Liberia Sustainable Palm Oil

Client: Forestry Development Authority.
Location: Liberia, West Africa.
Under assignment to the Liberia Program of Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), STC conducted a strategic assessment of the current state of the Liberian palm oil industry and means to move it towards internationally-recognized sustainable principles and practices.  Liberia contains a significant portion of West Africa’s remaining tropical forests, and is in the early stages of recovery from an extended conflict that took over 250,000 lives.  The Liberian government is currently supporting the development of over 500,000 hectares of palm oil plantations with major Malaysian, Indonesian and European companies. This massive effort will have significant social, environmental, and economic impacts, and will require safeguards to avoid the problems that have plagued the industry elsewhere such as deforestation, habitat destruction, and land disputes.

The mission produced a Report and Recommendations (read here) which has stimulated the creation of a National Interpretation Working Group (NIWG) of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).  The report also led to the successful visit of a multi-stakeholder delegation to the RSPO Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia in November 2010.  This was followed by field visits to major Indonesian RSPO industry members and a week-long study tour by a larger Liberian group to their counterpart NIWG organization in Ghana.