to identify and mitigate unsustainable social and environmental practices by oil palm companies.

In this working session we will look at case studies that report on audit integrity issues, to address how auditing must change, based on different scenarios, to deliver independent, third-party verification.

With:

Alistair Monument, Asia director, FSC Asia Pacific

Moderated by: Brendan May, chairman and founder, Robertsbridge

Breakout two: Changing expectation of Investors: What does this mean for business?

Earlier this year at our deforestation forum in Washington DC, we established that there has been a true shift in investor mentality – investors want information on sustainability. While disclosure at the corporate level is important, investors also want third party verification. After IOI Group’s stock price plummeted post RSPO suspension, investor interest in sustainability information on companies is bound to grow further. In this breakout we will hear from the Investor perspective how changing demands and expectations of investors will affect business, and how business should respond.

With:

Anita Neville, vice president of corporate communications, sustainability and external affairs, Golden Agri Resources

Ben Ridley, Asia-Pacific head, director of sustainability affairs, Credit Suisse

Moderated by: Tobias Webb, founder, Innovation Forum

Breakout three: Innovative technology: A new era of traceability?

Supply chain traceability is the new big thing on the agenda of many companies and is increasingly becoming a key component in the business operations of palm oil, pulp & paper and other commodities. Traceability is a challenging task, but multiple innovative traceability technologies promise to be an effective solution to overcoming the challenges business has faced so far.

In this informative session we will explore what these technologies might look like and how they will be able to improve traceability of business operations.

With:

Edouard De Rostolan, CSR manager - senior agronomist, Michelin

Adam Tomasek, acting deputy director: science, technology, innovation and partnerships, USAID

Moderated by: Stephen Donofrio, senior advisor, Supply Change (a Forest Trends Ecosystem Marketplace project)

2.30

Break

3.00

Can collaborative models lay the foundation for on-going Smallholder engagement?

Thousands of small farmers all fan the flames of the fires set by palm oil producers in an effort to survive and increase productivity. Smallholder engagement in ongoing deforestation free practice is difficult, as farming practices have been inherited from cultivations of forefathers, since time immemorial. To change behavior on the ground, sustainability must become a form of belief. While the private sector can assist farmers through education and training, this belief must be adapted by local governments and communicated locally to farmers.

This session will explore what business models can align interests of business, government and farmers, and how collaborative effort can deliver on deforestation-free practices. We will address questions like:

  • How do we take the deforestation work to scale with the huge number of smallholders?
  • How do we incentivize local governments?
  • How do we incentivize smallholders?
  • Who pays?

With:

Sarah Price, head of projects & development, PEFC

Nurdiana Darus, director, Southeast Asia (as of October), Rainforest Alliance

Cherie Tan, global director, sustainable sourcing renewables & smallholder development, Unilever

Øyvind Dahl, counsellor, forest and climate change, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta

Moderated by: Tobias Webb, founder, Innovation Forum

4.00

Growing concerns: Actions taken to address the issues around rubber

Southeast Asia produces around 90% of the world’s natural rubber, over 70% of which is consumed by the tire industry. And as global demand for tires soars, so does rapid land conversion to rubber plantations. Over 110,000 hectares of forests identified as key biodiversity and protected areas have been replaced between 2005 and 2010. Rubber monocultures eat into areas not conducive for rubber cultivation, creating a loss-loss scenario: high-biodiversity value land is cleared for unsustainable plantations that are poorly adapted to local conditions and alter landscape functions – ultimately compromising livelihoods, particularly when rubber prices fall.

In this session we will address rubber’s deforestation challenge and explore more sustainable rubber plantation practices that deliver for business, ensure protection of biodiversity and secure livelihoods.

With:

Edouard De Rostolan, CSR manager - senior agronomist, Michelin

Lekshmi Nair, head of economics and statistics, International Rubber Study Group

Moderated by: Brendan May, chairman and founder, Robertsbridge

Breakout two: How can business scale up smallholder engagement?

Delivering aggregate improvements over a large number of farmers is the holy grail of all sustainability initiatives. While some companies argue that pre-competitive collaboration is necessary to drive scalable change, others believe that it is up to jurisdiction.

This discussion will focus on scale and efficacy, and take a critical look at leading companies current sustainability efforts to understand how far they go and ask what more needs to be done:

  • Is pre-competitive collaboration realistic? Are we seeing any will for companies to meaningfully collaborate?
  • What progress are we seeing in sector and jurisdictional approaches in developing farming regions?
  • How are scalable initiatives going to be financed? Who is going to fund any of this?

