The concept of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) was born out of the increased international awareness of the need for sustainability to preserve our forest ecosystems. SFM in natural forests is based on a selective harvesting model that is defined by the natural regeneration capacity of the forest and practices like Reduced Impact Logging.
Critically, in addition to receiving a sustained wood supply, sustainability also implies that forest management is environmentally-appropriate and socially sensitive. This includes obtaining the Free and Prior Informed Consent of local and indigenous communities to undertake our activities. In our concessions in Republic of Congo, we provide customers with the reassurance of third party FSC® certification. Read more on certification here.
Creating wider environmental and social value in the Republic of Congo
Our operations cannot proceed in isolation and we must respect and create mutual value for others who live in and around the forest landscape, especially in our concessions in the Republic of Congo. Trees and groves sacred to semi-nomadic groups and indigenous peoples living in the forests are protected by our staff, while the “BisonaBiso” (“Between Us”) community radio station and our TV station Canal Pokola support our outreach in keeping the local communities informed about our activities, as well as providing social and health information.
With the growth of our business, the once remote town of Pokola now has a population of 15,000, with over 900 people employed directly by Olam through our subsidiary Congolaise Industrielle des Bois. We have also provided housing, schools, clinics and a 40-bed hospital, sports facilities and a library cum cultural centre – tangible development benefits for the surrounding community.
Together with the government of the Republic of Congo and the World Bank, we are also collaborating on two innovative programmes to help reduce climate change impacts:
With the Republic of Congo, we also operate a pioneering REDD+ initiative to realise value from the standing forest (92,530 hectares) in our Pikounda Nord concession which is located in the Sangha region in the heart of the Congo River Basin. The objective of this pilot initiative is to generate alternative revenues from sustainably managed forest landscapes by valuing the forest as a carbon sink and to originate carbon credits for the pre-compliance Voluntary Carbon market. This market is considered best practice and recognised by the global carbon community as able to generate solid and marketable credits. Read more here
World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility
In addition to the Pikounda Nord REDD+ Programme, CIB is partnering with the Republic of Congo on a proposal to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).
The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), which became operational in June 2008, is a global partnership focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, forest carbon stock conservation, responsible management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+). The FCPF has 44 REDD Country Participants (17 in Africa, 16 in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 11 in Asia-Pacific). The World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and United Nations Development Programme are delivery partners under the Readiness Fund and are responsible for providing REDD+ readiness support services to distinct countries.
In 2014 the proposal put forward by the Republic of Congo in partnership with Olam, was accepted. The World Bank is now providing funding for the full development of the programme proposal, and once implemented and the emissions verified, will purchase a number of carbon credits. Read more here.
Report by Congolaise NGOs regarding road construction in 2016 and malaria outbreak
In 2017, a report was issued alleging that a road built by CIB for a village on the edge of the concession led to an outbreak in malaria and a high number of deaths, particularly children. To To investigate the allegations CIB requested advice from the NGO The Malaria Consortium. On their recommendation an independent tropical disease specialist was commissioned. The report findings show:
While malaria is endemic in the region it was not the single or main cause of death
The final cause was split mainly between dysentery, malaria, pneumonia and measles
The road was assessed to have not made a relevant impact on the breeding of malarial mosquitoes due to the surrounding marsh (flooded forest) landscape which provided enormous permanent breeding ground potential for the mosquitoes.
These villages are affected by immense poverty, malnutrition and many negative social factors, facilitating the spread of deadly diseases. The deep, systemic healthcare issues underpinning this tragedy cannot be solved by any one party acting alone and it will require a renewed focus on effective delivery of healthcare for the region. In this, CIB will continue to NGOs, and experts to find a durable solution to help communities living in the forest.
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