Building local capacity through HCV training in Chiapas
With the objective of sharing best practices and developing the capacity of future assessors in High Conservation Value (HCV), PepsiCo and FEMEXPALMA, in collaboration with Proforest, have carried out a HCV course from October 2-6, 2017 in Palenque, Chiapas.
The course, which represents part of PepsiCo’s wider pathway to sustainably sourcing 100 percent of palm oil by 2020, was attended by 17 participants from Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala and Costa Rica and from across different fields, including environmental consulting, academia and professionals in the oil palm sector.
Endorsed by RSPO and the High Conservation Value Resource Network (HCVRN), the training has proven to be critical in developing local capacity to conduct HCV assessments, which are a core requirement of achieving RSPO certification. It is also increasingly included in many companies’ responsible sourcing commitments, including PepsiCo’s own Forestry Stewardship Policy and Palm Oil specific commitments.
The rich diversity of the region’s flora and fauna provided an ideal backdrop for both classroom discussions about biodiversity as well as regional case studies for developing an understanding of HCVs. The balance between theoretical and practical components, such as a site visit to a palm oil plantation in the Ocosingo area and interviews, enabled participants to develop a sound understanding of the necessary steps for identifying, managing and monitoring HCVs. The course touched upon the six HCV categories and covered the requirements for practices and presentation of HCV reports according to Assessor Licensing Scheme (ALS) and RSPO.
The HCV approach is a framework for identifying the most important social and environmental values in a production landscape, including cultural values, ecosystems and habitats, ecosystem services or biological diversity. The approach has proven to be a very important tool for developing a management plan to balance production with protection.
Smallholders find it challenging, however, to undertake the initial assessment because it requires significant technical expertise and can be expensive. The collaboration between PepsiCo, FEMEXPALMA and Proforest seeks to address the limited capacity by making technical expertise accessible and providing the necessary experience for local professionals to carry out HCV assessments. Further guidance on best practices for maintaining the identified values is also provided to small farmers.
To find out more about our HCV training courses, visit our training page.