Feronia prides itself on being the guardian of our 107 year-old palm oil business and a force for good in the way that we employ people, manage our plantations and support local communities.
We are committed to supporting the long term growth of the DRC and at the heart of this lies our responsibility towards sustainable development. We know that operating in a resource effective way, protecting the environment, taking care of our workforce as well as being a catalyst for wider community development makes sense for the longevity of our company – and that this will have a lasting impact beyond our business.
Our sustainability approach focuses on the following six areas:
We’ve already taken steps to regenerate our plantations, refurbish social infrastructure and improve working conditions. We’ve raised over $100 million of finance which has enabled us to secure the jobs of over 3, 800 of our employees as well as implement urgent improvements to infrastructure, processing facilities and to initiate plantation management improvements. In 2014, we worked with the six unions that represent our workers to revise a twenty year old collective agreement. The revised agreement details improvements to pay, benefits and general terms of employment and is part of our commitment to improve the livelihoods of our employees and their families for the long term. Through our commitment to only replant on areas previously planted with oil palm, we’ve also committed to zero deforestation of natural forest on the plantations, and are working on health, education, water and sanitation programmes.
RSPO certification is a critical management target and the measurement of RSPO Principles, Criterias and Indicators are key components within our ESG management system with progress tracked against our Environmental and Social Action Plan. The application of RSPO to a rehabilitation project such as that being undertaken by Feronia is a unique and hugely complex challenge and, whilst achieveing certification is taking longer than originally envisaged, we remain committed to achieve RSPO certification for all three of our plantations at the earliest practical opportunity. Whilst the work to achieve certification is ongoing, the Company, its shareholders and other stakeholders remain fully committed to delivering the social, environmental and sustainability objectives and standards required under RSPO.
Looking ahead, our sustainability strategy is built upon three core pillars- ‘our people’, ‘our plantations’, and ‘our communities’. We recognise that this is a journey and that our plans will evolve over time as a consequence of interactions with our employees, local communities and wider stakeholders. We are committed to making a significant positive impact across all of our activities.