Last week, in the run-up to the World Environment Day (WED), I wrote about the GAR Social and Environmental Policy (GSEP) and our sustainability commitments which centre around four main pillars: Environmental Management; Social and Community Engagement; Workplace and Labour; and Marketplace and Supply Chain.
The GSEP is our roadmap towards sustainable palm oil production and it’s the culmination of five years of lessons learnt as a pioneer in launching and implementing many of the sector’s first sustainability policies.
Did you know that the GSEP is just one of the many sustainability milestones that GAR has achieved over the years?
GAR’s Sustainability Milestones
We’ve taken progressive steps towards more sustainable and responsible palm oil production over the years and achieving many firsts in the industry. Careful stewardship of the natural environment as well as ensuring the welfare and betterment of our workers and local communities around the plantation is common sense if we want to be in agribusiness in the long term.
GAR’s Sustainability Milestones
Take our Zero Burning Policy – we were the first palm oil company in Indonesia to adopt this back in 1997, nearly a decade ago. This has helped us control incidents of fire in our plantations. Through strict adherence to this policy in tandem with our fire management efforts, only 0.5 percent of our total area was affected by fires in the 2015 forest fires.
We also launched a No Development on Peat policy in 2010. This is significant because the draining and development of peatlands are one of the main causes of peat fires that produce haze.
To further support our long-term efforts to tackle fire and haze we launched the Peat Ecosystem Rehabilitation Project in 2015 and the Desa Siaga Api community outreach and CSR programme earlier this year.
GAR’s Desa Siaga Api programme trains villagers to rapidly suppress fires
We were also the first to adopt a Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) in 2011, followed by the Social and Community Engagement Policy (SCEP) and the Yield Improvement Policy (YIP) in 2012.
In the area of forest conservation, we have been at the forefront of developing the High Carbon Stock Approach together with NGOs Greenpeace and The Forest Trust.
We’re also one of a handful of publicly-listed companies in Singapore that have been issuing a regular Sustainability Report for our stakeholders and investors since 2010.
We have also focused on bringing our suppliers with us on our sustainability journey. In 2014, we expanded the scope of our sustainability policies to cover our entire supply chain. We then began mapping our supply chain and achieved 100 percent traceability to the mill at the end of 2015. In April 2016, we announced that we are now working with our supplier mills to further map the supply chain all the way to the plantation. The aim of this exercise is to get to know all our suppliers better and to help support them improve their social and environmental practices.
GAR is actively working with its suppliers to improve the palm oil industry
Looking ahead, GAR will be marking more milestones over the coming years as we continue embedding sustainability in our day-to-day operations, continuously improving and incorporating best practices and lessons learnt. Keep reading this blog as we keep you posted about them.