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Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

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Case study: How GAR protects biodiversity

Listed on the Singapore Exchange since 1999, GAR is a leading global integrated palm oil plantation company, whose primary activities are located in Indonesia and range from cultivating and harvesting oil palm trees, to refining crude palm oil (CPO) into industrial and consumer products. Forest protection and biodiversity conservation have been a key focus of GAR’s environmental efforts, for many years.  Tweet This!

This case study is based on the 2018 Sustainability Report by GAR published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Over the years, GAR has implemented a number of initiatives aimed at forest conservation and biodiversity protection, identifying and conserving 72,000 hectares of land made up of High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests and High Conservation Value (HCV) areas. In order to protect biodiversity GAR took action to:

  • preserve and protect HCV areas
  • educate stakeholders on biodiversity protection
  • prevent fires

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2018 Sustainability Report GAR identified a range of material issues, such as labour relations and human rights, occupational health and safety and employee wellbeing, rights of communities and indigenous peoples, corporate governance, ethics and integrity. Among these, protecting biodiversity stands out as a key material issue for GAR.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process s of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups GAR engages with:                       

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Customers and consumers

 

·      Multi-stakeholder forums and industry groups

·      GAR website

·      Social media

·      GAR Sustainability Dashboard

·      Presentations and meetings

·      Field visits

·      Consumer Focus group discussions

·      Monthly e-update

·      Annual Report

·      Sustainability Report

·      Materiality assessment

Employees

 

·      Annual appraisals

·      Townhall meetings

·      Celebration of major festivals

·      HR Training/e-learning & testing

·      Internal campaigns e.g. International Women’s Day

·      Trade union meetings

·      GAR website

·      GAR Sustainability Dashboard

·      Social media

·      Materiality assessment

Financial community (investors, banks,

financial analysts)

 

·      Quarterly analyst briefings

·      One-on-one communication

·      Field visits

·      Monthly e-update

·      GAR website

·      GAR Sustainability Dashboard

·      Social media

·      Annual Report

·      Sustainability Report

·      Webinar

·      Materiality assessment

Governments and Regulatory bodies ·      One-on-one meetings

·      Field visits

·      Multi-stakeholder forums and events

·      GAR website

·      GAR Sustainability Dashboard

·      Annual Report

·      Sustainability Report

·      Webinar

·      Materiality assessment

Industry bodies and

trade associations

·      HCV/HCS Working groups

·      HCSA Board meeting

·      Executive committee meetings

·      Multi-stakeholder forums and events

·      Materiality assessment

Local communities ·      Participatory Mapping and Participatory Conservation approach and community development programmes

·      Complaint handling, grievance procedures and conflict resolution mechanisms

·      Dialogue and consultation with community groups and representatives

·      Community programmes

·      Outreach programmes to combat fire and haze

Media ·      One-on-one communication

·      GAR website

·      GAR Sustainability Dashboard

·      Social media

·      Field visits

·      Briefings and interviews

·      Articles and op-eds

·      Multi-stakeholder forums events

·      Monthly e-update

·      Annual Report

·      Sustainability Report

·      Materiality assessments

Civil Society

Organisations (CSOs)

·      Multi-stakeholder forums and events

·      GAR website

·      GAR Sustainability Dashboard

·      Social media

·      One-on-one communication

·      Monthly e-update

·      Annual Report

·      Sustainability Report

·      Webinar

·      Materiality assessment

Suppliers ·      Supplier Support Team and dedicated e-helpline

·      One-on-one communication

·      Workshops and training sessions

·      Site visits

·      Questionnaires and self-assessments

·      GAR website

·      GAR Sustainability Dashboard

·      Social media

·      Annual Report

·      Sustainability Report

·      Materiality assessment

Certification bodies:

RSPO, ISPO, ISCC

·      Working groups

·      One-on-one meetings

·      RSPO Roundtable meetings

·      RSPO ACOP

·      ISCC Report

·      Materiality assessment

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics GAR engaged with its stakeholders through surveys – 170 surveys sent to internal stakeholders and 300 surveys sent to external stakeholders – and interviews.

What actions were taken by GAR to protect biodiversity?

In its 2018 Sustainability Report GAR reports that it took the following actions for protecting biodiversity:

  • Preserving and protecting HCV areas
  • Operating in Indonesia places GAR in or near areas of rich biodiversity. Through HCV (High Conservation Value) assessments conducted by licensed HCV assessors, GAR identified the rare and endangered species within its concessions and surrounding areas, including threatened species under Indonesia’s National Law of Protected Species (Indonesian Government Regulation No. 7 of 1999) or on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red list. GAR continues to work to preserve and protect HCV areas, and implements a strict Zero Tolerance Policy towards hunting, injuring, possessing and killing of rare and endangered wildlife.
  • Educating stakeholders on biodiversity protection
  • GAR continuously educates its employees, local communities and related stakeholders on the importance of protecting rare and endangered species. GAR also continues to work on orangutan conservation as a special focus area, and renewed its partnership with Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) to rehabilitate and release wild-born, formerly captive primates. GAR aims to release another 60 orangutans by 2021 back into the wild, specifically back to the Seruyan Forest in Central Kalimantan. Most importantly, the new partnership agreement focuses on local community and school education programmes on orangutan conservation.
  • Preventing fires
  • GAR continues to maintain its vigilance on fire prevention and management and has over 10,000 fire fighters on standby across all its plantations. Outside its own concessions, GAR implements its community collaboration programme on long-term fire prevention – Desa Makmur Peduli Api (DMPA) – which, in 2018, was rolled out to 15 more villages. Aside from training and equipping local community members to suppress fires rapidly, GAR also works with schools to educate the younger generation and drive long-term change in the community. Noting that in 2018 there was an increase in fire incidents involving some of the original pilot villages, GAR strengthened mitigation plans and focused on:
    • Prevention: raise fire prevention awareness, community empowerment and improve water management system
    • Preparedness: have well-trained and well-equipped personnel and improve infrastructure
    • Early warning systems: hot spot maps; effective and efficient fire patrol systems; implementation of rating system for potential for fires
    • Quick response teams

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 304-1 Operational sites owned, leased, managed in, or adjacent to, protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value outside protected areas

2) Disclosure 304-2 Significant impacts of activities, products, and services on biodiversity

3) Disclosure 304-3 Habitats protected or restored

4) Disclosure 304-4 IUCN Red List species and national conservation list species with habitats in areas affected by operations

 

Disclosure 304-1 Operational sites owned, leased, managed in, or adjacent to, protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value outside protected areas corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Business theme: Water-related ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Business theme: Marine biodiversity
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Business theme: Mountain ecosystems, Natural habitat degradation, Terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems

Disclosure 304-2 Significant impacts of activities, products, and services on biodiversity corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Business theme: Water-related ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Business theme: Marine biodiversity
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Business theme: Mountain ecosystems, Natural habitat degradation, Terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems

Disclosure 304-3 Habitats protected or restored corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Business theme: Water-related ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Business theme: Marine biodiversity
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Business theme: Mountain ecosystems, Natural habitat degradation, Terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems

Disclosure 304-4 IUCN Red List species and national conservation list species with habitats in areas affected by operations corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Business theme: Water-related ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Business theme: Marine biodiversity
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Business theme: Mountain ecosystems, Natural habitat degradation, Terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems

 

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SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

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References:

1) This case study is based on published information by GAR, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning.  If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to GAR: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.

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