Sime Darby Plantation (SDPL) says it is not involved in logging or the extraction of timber that a recent report says is putting Liberia in danger.
A release issued yesterday said regarding clearing of land for the cultivation of oil palm, Sime Darby Plantation has had a moratorium on any clearing of land since September 2014.
The moratorium has allowed the company to study the need for the conservation of high carbon stock forests, an effort “we are undertaking with several stakeholders, including groups of growers, NGOs and scientists under the umbrella of the High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach.”
Prior to September 2014, Sime Darby Plantation said it also had strict policies and guidelines on the preservation and protection of High Carbon Value (HCV) areas, including Environment & Biodiversity Policy and Slope & River Protection Policy.
The release said Sime Darby Plantation has observed both these policies for all new land development activities in Liberia.
“Today, new land development is still put on hold as the HCS Approach pilot is currently being conducted in SDPL’s concession area,” the release said.
This is despite SDPL being pressured by the communities to start developing their land for oil palm plantation to create much needed opportunities for employment and economic development.
“With the above commitment to ensuring that our plantation development is carbon neutral, conflict-free, transparent and equitable to stakeholders, Liberians can rest assured that Sime Darby will not be carrying out logging activities within its concession area even if the government decides to introduce the
Conversion Timber/Logging regulation in the country.
“Striking the balance between people, planet and prosperity in new developments has always been Sime Darby’s objective,” according to the release.
It may be recalled the global environment watchdog Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) recently raised an alarm on illegal awarding of logging rights to certain concessions by unnamed top government officials.
SDI said Liberia’s forests are under renewed threats from what it termed as conversion timber/logging, which the government is on the verge of introducing – which has the potential to destroy the country’s remaining rain forests.
SDI’s position indicated that agricultural concessions, especially oil palm companies such as Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) and Sime Darby, could carry out logging activities within their concession areas.
However, Sime Darby in its release re-affirmed its position on the suspension of such an activity in its operating areas stating that it will not carry out logging activities within its concession area even if the government decide to introduce the Conversion Timber/Logging regulation in the country.