New Britain Palm Oil’s award: what does it mean?


Papua New Guinea’s New Britain Palm Oil Ltd (NBPOL) has been to be ranked as Sector Leader in Agricultural Products in the 2012 Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD) Annual Review.

Forest_Footprint_DisclosureThe award places NBPOL alongside major international companies such as British Airways, L’Oreal, Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury’s Supermarkets, which are named as leaders in their respective sectors.

FFD examines the exposure  of companies and their investors to deforestation risks by assessing their ‘forest footprints’ in five agricultural commodities that are responsible for most deforestation – timber productspalm oilsoycattle products and biofuels. The assessments look at production practices and supply chains.

The 186 international investment groups that sign up to FFD have some $US13 trillion in investment assets, another sign that sustainability is firmly on the agenda for international investors.

NBPOL’s award is particularly significant because of the nature of its industry. While there were only a few respondents from the agricultural sector, palm oil production is seen as particularly problematic where sustainability and deforestation are concerned, with widespread coverage of land grabs and rainforest destruction in the international media.

Emily Flowers, PNG Country Manager for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, described NBPOL’s award as very important:

‘It’s great to see a PNG company can hold its own in the world palm oil industry and be a leader in sustainability at the same time. It’s a good company with high standards and is very community-minded and culturally aware,’ she told Business Advantage PNG.

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‘For NBPOL it is fundamental that any development achieves an optimal balance between social development, conservation and agriculture,’ said NBPOL Chief Executive Officer Nick Thompson in a statement. ‘It is also vital that carbon accountability be embedded into an agricultural company’s thinking and guide all its actions.’

Thompson says NBPOL sets aside forest areas that store large amounts of carbon emissions:

‘The Forest Footprint Disclosure is singularly important in the provision of impartial assurance, preservation of transparency and in communicating a company’s performance to a wider stakeholder audience.’

In 2012, the Forest Footprint Disclosure Request was sent to 450 international companies, 100 of which responded.