Top coffee producers sign joint pact to protect Indonesian rainforest

A farmer in Indonesia picks red coffee cherries. CIFOR/Ulet Ifansasti
16 April 2018

BONN, Germany (Landscape News) — Critically endangered elephants, tigers and rhinos in Indonesia stand to benefit from a new agreement tailored to protect their rainforest habitat on the island of Sumatra from the risks of unsustainable coffee production.

Coffee producers — including Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Louis Dreyfus Company, Nestle and Olam International — have made a joint pledge with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), farmers’ groups and the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park Authority to reduce deforestation, ensure coffee is legally cultivated and reforestation initiatives implemented.

The new agreement will support sustainable economic development in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site where up to 26,000 tons of robusta coffee are produced each year, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

“These pledges demonstrate a unique approach to addressing commodity-driven deforestation, and a commitment from companies to actively engage in the protection of specific, at-risk forest landscapes, said Noviar Andayani, country director of WCS Indonesia.

“This new collaboration between the private sector, farmers, the government and NGOs is essential for supporting farmer livelihoods and securing the future of the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park and several of Indonesia’s flagship species, whose survival depends on this park,” Andayani said.

Until now, coffee traders and roasters have been at risk of unwittingly sourcing coffee associated with deforestation inside the national park, undermining corporate sustainability commitments and industry progress towards deforestation-free supply chains, the WCS statement said.

The agreement, representing more than two thirds of the coffee supply chain, recognizes that the coffee trade and other forms of agricultural development have contributed significantly to deforestation, forest degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change. It notes that “business-as-usual” coffee production will further reduce forest cover.

Additionally, the agreement notes the key role of the private sector in working collaboratively with governments, NGOs, farmer groups and local communities to develop and test strategies.

Sustainable finance initiatives will be under discussion at the upcoming Global Landscapes Forum 2018 Investment Case Symposium in Washington on May 30.

“This commitment marks the start of a collaboration that will enable us to scale the impacts of our Responsible Sourcing Program, ensuring the sustainability of our coffee sourcing and supporting the livelihoods of smallholder farmers that form our supply base, said Do Ngoc Sy, sustainability manager for Asia Pacific with Jacobs Douwe Egberts.

Chris Brown, vice president of corporate responsibility and sustainability at Olam will speak on a panel titled “The Private Ask: How the Public Sector can Support Private Sector Investments in Sustainable and Productive Landscapes” at the Global Landscape Forum Investment Case Symposium in Washington, D.C. on May 30.

The panel, hosted by the World Bank, will include: Juergen Voegele, senior director food and agriculture global practice at the World Bank; Carlos Enrique Cavelier, chief executive, Productos Naturales de la Sabana, Colombia Alqueria; Nabil Fawaz, sector manager for Agribusiness, Manufacturing and Services at the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and Bas Ruter, director of sustainability and lead on the Forest Protection and Sustainable Agriculture Fund at Rabobank.

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Find out more about the upcoming Global Landscapes Forum 2018 Investment Case Symposium