With:

Fitrian Ardiansyah, Indonesia country director, IDH - The Sustainable Trade Initiative

Petra Meekers, director of CSR and sustainable development, Musim Mas

Breakout three: Last frontiers: Opportunities for business to intervene

The Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia holds 6.5 million acres of intact tropical lowland rainforest, mountains, peatlands, and is one of the last ancient, biodiverse ecosystems left in the world. Despite protection under Indonesian national law as a National Strategic Area for Environmental Protection Function, industrial development for plantations pose a threat to HCV areas, HCS forests and peatlands and the continued well-being of the millions of people who depend on it for their food, water, flood mitigation and livelihoods.

Following Rainforest Action Network’s report “The last place on Earth”, the region’s big three buyers of palm oil — Wilmar, Musim Mas and GAR and other IPOP members — have publicly stated the protection of the Leuser Ecosystem as a priority. Yet, actions have been limited.

This session will discuss how business can step up its efforts, through collaboration with suppliers, smallholders, governments and civil society, to preserve the largest extent of intact forest landscapes remaining in Sumatra. We will be discussing:

  • What collective efforts to effect real change on the ground look like;
  • How to scale up incentives to suppliers to make compliance with a higher standard of responsible palm oil production more appealing and achievable; and
  • How to support the creation of alternative economic development pathways that support the protection of the Leuser Ecosystem.

With:

Panut Hadisiswoyo, founder and director, Orangutan Information Centre

Gemma Tillack, agribusiness campaign director, Rainforest Action Network

Perpetua George, assistant general manager - group sustainability, Wilmar

Moderated by: Tobias Webb, founder, Innovation Forum

5.00

Closing discussion: Forward looking: The role of business in building capacity for enforcement

Indonesia’s decentralized government system means that the implementation of laws set in Jakarta is often flouted by local administrations across more than 17,000 islands. A lack of coordination and collaboration within government has resulted in a history of poor implementation of regulation. One argument is that business needs to step up to lay the foundations for a more effective jurisdictional framework.

In this closing discussion we will discuss what journey business will embark on to lay the foundation for tackling deforestation in Asia. We will be challenging our speakers to share what their long term plans and strategies look like, to shed some light on:

  • What role will business take in no-deforestation, no peat, no exploitation jurisdictions?
  • What will this process look like and what challenges do we expect?
  • Where do we want to get to by 2020?

With:

Dewi Bramono, vice managing director, sustainability & stakeholder engagement, Asia Pulp & Paper

Fitrian Ardiansyah, Indonesia country director, IDH - The Sustainable Trade Initiative

Moderated by: Tobias Webb, founder, Innovation Forum

5.45

Networking drinks

9.00

Traceability: Digging deep in supply chains

Full traceability is the holy grail for companies and while more and more companies are working to map supply chains down to mid-level, the next big challenge is to trace supply chains down to plantation level. Golden Agri-Resources, one of the top palm oil producers with almost 500,000 hectares of plantations in Indonesia, is taking an innovative lead, saying that by 2017 it will have achieved 100% traceability for GAR-owned mills and then, by 2020, there will be 100% traceability for the independent mills in its chain. It is clear: knowing all your suppliers – throughout the entirety of your supply chain – is vital to mitigate risks, but this is a difficult and lengthy process.

In this session we will be asking leading experts about their action plans for really digging deep, right down to the bottom of the supply chain. We will ask:

  • How business can steer away from the easy approach and go beyond Tier 1;
  • Which practices have proven effective so far; and
  • What the challenges are, and how to overcome these.

With:

Hendi Hidayat, traceability and supplier assurance lead, Golden Agri-Resources

Dr Shariman Alwani, head of strategy & innovation, Sime Darby Plantation

Moderated by: Tobias Webb, founder, Innovation Forum

10.00

Supplier engagement: How to know your suppliers and detect a bad apple in a bunch

Supplier engagement and relationship management is easier said than done. Knowing your suppliers is one thing, but engaging suppliers and managing relationships is another. Low risk supply chains are only possible where every actor in the supply chain engages, and commits to, deforestation-free and exploitation-free practices.

In this session we will discuss what effective engagement practices that work look like, and challenge our panel to respond with action plans to different types of scenarios:

  • Addressing risk in supply chains;
  • When all goes wrong with supplier and ties need to be cut; and
  • How suppliers can get back into supply chains further down the line.

