World Bank

IFC / World Bank Group support of RSPO

IFC (part of the World Bank Group) supports the development of the RSPO, primarily through its Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities program (BACP). Read about it via its flyer here,$FILE/BACP+Flyer.pdf.

Reported in the BACP newsletter, Issue 10, June 2011:

Through its grant-making facility, BACP supports the RSPO both directly and indirectly.

BACP provided a grant directly to the RSPO to support a Biodiversity Coordinator and activities of the Biodiversity Technical Committee (BTC).

BACP has given grants to various NGOs and other organisations, in support of their efforts at RSPO, these include:
• PanEco Foundation is working to demonstrate the potential for palm oil production on Indonesia's 4.7 million hectares of degraded land in an effort to preserve the country’s biodiversity-rich areas of High Conservation Value (HCV) from being converted to palm oil plantations......
• The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is working to 1. improve the effectiveness of the biodiversity-related RSPO Principles and Criteria......
• Fauna and Flora International (FFI) has been piloting an innovative partnership model that helps producer companies comply with the biodiversity-related criterion of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)’s Principles and Criteria. The partnership engages large-scale producers to take an active role in protecting and managing HCV areas on or adjacent to their concessions......
• The World Resources Institute (WRI) is working to make compliance with RSPO biodiversity related principles and criteria easier for producers by providing necessary information and toolkits for successful and sustainable production on degraded land......

IFC’s BACP also has various efforts Supporting the Round Table for Responsible Soy (RTRS).

BACP states: Agricultural expansion is the leading cause of habitat loss around the world and poses one of the gravest threats to global biodiversity. Tropical export commodities have dramatically increased production in the last fifty years, resulting in the destruction of much tropical habitat. The Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program (BACP) seeks to reduce the threats posed by agriculture to biodiversity of global significance by transforming markets for target agricultural commodities. To transform the commodity markets, BACP supports projects that generate greater supply, demand and financing of biodiversity-friendly products. Projects must meet specific criteria and address one of the four following components:
1. Removing policy barriers
2. Supporting better production
3. Increasing demand for biodiversity-friendly products
4. Encouraging financial services to support biodiversity-friendly practices


Khor Reports comment: NGOs and other organisations have been quick to avail themselves of BACP funding for their projects. It is surprising to us that growers (especially the smaller estates, smallholders and/or those operating near high conservation / sensitive areas), who may have quite a lot work to do too, do not seem to have done so yet (not listed among 'grantee highlights' in the BACP newsletter). Perhaps BACP could assist them too?

World Bank Group - new palm oil sector approach

Khor Reports comment: On 2nd April 2011, The World Bank Group (WBG) announced its "new Framework and IFC Strategy to guide its future engagement in the palm oil sector." This follows-on a freeze on new investments in the sector, followed by months of consultations. WBG says it will focus investments as follows: i) institutional and market initiatives to benefit smallholder development, ii) on projects to improve productivity on existing plantations and iii) it sounds as though funding of new area development would have to be on degraded lands.


WBG says its areas of focus include support for:
• regulatory and governance reforms;
• responsible private investments;
• improved benefit sharing with smallholders and communities; and
• development and widespread adoption of environmentally and socially sustainable standards and codes of practice.

a) "Institutional and market initiatives that support smallholders and foster benefit sharing with rural communities. This will take place by helping to strengthen smallholder producer organizations, promoting their access to finance and markets, improving their agronomy practices and productivity, and fostering fair contractual arrangements with larger companies."
b) "To help protect forests and biodiversity and to move palm oil expansion from forested areas and peat lands, the Bank Group will give priority to initiatives that encourage production on degraded lands and seek to improve productivity of existing plantations."

WBG will scrutinize investments, using "new analytical “tools”, such as a joint World Bank-IFC Country Situation Analysis and IFC’s Risk Screening and Assessment procedure."

Read more about it here: