GHG emissions from land use change remain the biggest component of REA’s carbon footprint. Although this is a one-off emission that occurs when the oil palm plantation is first developed, these GHG emissions are amortised over the 25 year lifecycle of the oil palm. The result of this methodology is a significant fixed annual emission from land use change for the group’s long established plantations which cannot be reduced until re-planting.
For future developments, REA has the opportunity to minimise GHG emissions from land use change by prioritising lower carbon stock areas for oil palm development. The group is actively contributing to the development of practical methodologies for conducting scientifically rigorous carbon stock assessments by participating in the RSPO’s GHG emissions reduction working group. Since January 2015, carbon stock assessments have been conducted prior to any new development using the RSPO’s carbon stock assessment tool. This will enable the carbon stock of the land to be taken into account in the land use planning process.