FERONIA INC: LAUNCH OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL ASSESSMENT
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 2, 2014) - Feronia Inc. ("Feronia" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:FRN) is pleased to announce the commencement of an Environmental and Social Assessment ('ESA') of its palm oil operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ('DRC').
The ESA is being undertaken by Digby Wells Environmental, an international environmental and social consultancy with extensive experience throughout Africa and, in particular, the DRC. The ESA is expected to take up to six months to complete, following which the Company will report on its findings.
The ESA will analyse the positive and negative environmental, cultural and socio-economic impacts and risks associated with the Company's rehabilitation of its 103-year old palm oil business in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, helping guide the implementation of measures to enhance, avoid and minimise such impacts.
The ESA forms an important part of Feronia's Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) which has been developed as a roadmap to embed community and sustainability at the heart of Feronia's business. This objective is underpinned by an intention to attain international environmental accreditations including Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and ISO 14001 Environmental Management System certification across all three Feronia palm oil plantations.
Pierre Bois d'Enghien (ESG Project Director) of Feronia commented: "Feronia has spent the last five years investing in key infrastructure to enable the resumption of production at its plantations and to secure the future of the business. We are now in a position to focus on ESG and to make significant investment in our social infrastructure; commissioning the ESA is an important step in this process."
"Having an external, independent and expert opinion on the environmental, cultural and socio-economic impacts of our business will help us tailor our approaches for the long-term and measure progress. We are determined to reach and maintain the highest standards in sustainability and community inclusion and the ESA will help us do that."
Marion Thomas (Operations Manager: London and Jersey) of Digby Wells Environmental added: "Feronia's rehabilitation of its palm oil operations in the DRC represents an extensive commitment. Digby Wells Environmental welcomes the opportunity to undertake this ESA and support Feronia in achieving its corporate, social and environmental objectives."
Notes to Editors
The scope of Feronia's ESA includes:
- identifying areas of biodiversity value including high conservation value areas, secondary/degraded forests, ex-agricultural land, ex-shifting cultivation sites, houses and villages;
- assessing environmental emissions;
- undertaking a baseline socio-economic assessment of the plantations and immediate environment;
- conducting a community needs assessment;identifying, understanding, and evaluating the actual or potential impact of the Company's operations on human rights;
- assessing the possibility or presence of economic and/or physical displacement of households on or surrounding the Company's plantations;
- identifying positive and negative social impacts, assessing their significance and proposing cost-effective, practical and feasible measures to ameliorate the negative impacts and enhance the positive ones;
- compiling a Stakeholder Engagement Plan (SEP) to identify key stakeholders and make recommendations on how Feronia should communicate and work with them to promote the successful continuing production of the plantations;
- identifying livelihood restoration activities to address any negative impact of plantation rehabilitation and to identify broader community development needs for local communities;assessing technical, cultural and other aspects that need to be addressed to ensure effective implementation of livelihood programs;
- reviewing community development needs and opportunities and make recommendations with regard to priorities, responsibilities and potential costs;ensuring food security for households through the establishment of income generating activities;
- and enhancing the ability of local communities to absorb a potential future influx of economic migration.
The full Terms of Reference for the Environmental and Social Assessment can be found atwww.feronia.com/responsibility
About Feronia Inc.
- Feronia Inc. is a large-scale commercial farmland and plantation operator in theDemocratic Republic of the Congo ("DRC")
- The Company uses modern agricultural practices to operate and develop its oil palm plantations and arable farming business division
- Feronia believes in the immense agricultural potential of the DRC for high-quality foodstuffs and edible oils given its ideal climate, excellent soil and highly skilled and experienced workforce
- Feronia's management team is comprised of senior agriculturalists with extensive experience in managing both plantations and large-scale mechanized farming operations in emerging markets
- Feronia is committed to sustainable agriculture, environmental protection and providing support for local communities
- For more information please see www.feronia.com
About Digby Wells Environmental
- Driven by the vision, "To move us from the world we live into the world we seek", Digby Wells Environmental provides environmental and social services locally in the DRC and internationally.
- Projects are undertaken in compliance with in-country legal requirements and in conformance with international standards such as the Equator Principles, International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards, and World Bank Group Guidelines, and RSPO.
- Digby Wells provides all aspects of environmental and social services throughout the entire life cycle of projects from early engagement, securing rights, pre-feasibility studies, definitive feasibility study, construction, operational phase, closure planning and implementation, as well as post-closure monitoring. The suite of services includes audits, fatal flaw assessments, gap analyses, and environmental and social management systems such as ISO 14001.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its regulation services provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.