With:

Stefano Savi, global outreach and engagement director, RSPO

Perpetua George, assistant general manager - group sustainability, Wilmar

Neil Judd, director, Proforest 

Moderated by: Brendan May, chairman and founder, Robertsbridge

11.00

Break

11.30

Peatland restoration: Who carries the burden of responsibility?

Peatlands are the world’s most critical carbon stores - and Indonesia holds the largest tropical peatland in the world. Vast amounts of CO2 are released during peat drainage, and peat fires – especially in Indonesia – are just a few of the detriments of peatland conversion to plantations. While companies are falling over themselves to make commitments to “restore” forests, attention is now turning to peat. But no consensus has been reached over who should assume responsibility to rehabilitate these essential landscapes. Leading initiatives, such as the Katingan Project based on the premise of saving peat swamp forest in Indonesian Borneo, promise to offer local people sustainable sources of income and tackle global climate change, while basing all of this on a solid business model.

In this session we’ll look seriously and in-depth at what can be done to restore peatland and who should be doing it. We will hear from leading companies and experts:

  • Where this has happened to date successfully, with some practical examples;
  • The success factors in making it work, and the lessons for business;
  • Unexpected challenges, and how companies can collaborate to overcome them;
  • The politics of it all – tips on persuading governments to support rather than interfere.

With:

Dharsono Hartono, CEO, Rimba Makmur Utama

Keizrul Abdullah, chair of Wetlands International Malaysia, Wetlands International

Moderated by: Tobias Webb, founder, Innovation Forum

12.30

Lunch

1.30

Breakout one: Building supply security and resilience with smallholder farmers: How can companies and the RSPO support these efforts?

The RSPO has stated its intentions to “support more smallholders to get RSPO certified in order to produce more oil using less land, raising level of income among poor farmers and reducing risk of land conversion which threatens forests and biodiversity”. And although smallholders who are certified to produce sustainable palm oil can benefit from improved access to market, one fundamental problem associated with certified products is that they do not sell at a significantly higher price than non-certified products.

So how can business make it worthwhile for farmers to stay on their own land to produce certified goods and stop clearing forests for additional land to raise incomes? In this session we will hear from leading corporations and the RSPO can how mutual support can assist business in overcoming the challenges of building smallholder security.

With:

Stefano Savi, global outreach and engagement director, RSPO

Cherie Tan, global director, sustainable sourcing renewables & smallholder development, Unilever

Moderated by: Brendan May, chairman and founder, Robertsbridge

Breakout two: Supply chain transformation: Who finances it?

Supply chain transformation is no quick fix and goes far beyond making incremental improvements; it’s long, hard work. To successfully transform supply chains, companies must take full ownership of their sustainability performance to behave and think differently from the top, down throughout supply chains, to the smallholder. Yet many buyers – some of which are direct competitors – share the same suppliers in their supply chains, leaving the crucial question: Who should pay to engage suppliers?

In this session, leading buyers will offer insight into their transformation strategies and how they overcome the common pitfalls that business face. We will hear from TFT how their approach of full company ownership of sustainability performance can aid business in this process.

Adrian Suharto, sustainability and public affairs manager, Neste Oil

Boris Saraber, director Asia North, TFT

Petra Meekers, director of CSR and sustainable development, Musim Mas

2.30

Closing discussion: Indonesia’s Moratorium: A short term pause or effective solution?

The recently announced two-year moratorium on primary natural forests and peatlands has been announced by Indonesia’s government as means to meet the President’s ambitious national targets to reduce GHG emissions by 26% or more by 2020.

Yet critics remain doubtful about the usefulness of the ban, as existing 12.5 million ha already under concession are exempted from it and secondary forest, some of which have high carbon content and ecosystem values, are excluded and not protected under this moratorium. And while the moratorium pushes increased productivity yields of existing plantations to meet national demand, will they be able to fulfil global demand? A history of bad implementation of regulation due to a lack of coordination and collaborative work within governments also raise doubts that the ban will operate smoothly amongst critics.

Pros and cons of the detail aside, one thing is certain: forests and the companies using forest-related products, will have a key role to play. In this discussion we will discuss what roles several supply chain actors must take to ensure maximum effectiveness and how collaboration can strengthen enforcement.

With:

Richard Donovan, senior vice president & vice president of forestry, Rainforest Alliance

Kiki Taufik, global head of Indonesia forest campaign, Greenpeace

Moderated by: Tobias Webb, founder, Innovation Forum

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