Events and insight for sustainability

How business can tackle deforestation

28th September
29th September

Timeslots are provisional and exact timings may change


Welcome and opening remarks

Brendan May, chairman, Robertsbridge

Tobias Webb, founder, Innovation Forum 


Keynote: International cooperation – ASEAN agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution

Indonesia formally ratified the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze in 2014, the last country to do so. And then in May 2015, Indonesia’s moratorium on palm oil concessions was renewed.

What are governments doing to work together to counter deforestation? And how much do these recent developments reflect a willingness on Indonesia’s part to engage and cooperate with other regional governments to tackle the haze problem, and its roots in slash and burn deforestation? 


Prof Simon Tay, chairman, Singapore Institute of International Affairs



Indonesia palm oil pledge – the road to deforestation-free palm oil. Will it really make a difference?

In September 2014, at the UN climate summit in New York, Wilmar, Golden Agri-Resources, Cargill and Asian Agri – four of Indonesia’s largest palm oil producers – alongside the Indonesia Chamber of Commerce (Kadin), signed a landmark commitment to further efforts to eliminate deforestation and peatland destruction in Indonesia. The companies reaffirmed their commitments to eliminate deforestation in their supply chains.

In this session we will debate what the pledge means in practice. We’ll ask our expert panel to explain whether it really is a game-changing agreement.

Bruce Blakeman, vice president corporate affairs, Asia-pacific, Cargill

Agus Purnomo, managing director for sustainability and strategic stakeholder engagement, Golden Agri-Resources

Nurdiana Darus, executive director, Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge

Bustar Maitar, head of global network of Indonesia forest campaign, Greenpeace

Commentary by: Ambassador Stig Traavik, Norwegian ambassador to ASEAN, Royal Norwegian Embassy

Moderator: Jeremy Goon, chief sustainability officer, Wilmar International


Networking break


Impact of sustainability strategy on markets, market access and how/whether investors value sustainability activities

There is a growing concern amongst investors to minimise their risks of financing potentially socially and environmentally damaging projects. Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, for example, has expectations for its portfolio companies to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in their operations and supply chains.

In this session we will ask our panellists their views on:

  • the role of regulation in terms of disclosure on deforestation impact.
  • how to stimulate greater investor engagement in Asian companies, especially consumer goods companies that have not committed to deforestation-free supply chains – thus far most of the engagement has been focused on international brands.
  • the extent that investors understand the real impact on access to markets on their portfolio companies – or is there still a view that India, China and Indonesia continue to be a dumping ground for unsustainable commodities and deforestation.

Adam Grant, manager, investments and operations - environmental, social and governance, New Forests Asia

Nils Hermann Ranum, head of policy and campaign department, Rainforest Foundation Norway

Iain Henderson, REDD+ and sustainable land use, UNEP Finance Initiative


Commentary by: Jeanne Stampe, Asia finance and commodities specialist, WWF International




Case study: Deforestation's causes and rates of destruction – separating fact from fiction

There is much ambiguity about the rates of deforestation and especially the direct and ultimate causes. Different industries have been blamed over the years for causing most deforestation, but rarely has data been available to substantiate these claims. On the basis of long-term studies on Borneo this session will present new insights into these issues to support the debate about causes of and possible solutions to loss and degradation of tropical forests.


Erik Meijaard coordinates the Borneo Futures initiative, a science-based programme that aims to inform policymakers and the public about the possible future for Borneo and the short- and long-term social, economic and environmental impacts and consequences of different choices and actions.

Michelle Desilets, executive director of Orangutan Land Trust, an NGO which works to enable sustainable solutions for the long-term survival of the orangutan in the wild. Will tell us about a new initiative connecting some of the biggest players in the palm oil industry with NGOs and experts focused on the protection of orangutan habitat in an oil-palm landscape. We’ll hear about how such preventative collaboration initiatives are just good business sense and the other benefits they offer around water sustainability and other areas.


