Agropalma announced January 9 the agreement for a strategic partnership in support of the British non-governmental organization Orangutan Land Trust (OLT), which works to enable sustainable solutions that ensure safe areas of forest for the continued survival of the orangutan in the wild. The company recently announced its participation in the Palm Oil Innovations Group (POIG), along with New Britain Palm Oil, Daabon, Greenpeace, WWF, Rainforest Action Network and Forest Peoples Programme. Orangutan Land Trust has also recently joined POIG.

According to Marcello Brito, Commercial and Sustainability Director of Agropalma, the initiative is related to the company’s new strategy. “This partnership with Orangutan Land Trust is part of Agropalma’s international actions in the environmental field. If we can sell our products in many countries, we can also contribute to environmental conservation outside of our region and in line with the diverse visions of our clients installed in different countries and cultures. This is the new context of international partnerships, whether economic or not. ”

Despite being located in Brazil, where  the orangutan is not native , the company commits to item 1.8 of the POIG agreement , which focuses on the Protection and Conservation of Wildlife and includes : “in addition to ensuring the protection and survival  of all rare, threatened or endangered  species within their concession  land, concession holders also make a positively contribution  to their survival in the wild in areas beyond  the concession” … thus giving responsibility for the protection of biodiversity a far wider perspective.

Agropalma has operated in Brazil since 2004 in projects to preserve wildlife in the Amazon, a program that has already identified 407 species of birds, 37 mammals, 40 reptiles and 22 amphibians. Among them there are 12 endangered species. The scientific identification of existing species within their plantation areas and in more than 64,000 hectares of forest reserves of the company is done annually through partnership programs with international NGOs , universities and research centres in Brazil . This initiative aims to ensure that its economic activities in the region do not interfere in the development and preservation of local fauna and flora.

Michelle Desilets, Executive Director of Orangutan Land Trust warmly welcomes the new strategic partnership with Agropalma. She says, “Agropalma have long been leaders in sustainability within the palm oil sector, and we share with them a vision of breaking the link between palm oil and deforestation in a global context. We hope our partnership will act as a catalyst in that regard. Furthermore, with Agropalma’s generous support, we can enable conservation activities in Indonesia and Malaysia that will not only help to protect the orangutan, but also all the biodiversity that shares its rainforest habitat.”

LABELLING, REGULATION

Banana growers lose sustainable certification; coffee farmers Climate- Smart

A group of 14 different growers and more than 4,000 families growing bananas in Honduras had its Rainforest Alliance certification removed in response to complaints over worker treatment, which the country’s banana association said in December will lead to US$21 million in losses if exports are closed.

The problem arose from the existence of two unions in the company after the farms decided to negotiate with the union that had a higher membership; this was interpreted as discrimination against the smaller union.

A statement from the alliance and Sustainable Farm Certification International Ltda, said allegations were made in September that a group of banana farms called Las Tres Hermanas, part of larger group of certified banana farms called COHFRUTSA, were not complying with Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) standards related to the fair treatment of workers and good working conditions.

“Following the procedure established for investigating complaints, SFC undertook a research audit to determine whether or not the complaints were valid. As a result of the investigation, COHFRUTSA was issued several non-conformances, including one related to SAN Standard criterion 5.2., which aims to protect workers from unfair discrimination and labor practices.

“Because criterion 5.2. is categorized as ‘critical’, COHFRUTSA’s Rainforest Alliance Certified™ certificate has been withdrawn, in accordance with SAN certification policy guidelines.”

An appeal was made to the country’s courts, with producers seeking assistance from Ministry of Labor to explain to the Rainforest Alliance that processes undertaken were within the law.

Meanwhile the Rainforest Alliance announced that over 200 Rainforest Alliance Certified™ coffee farms in Central America have achieved climate-smart verification.

Located in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, these forward-looking farmers are preparing for the challenges already evident from a changing climate by meeting the standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network Climate Module.

By adopting practices that curb emissions and increase carbon storage, these farms have captured more than 218,000 metric tons of carbon — equivalent to the annual emissions of approximately 43,600 cars.

This achievement marks the culmination of a two-year project of the Rainforest Alliance and the coffee trading company EFICO Green Coffee and Cocoa that aims to promote the Climate Module among Central American coffee farmers that are vulnerable to the higher temperatures, erratic rainfall and pest and disease outbreaks that are aggravated by the unstable climate.