The move, which has coincided with a recent NR sustainability initiative by the tire industry, goes back to a 2015 report by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) on Chinese rubber expansions in Cameroon.
The report examined the impact of “large-scale land concessions” on forest cover and biodiversity, and on land claims and governance.
Specifically, the paper looked at the potential impact of Sud-Cameroun Hevea SA, which was previously owned by a subsidiary of Sinochem and is now owned by Halcyon Agri.
In July 2018, Greenpeace followed up with the report “Halcyon Agri’s ruinous rubber” regarding the environmental and social impacts of Sudcam’s operations.
WWF, at the invitation of Halcyon, visited the Sudcam plantation in August, after which it pointed to “legacy” issues regarding access to land, limited space for local farming activities and a concrete environmental management plan.
In its 20 Nov release, Halcyon said that it is setting up a sustainability commission with multi-stakeholder groups, including NGOs, civic society and local authorities to ensure WWF’s recommendations for Sudcam are effectively developed and implemented.
The commission will be chaired by a stakeholder that is not an employee of the group and Halcyon said it will provide progress updates on its activities in the first quarter of 2019.
Alongside the commission, the company’s new NR policy will address areas including working conditions and living environment for labourers as well as promoting responsible land-acquisition and land-use.
The company added that it would also strive to protect the ecosystem by targeting a “zero-net” deforestation and responsible cultivation.