GVL’s Conservation Vision for Liberia

Our aspiration is to be the global leader in deforestation-free palm oil production. Our Forest Conservation Policy and associated safeguards, coupled with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Principles and Criteria, provide a solid basis for us to meet and exceed the increasing demand for zero-deforestation palm oil.

GVL’s Forest Conservation Policy (FCP)

This corporate policy voluntarily extends the scope of the RSPO Principles and Criteria and was created in close collaboration with The Forest Trust and Greenpeace International, and has been hailed by many past critics of the Oil Palm industry as current Best Practice. The Policy has three core elements:

  • Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC): GVL is committed to consult with indigenous and local communities affected by proposed oil palm development and seek negotiated agreement on which areas may be developed and what economic and social benefits will be delivered, including direct employment, education and health services leading to the long-term eradication of rural poverty in Liberia.
  • NO High Conservation Value (HCV) forest will be developed; such areas will be identified and retained as forest owing to their importance according to one or more of six key criteria, which include;
    • Concentration of biodiversity;
    • Large, landscape-level ecosystems;
    • Rare, threatened or endangered ecosystems;
    • Critical ecosystem services;
    • Basic needs of local communities;
  • NO High Carbon Stock (HCS) forest will be developed; such areas will be identified and retained as forest owing to their important carbon content and associated role in mitigating climate change. This HCS policy offers a practical, scientifically robust and cost effective methodology for oil palm development without causing deforestation. It differentiates HCS areas from degraded areas with low carbon stock that are potentially available for development.

Interlocking Safeguards

The FCP is reinforced by a series of other requirements, which include:

  • Land Use Allocation predetermined by the Forestry Development Authority (FDA): the identification of GVL’s Gross Concession Area of 350,000 hectares was premised on degraded forests and completely avoided National Forests Proposed and Actual Protected Areas;
  • Environmental & Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) undertaken by independent Agents regulated by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA): this involves close scrutiny by field teams of actual areas identified by GVL as suitable for development. The outcome is an Environmental Permit Area.
  • New Planting Permit (NPP) requested by GVL from the RSPO:  this additional safeguard ensures that the Environmental Permit Area fully complies with RSPO’s Principles & Criteria, reinforced by additional requirements.
  • Multi-stakeholder Engagement: GVL has adopted a multi-stakeholder engagement strategy with communities, civil society and government to agree the best solutions for sustainable oil palm development in Liberia.

Zero Greenwashing

A Policy with teeth, compliance monitoring and proactive operationalization is the only option for GVL We will therefore:

  • Monitor HCV and HCS status against the initial baseline survey assessments throughout our concession area;
  • Encourage and cooperate with Government and 3rd Party oversight, currently undertaken by The Forest Trust;
  • Engage with the REDD+ process in Liberia for Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV);
  • Consult with those communities with significant HCV and HCS forests within the GVL gross concession area to negotiate using FPIC principles and agree with Community Conservation Management Agreements with them.