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Corporate Social Responsibilities

SPB believes that good Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices are integral to its operations. We are committed to CSR as a sustainable approach to business that benefits all stakeholders: customers, employees, shareholders as well as communities in general. SPB aims to uphold the highest standards of environmental and social responsibility. CSR forms part of our Corporate Culture. The Company will strive to be a socially responsible citizen, meeting globally recognised corporate responsibility standards.

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2008 CSR ACTIVITIES

Environment

The Group's operations and activities are carried out in an environmentally friendly manner. Key initiatives and practices for plantation activities that are always in place include the followings;

Plantation Development

  • Zero burning when carrying out land clearing and replanting activities to ensure minimal impact to the surrounding environment. The zero burning practice also improves soil condition with emphasis on microbial functional density;
  • Construction of contour terraces in undulating to hilly terrain to reduce soil erosion;
  • Establishment of legume cover crops for soil conservation and to build up organic matter and reduce soil erosion;
  • Retain riparian buffer along the stream/river in order to preserve water quality for people living in the vicinity of development area;
  • Any sensitive areas (burial ground) shall be protected from disturbance by the project activities; and
  • Priority in hiring locals particularly those living around the project areas.

Weed management

  • Encourage natural ground covers such as nephrolepis bisserrata to minimise soil exposure and reduce weeds.

Manuring

  • Placement of pruned fronds on lips of terraces and in between inter rows to recycle organic matter and for moisture conservation;
  • Usage of compost and empty fruit bunches as alternative fertilizer to minimise the demand for inorganic fertiliser whilst maintaining the fertility of soil; and
  • Application of treated palm oil mill effluent for nutrient recycling and moisture conservation.

Pest and disease management

  • Minimise losses from known fungal diseases such as Ganoderma with a high standard of field sanitation;
  • Practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to minimize the use of toxic pesticides through the promotion of beneficial plants, natural enemies and bio-control; and
  • Maintain soft weeds in inter rows and plant beneficial plants (e.g. nectarines) for integrated pest management and control of predators.

Mill Operation

Key initiatives and practices for mill operation that are in place include:

  • Usage of lagoons and polishing system for treatment of palm oil mill effluent prior to discharge to watercourse to ensure no adverse impact to the environment;
  • Palm oil mill effluent is also used as organic fertiliser at our estates.
  • Continuous monitoring and regular stack sampling of boiler emission are always on going to ensure smoke emission is within the emission standard under the Environmental Quality Act (Clean Air).
  • Scheduled wastes are stored and disposed of in accordance with regulatory requirements imposed by Department of Environment (DOE).

WORKPLACE

Our employees currently enjoy modern living quarters in our estates and mills. The estates and mills are also equipped with modern offices supported by improved infrastructure such as roads, schools, clinics, transportation, playground, community halls and places of worship. Essential basic communication facilities are provided throughout our estates and mills.

The Group also provides educational assistance to its employees and compassionate contribution for their families as the need arises.

Requisite trainings and staff development programmes are on going and remain a key priority of the Group in developing and enhancing competencies at all levels of the workforce.

To complement the development of functional competencies, the Group believes that a healthy regime and combination of recreational and staff wellness activities will further boost and sustain a high level of performance at the workplace. In this respect, employees at all operational locations within the Group, including those at corporate and head offices, are actively involved in sports and recreational events throughout the year. Besides inter team games held amongst employees within the Group, the Company is also well represented in sports and games tournaments organised by external parties and agencies. All operational locations are equipped with games and recreational facilities to provide employees and workers with beneficial and healthy forms of off-work activities.

COMMUNITY

The Group purchases fresh fruit bunches (FFB) from the smallholders nearby the two mills of the Group. Purchase from smallholders is one of the key corporate social initiatives of the Group and provides smallholders a steady income.

In addition, the Group participates in the Native Customary Rights (NCR) joint ventures whereby the NCR land owners benefit through the development of their land into oil palm plantations. The development of NCR land will also create job opportunities and entrepreneurship for the local communities.

In February 2008, the Group participated in the Eastern Times Newspaper Press Run and contributed RM300,000 to the Yayasan SEHATI Education Fund Charitable Trust, the Association of Chinese Aided Primary Schools Kuching- Samarahan and the St. Augustine School Betong Education Fund.

In the same month, the Group donated RM35,000 to the Parents-Teachers Associations of seven schools located in its oil palm estates in Miri and Mukah. This was followed by the handing over of two water tanks for SK SLDB No.1 Mukah in June 2008.

The Group regularly undertakes community focused activities and in April 2008, at the 7th Anniversary of the Cardiac Services of Sarawak General Hospital, SPB donated RM150,000 to the Sarawak Heart Foundation fund-raising campaign.

In August 2008, our Sports and Recreation Club members (SPB employees) visited the senior citizens at Rumah Kenangan, Sibu. Our staff brought food and towels for the residents besides entertaining them with karaoke songs.

In December 2008, the Group organised Hari Raya Aidiladha Celebrations at its estates. Food and slaughtered cattle/goats were distributed to the local Muslim community adjacent to our plantation estates.

Throughout 2008, the Group gave cash contributions to less fortunate members of our community and various associations during festive celebrations, provided transportation for senior citizens seeking medical treatment in local hospitals and supported sports and religious functions organised by local communities, especially for the orphans at the breaking of fast during Ramadhan. The Group also regularly organises blood donation campaigns for the Sarawak General Hospital blood bank.

MARKETPLACE

SPB recognises the importance of effective communication with its shareholders, investors and other stakeholders. The Group ensures transparency and adheres to good corporate governance practices. SPB's corporate website provides easy access to information on the Group's financial and operations and email communications with the Group.

In addition, requisite policies and procedures are in place to ensure that business and operational conduct are executed within the expected line and requirements of business conducts and ethics.

Feedback and suggestions from the customers, suppliers and contractors are addressed promptly and follow up actions are taken accordingly.