SOPB Group is absolutely committed to be at the forefront of environmental protection spearheaded by good agricultural practices. We seek to produce oil palm products sustainably and concurrently to be a good steward of the natural resources in our landscape. We will uphold the policy of no new development on land with High Conservation Value (HCV). These HCV areas will be identified prior to any new development of oil palm plantations.
No Deforestation of HCV Areas, Identification and Protection of HCV Areas
We will uphold the policy of no new development on land with High Conservation Value (HCV). These HCV areas will be identified by appointed licensed HCV assessors and earmarked for conservation prior to any new development of oil palm plantations
Integrated Approach for HCV and HCSA Assessments for New Development Areas
SOPB's management is committed to no new development of jungle areas prior to HCV assessment with the policy to suspend all new development from 1st July 2018.
New development areas will undergo integrated HCV and High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) assessments to determine areas appropriate for planting, after considering the Agriculture and Land Use Policy of Sarawak and Malaysia with planting priority given to low carbon stock areas such as grasslands and shrub areas which have no demonstrable HCV and that Free, Prior and Informed Consent ("FPIC") has been obtained from the land title owners.
No New Development on Peat Regardless of Depth
The Group has stopped all new development on peat since 2010 as a way to demonstrate our commitment to address concerns over environmental impacts to peat due to agriculture developments.
Peat management has been a focus for the Group's plantation operations as we continue to identify gaps for improvements. Existing plantations on peat are managed in accordance with the industry's best practices including RSPO Manual on Best Management Practices for Existing Oil Palm Cultivation on Peat, MPOB Guidelines for the Development of a Standard Operating Procedure for Oil Palm Cultivation on Peat and site-specific approaches to peat management which are imbedded in our in-house Agricultural Manual.
Reduction of GHG Emission
SOPB has adopted the ISCC 205 for the calculation of GHG emission in all our agricultural, milling and downstream operations. We will continue to monitor and reduce the GHG emission through our Best Management Practices for each operational unit in a sensible and sustainable manner.
A significant way to reduce GHG emission is the installation of biogas plants at our palm oil mills (POM). The first biogas plant has commenced operation in April 2020 at Metanik POM.
An alternate approach to GHG reduction is the Methane Avoidance Method through a Belt Press Facility or a Dewatering System which minimises requirement for land space and reduce the amount of methane gas released to the environment. In addition, the solid removed contains nutrients which are recycled as field organic fertilizer which helps to reduce the usage of inorganic fertilizer. We have installed either one of these systems at 4 POMs depending on their site suitability and cost-effectiveness.
As for our palms' by-products, we ensure that all agricultural wastes, biomass or mill by-products are either recycled or safely disposed of in accordance with approved procedures and that they do not cause any pollution.
The empty fruit bunches (EFB), a by-product of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) after processing into palm oil are combusted and utilised as an alternative energy to fossil fuel to power our steam turbine plants for the production of electricity.
Besides improving on energy efficiency, SOPB will continue to explore the utilization of alternatives such as biodiesel and solar power.
No Burning on New Development and Replanting
The No Burning commitment is mandated in our Environmental Sustainability Policy and stipulated in our Agriculture Manual on Good Agricultural Practices. We are committed to No Burning in all plantation activities including new planting and replanting.
For replanting which involves clearing, the old palm trees are felled, chipped and left in situ to decompose which helps the soil to rejuvenate naturally. This also helps to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions and prevent air pollutions from burning.