Erik Meijaard, coordinator, Borneo Futures Initiative

Michelle Desilets, executive director, Orangutan Land Trust



Breakout one: smallholder farmers and rural development – a multi-stakeholder approach. Partnerships to develop alternative zero-deforestation livelihoods

Growing population and price instability in international markets are putting pressure on global food security. Climate change and land-use conversion to bio-fuels are leading to less availability of arable land and water for food crops. This means that the world will need to produce more food using fewer environmental resources.

The two billion people who live and work on small farms in developing countries have an enormous potential to increase food production. At the same time they can improve their lives and contribute to greater food security for all.

But how to help them develop? Innovative multistakeholder collaboration is crucial.

In this breakout session we will what different stakeholders are they doing to safeguard sustainable land use and increase productivity while creating equitable opportunities for smallholder farmers and improving rural livelihoods.

Kavita Prakash-Mani, executive director, Grow Asia

Ruslan Krisno, Agrigroup sustainability director, Great Giant Pineapple   

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

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


Breakout two: reconciling forest protection with development needs

The current level of development of industrialised societies has been achieved to a considerable extent by deforestation. But continued deforestation and ruthless exploitation is no longer an option. Instead governments, companies and civil society must encourage long-term forest conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

In this session Dharsono Hartono CEO of PT Rimba Makmur Utama, an Indonesian based company developing a 110,000 hectare peat-land forest REDD+ project in central Kalimantan and Christopher Samuel from Monsanto, will talk about the social and economic benefits of forest protection and restoration. 

Dharsono Hartono, CEO, Rimba Makmur Utama

Christopher Samuel, director - corporate affairs, Monsanto


Breakout three: high carbon stock approach – toolkit

In recent years several companies – many of them multinationals with supply chains that span the globe – have announced their commitments to remove deforestation from their operation and supply chain. However, the lack of a consensus in the definitions of forest and deforestation make it challenging to monitor and verify progress towards meeting deforestation-free commitments.

The HCS Approach Toolkit: No Deforestation in Practice was launched in April 2015. The toolkit provides guidance for producers on how to identify high carbon stock forests and integrate them with other land use planning approaches such as high conservation value areas, the protection of peat-lands, and respect for the rights of indigenous and traditional communities to their lands.

In this session we will discuss how the toolkit offers a practical way to achieve no deforestation together with recognition of community land rights. We will ask the value to suppliers from reporting on deforestation and how they can make a significant impact on the ground in assessing forested areas.

Dr Marcus Colchester, senior policy advisor, Forest Peoples Programme

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

Calen May-Tobin, lead analyst and policy advocate, tropical forest and climate initiative, Union of Concerned Scientists


Networking break


Can certification schemes ever deliver sustainable forestry? If they can, why hasn’t it happened? If they can’t, what other tools do we need?

Certification has been a useful tool for companies and brands that are beginning to tackle their deforestation impacts. But as we move to the next stage of tackling how to preserve and protect our forests – in ways that make sense for all stakeholders, including business – we need to ask if they would ever be able to deliver or if they have become a major part of the problem.  

In a quick fire debate-based session, we will discuss what certification has achieved and what may be the next step forward.

Scott Poynton, executive director, TFT

Simon Lord, executive vice president group sustainability and quality management, Sime Darby

Alistair Monument, Asia Pacific regional director, Forest Stewardship Council

Investor commentary by: Nina Roth, environmental and social risk manager, UBS


Closing remarks


Networking drinks


Brand attitudes to sustainable sourcing: What does it take to convince them to buy again from companies they have de-listed?

One of many drivers for producers and suppliers of pulp, paper, palm oil and many other commodities to embed sustainability into operations has been brand purchasing pressure.

In this keynote Q&A session we’ll ask Biswaranjan Sen, vice president procurement at Unilever, to discuss how his company, which buys 2% of global palm oil, considers bringing back companies into the supply chain that were previously excluded for sustainability reasons.

Biswaranjan Sen, vice president procurement, Unilever


Networking break


Is there a role for business in supporting institutional capacity building?

Government enforcement, and particularly the capacity to enforce and the systems to support laws, is a key issue for sustainable forestry. Yet in so many countries there is a lack of capacity, sometimes coupled with national, regional or local political will. As more and more governments start to see the value of their natural forests, is there a role for business in helping them deliver against capacity challenges?

