High Carbon Stock (HCS)
Tropical forest landscapes hold large stores of carbon and biodiversity and are important to millions of people who depend on the forest for their livelihoods. Today these landscapes have a mix of vegetation from grassland to scrub, regenerating forest to dense forests with a high canopy.
The High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach pioneered by Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) in partnership with The Forest Trust (TFT) and Greenpeace, as part of our original Forest Conservation Policy in 2011, was developed to provide land managers with a practical land use planning tool. The policy is now embedded in our enhanced GAR Social and Environmental Policy (GSEP).
The HCS Approach provides a methodology and toolkit to help land managers define forest types and make decisions about what land can be developed and what should be conserved. It aims to balance ecological and environmental values with the customary rights of indigenous peoples and benefits to local communities.
As of 2017, GAR has rolled out the HCS approach across all its concessions. Our commitment to HCS obligates us to conduct HCS assessments prior to all new development. Since November 2014, GAR has voluntarily halted all new development in its main (nucleus) estates and the company is focusing on yield improvement on its existing plantations.
Beyond our own concessions, we are carrying out landscape level activities related to HCS conservation. These include our current efforts in Participatory Conservation Planning with communities around and beyond our concessions area. To date, more than 10 villages have agreed to jointly conserve over 7,000 hectares of HCS forests. We are also actively supporting the Aceh Tamiang landscape work with TFT and other growers. The aim is long-term protection of the Leuser Ecosystem boundaries.