Ten years after the HCV Network was created, a not-for-profit company registered as HCV Network Ltd. took form on 30 July 2015 and became the home of the HCV Network Secretariat, allowing it to operate independently from Proforest, its previous institutional host. Since then, the small Secretariat team has been working to help people understand and implement the HCV Approach by supplying guidance and technical support to stakeholders, coordinating projects, securing funding, and cultivating collaborative relationships with both member and non-member organisations.

Although a young organisation, the Secretariat is not short of a rich history and achievements. Here are a few of the highlights from the Secretariat’s activity.


  • From January 2016, HCV Network Ltd. formally started trading.
  • Paulina Villalpando, Anders Lindhe and Ellen Watson (temporarily) are seconded from Proforest to HCV Network Ltd to support the transition.
  • The Secretariat provided training to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification bodies and licensed assessors in Indonesia.
  • The Mulago Foundation provides kick-off funding to the new Secretariat through its Henry Arnhold Fellowship award.


  • First team retreat takes place in Sweden, to define company policies and the company's strategy moving forward.
  • Paulina Villalpando, Anders Lindhe, Sam Watson, Ruth Silva, Joss Lyons White, Ana Sofia Lorda, Olivia Scholtz, Arie Soetjiadi, and Marius von Essen joined the Secretariat team this year.
  • Secretariat coordinates the development of the first HCV-HCSA Assessment Manual and takes on quality assurance of HCV-HCSA assessment reports.
  • Secretariat publishes research on HCV Management & Monitoring in RSPO-certified plantations


  • Ellen Watson, Jimena Frojan, Felicia Lasmana, and Haryo Dewanto join the team.
  • The HCV Approach was introduced into the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) standard. The Secretariat collaborates with BCI to develop a series of tools to implement these new requirements.



  • Following the development of the 2018–2019 Communications Strategy, in 2020 the Secretariat hired a communications expert to provide support with communications.
  • With support from a senior finance intern, the Secretariat developed a draft strategy exploring which financial institutions include HCV commitments in their investment and due diligence policies and why; the financial mechanisms available to the HCV Network that could help support protection of HCV areas; and the Secretariat’s strategy for engaging and strengthening relationships with this sector.
  • The Secretariat supports Rainforest Alliance’s updated Sustainable Agriculture Standard (SAS).
  • The Secretariat signed a five-year MoU with the High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) to strengthen collaboration on forest conservation and upholding community rights in tropical forests.
  • The Secretariat coordinates an HCV-HCS screening in Indonesia and an HCV screening in Brazil
  • Secretariat forms a working group for Licensed Assessor and Quality Panel Members


  • The Secretariat sets up an online learning platform
  • Members vote for the new HCV Network logo
  • Formation of Grower Discussion Group to communicate with growers on HCV-related topics
  • Independent review of Assessor Licensing Scheme
  • The first HCV Network Global Summit takes place on 2-3 June
  • The Secretariat coordinates the development of its new Roadmap
  • Launch of the Nature Positive Farming concept
  • Launch of updated Screening Guide available in five languages

Despite the challenges of a small team, the Secretariat prides itself on its achievements, while acknowledging the need for continuous support from Members to help with the implementation of the Roadmap. Achievements include:

  • New website launched in 2018
  • Collaborating with organisations, initiatives and growing membership base
  • Organising the first digital global HCV Summit in June 2021
  • Maintaining healthy finances and reserves
  • Team expansion
  • Developing practical tools to implement the HCV Approach in different scenarios within and outside certification
  • Providing quality assurance for HCV and HCS Forest identification in high-risk scenarios with more than 200 HCV and HCV-HCSA assessment reports evaluated
  • Expanding uptake of practical tools for conservation in production contexts, including work with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), RSPO, HCSA, RA, BCI, Bonsucro and GPSNR.

In the year ahead we’re looking forward to:

  • Publishing our Roadmap for 2021-2030 and galvanising support for a workplan to realise the Roadmap
  • Implementing recommendations from the independent review of the ALS
  • Continued collaboration with existing members and partners and new opportunities for collaboration