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Sustainability Initiatives Support Programme

The Sustainability Initiatives Support Programme (SISP) assists the development of voluntary standards systems and other sustainability initiatives. Proforest facilitates processes and working groups, provides training, and supports the technical development of documentation and system tools.

What are our priorities?

Our aim is to strengthen sustainability initiatives and voluntary standards systems. We focus on facilitating processes and working groups, providing training and giving technical inputs. We also enable cooperation between different initiatives to harmonise requirements in areas of overlap, such as Chain of Custody.

What does the programme do?

We provide on-demand support to many different sustainability initiatives and their partners. Typically our inputs fall into four main areas:

  • Facilitating processes and working groups to help them develop standards, policies and procedures.
  • Providing training for or on behalf of voluntary standards systems.
  • Facilitating cooperation and dialogue between sustainability initiatives, making technical comparisons between schemes, and supporting activities that benefit the voluntary standards sector overall.
  • Providing technical writing skills and advice on policies, standards, documentation and tools.

Our recent and current projects include:

RSPO Standard Revision and National Interpretations

We facilitated the five-year revision of the RSPO Production Standard, leading to the publication of the 2013 RSPO Principles and Criteria. We are currently facilitating the National Interpretation processes of the standard in Honduras and Guatemala.

Support to the Tropical Forest Alliance

Proforest is providing technical support to the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) to set up and develop its activities in West and Central Africa. TFA 2020 aims to tackle the drivers of tropical deforestation associated with the sourcing of commodities such as palm oil, soy, beef, paper and pulp.

Development of the Brazilian Roundtable on Sustainable Beef (GTPS) standard

Proforest is supporting the GTPS in the design and development of its standard for the management of the beef supply chain.

Aluminium Stewardship Initiative Chain of Custody standard development

We are assisting the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative to develop and finalise their draft chain of custody standard, with funding from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Fairtrade certification

We have been supporting FLOCERT in its development as a certification and verification body.

Training of Trainers on the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR)

We supported a Training of Trainers course to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Vietnam and Thailand to meet the requirements of the EUTR. On behalf of the German international cooperation agency, GIZ, Proforest developed training materials and worked with local partners to deliver the training.

Why is it important?

Sustainability initiatives address the management of agricultural commodities or natural resources, such as palm oil, sugar or forest products. They are designed to minimise the negative environmental and social impacts of their sector. Typically, they bring together a wide range of stakeholders from the sector, ranging from production companies to NGOs, investors, supply chain companies and government.

To set up and manage a sustainability initiative requires technical knowledge about the resource itself. It also needs an understanding of the processes for developing and agreeing policies and implementation strategies, standards or other elements of a scheme. These processes can be difficult and even conflictive, due to the differing priorities of various stakeholders. Poorly designed sustainability initiatives can be difficult to implement, impractical, or may exclude certain groups such as smallholders.

Sustainability initiatives supported

We have worked with many sustainability initiatives including Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO); Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS); Bonsucro; Forest Stewardship Council (FSC); Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN); Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB); ISEAL Alliance; Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) 2020; Brazilian Roundtable on Sustainable Livestock (GTPS); Better Cotton Initiative (BCI); Cotton made in Africa (CMIA); FLOCERT; REDD+ Social & Environmental Standards (REDD+ SES); UN Global Compact; Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI); High Conservation Value (HCV) Resource Network.   

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