It recognizes that the oil palm expansion process has the potential to provide economic development and improve rural livelihoods in areas where it is developed. However, there is also a serious risk that expansion of palm oil plantations cause deforestation, biodiversity loss, destruction of High Conservation Values (HCV) areas and have other negative social and environmental impacts if not planned carefully and in a responsible and sustainable way.
The WWF Central African Regional Program Office (CARPO) seeks to address these challenges of expansion and biodiversity conservation. Considering the fact that palm oil developments are only emerging in the Congo Basin, now is the time to have an impact on how palm oil will be expanded in the region and to prevent potential devastating effects it can have on biodiversity conservation and local livelihoods. Many of the negative impacts that are characteristic of long-existing plantations are the consequence of poor planning and inadequate consideration to social and environmental best practices.
To achieve sustainable palm oil development in the Congo Basin, WWF has developed a GHoA palm oil strategy. The aim of this strategy is to change the classic development patterns and supply chains towards sustainable development in the coming years, which will be crucial for the future of palm oil in the Congo Basin, which is still in its infancy. WWF can, in collaboration with other parties, have a great impact on the way oil palm is expanded by promoting and raising awareness on Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and its benefits. Promoting the use of social and environmental best practices will also avoid that palm oil developments have negative impacts on High Conservation Value (HCV) areas.