We’ll ask some leading players for their views on whether business can ever go beyond just “good lobbying”.

Ambassador Stig Traavik, Norwegian ambassador to ASEAN, Royal Norwegian Embassy

Simon Lord, executive vice president group sustainability and quality management, Sime Darby

Aida Greenbury, managing director, sustainability, Asia Pulp & Paper

Constant van Aerschot, executive director, Business Council for Sustainable Development Singapore




Breakout groups – case studies:

Breakout one: implementing social commitments – towards a road map for strengthening social license in the pulp, paper and palm sectors

In Indonesia, some 44% of palm oil is produced by smallholder farmers. And with the bulldozers switched off by many large companies in the region now much deforestation comes from smallholders. Recent reports of egregious working conditions including forced and child labour and trafficking of migrant workers have also raised concerns amongst key stakeholders.


A major factor is land ownership and operations and the frameworks and laws surrounding that. Companies are in many cases becoming key players in these conflicts, which can take place on or around their concession land. For both palm oil and pulp and paper companies, what’s a responsible way to approach these issues? In particular, what kind of resources and time frames do companies need to apply to resolve such matters and make sure the requirements of free prior and informed consent and fair labour practices are adhered to? 

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

Fitri Arianti Sukardi, Indonesia coordinator, Rainforest Action Network      

Anne-Sophie Gindroz, facilitator for South East Asia, Rights and Resources Initiative   


Breakout two: buyer perspective – engaging emerging market suppliers

Engaging with emerging market suppliers has long since been one of the key challenges in building a sustainable, deforestation-free supply chain. In this session we’ll discuss how companies can engage with their suppliers through a combination of education and incentivisation, to ensure policy is being implemented on the ground.

We will ask how the big buying companies are developing the right incentives for their smallholder suppliers so that they don’t simply clear more land to grow more crops.

Adrian Suharto, sustainability and public affairs manager, Neste Oil

Yueyue Wang, global chocolate sustainable sourcing insight manager, Mars


Breakout three: supplier perspective – understanding on the ground challenges

Corporate policies and NGO pressure is all very well. But it is the suppliers who have to implement and manage a policy of eliminating deforestation. Here we’ll ask key experts in supply chain engagement to discuss opportunities and challenges in working with suppliers to improve sustainability performance on the ground.

Simon Siburat, general manager group sustainability, Wilmar International

Anita Neville, Australia and Oceania representative, Rainforest Alliance



Networking break


Land rights, land use policies, use of mapping and monitoring

Most sustainability standards and zero deforestation pledges include commitments to respect the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities to their lands, aligning them with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Participatory mapping allows companies to understand current systems of land use, avoid land conflicts and helps communities plan a future where they benefit from investment without forfeiting local food security and cultural integrity.

Many companies that acquired lands in the past without community consent, now face entrenched land conflicts. Community mapping and renegotiated land use plans can chart the path to reconciliation. This helps companies avoid long term litigation and loss of income. In Malaysian Borneo the courts are clogged with hundreds of land disputes. In Indonesia, the National Land Bureau estimates there are some 4,000 land conflicts in the palm oil sector alone.

In this session, Dr Marcus Colchester will outline the key the challenges the Forest Peoples Programme has encountered, and some of the best solutions to them.

Dr Marcus Colchester, senior policy adviser, Forest Peoples Programme



Integrated landscape management and restoration commitments – what will they mean for business policy and practices?

As more and more companies and brands move towards no deforestation commitments, practical and scalable methods of achieving this are being developed through cooperation between business and NGOs.

Now, high conservation value and high carbon stock approaches are being combined with the principles of free, prior and informed consent, and other social rights, in the concept of integrated landscape management. 

In this moderated session, we will ask experts for their insight and analysis of what an integrated landscape management policy means business, and how this is a tool in developing properly sustainable security of supply across value chains. 

Dharsono Hartono, CEO, Rimba Makmur Utama

Tony Wenas, president director, PT. Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper - APRIL Group

Agus Purnomo, managing director for sustainability and strategic stakeholder engagement, Golden Agri-Resources

Moderator: Jeremy Goon, chief sustainability officer, Wilmar International


Closing remarks

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