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Coffee companies to tackle deforestation

The world’s leading coffee companies have pledged to tackle deforestation in Indonesia
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Coffee companies to tackle deforestation

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has announced that a group of the world’s leading coffee companies has committed to addressing deforestation from illegal coffee production inside Indonesia’s Bukit Barisan Selatan (BBS) National Park.

This park is a key protected area for Sumatran tigers, rhinos and elephants, and part of the ‘Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra’, an internationally recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A new approach to an old problem

The landmark commitment has been made by international and domestic coffee companies that represent over two-thirds of the supply chain. They include Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Louis Dreyfus Company, Nestlé and Olam International, plus other traders and roasters. Other signatories include the National Park, NGOs, government and farmers.

The commitment signals the start of a unique landscape-focused collaboration to secure the future of one of the nation’s most important forest ecosystems, while supporting sustainable economic development.

‘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. We have learned from over 20 years of conservation in Indonesia that new approaches are sometimes needed to solve old problems. 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.’

Country director of WCS Indonesia

Coffee and deforestation

At 1,235 square miles (320,000 hectares), Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park provides critical habitat for a wealth of wildlife, yet it’s threatened by agricultural encroachment.

At least 10% of the World Heritage Site is under active coffee production, which is significantly impacting biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services while also contributing to climate change.

With as much as 26,000 tons of robusta coffee coming from within the park each year, domestic and international coffee traders and roasters are also 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.

From intent to action

Recognising the role they can play in addressing coffee-driven deforestation while supporting more prosperous farmer livelihoods, domestic and international companies have developed an ambitious ‘Collective Statement of Intent’ to mobilise efforts to tackle and reverse this growing threat.

The statement was developed in collaboration with the National Park Authority and the Indonesian Coffee Exporters Association (GAEKI), through the multi-stakeholder BBS Sustainable Coffee Roundtable, convened by WCS.

The Collective Statement of Intent represents the first step towards the establishment of a suite of new initiatives. The hard work now begins to ensure that this ambitious commitment leads to concrete action and positive impacts for farmer livelihoods and the conservation of the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park.

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