AAK, a Sweden-based producer of vegetable oils and fats, has partnered with Nestlé and palm oil corporation Musim Mas to address deforestation outside of palm oil concession areas in Aceh, Indonesia.
The five-year programme aims to support around 1,000 independent smallholders in Aceh – a priority area that is home to 87% of the Leuser Ecosystem, an area of forest that is important for biodiversity and carbon storage.
“This partnership is an important part of AAK’s sustainable sourcing approach,” said Anne Mette Olesen, chief strategy and sustainability officer at AAK. “Engaging with partners and other stakeholders in the supply chain is fundamental, and only together can we make the global palm oil industry fully transparent and sustainable.”
Initially, AAK and Nestlé will provide funding for the first two years. The project will take a “train the trainer” approach, which will see government extension officers trained in best agricultural practices. In turn, the officers will train palm oil smallholders.
Caroline Westerik-Sikking, global manager Sustainable Oils at AAK added: “Engaging with stakeholders in the most sensitive landscapes and focusing on deforestation outside concession areas is crucial. We believe that this partnership can significantly contribute to the protection and preservation of an important landscape and have a positive impact on the livelihoods of the smallholders involved.”
The partnership comes on the heels of two more initiatives set up by AAK to support smallholders with palm oil, including Forever Sabah in Malaysia; and a programme in Mexico in collaboration with Solidaridad.
By Sian Yates
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