The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced today 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 – 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.
The landmark commitment made by international and domestic coffee companies – representing over two thirds of the supply chain – including Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Louis Dreyfus Company, Nestlé, and Olam International, as well as other traders and roasters, the National Park, NGOs, government and farmers, 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.
At 1,235 square miles (320,000 hectares), Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park provides critical habitat for a wealth of wildlife yet is threatened by agricultural encroachment. At least 10 percent of the World Heritage Site is under active coffee production, significantly impacting biodiversity, the provision of ecosystem services, and 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.
Recognizing the role they can play in addressing coffee-driven deforestation while supporting prosperous farmer livelihoods, domestic and international companies, developed an ambitious “Collective Statement of Intent” to mobilise efforts to tackle and reverse this growing threat. This 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 announcement took place on 12th April in Bandar Lampung at a meeting of the Roundtable, where 15 organisations* signed up in the presence of the Lampung Barat and Ogan Komering Ulu Selatan district governments and representatives from the National Park.
“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,” said Dr. 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.”
Christopher Stewart, Olam’s Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability summed up the importance of this initiative saying: “Our Living Landscapes ambition is to deliver a triple positive impact in the places we work, so that prosperous farmers, thriving rural communities, and healthy ecosystems coexist. This can only be achieved through real partnerships on the ground, such as the one we are building with WCS, the Lampung Robusta sector and the National Park Authority to support sustainable coffee farming in the Bukit Barisan Selatan landscape.”
Do Ngoc Sy, Sustainability Manager for Asia Pacific for Jacobs Douwe Egberts, added: “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. We can only achieve this through collective action and, as a large roaster sourcing from Lampung, we look forward to working with our suppliers and other stakeholders to ensure a thriving Robusta sector that values and protects the natural ecosystem.”
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.
*Signatory organisations in support of the Collective Statement of Intent include:
Association of Coffee Suppliers Lampung (Asosiasi Suplier Kopi Lampung; ASKL), Berindo Jaya (Neumann Kaffee Gruppe), Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park Authority, Enveritas, Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung, PT Indo Cafco (ECOM), Jacobs Douwe Egberts B.V., Karya Bakti Ulubelu Farmer Group, Lampung Barat District Plantation Office, Louis Dreyfus Company, PT Mayora Indah, Nestlé S.A., Olam International, Sucden Coffee B.V., and Wildlife Conservation Society.
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