Pahang, 30 January 2019 – Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (SDP), the world’s largest producer of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), today celebrates the successful completion of its ‘Jentar Plant-A-Tree’ project – a biodiversity conservation initiative that includes the largest collection of Endangered, Rare and Threatened (ERT) tree species in a single oil palm plantation area in Malaysia, and possibly South East Asia.
A total of 60 threatened species such as the Vatica Lobata (Resak Paya) which were previously difficult to grow, are now flourishing on a 160 hectares of land set aside by the Company within its Jentar Estate in Temerloh, Pahang.
In total, SDP’s Jentar Plant-A-Tree project contributes over 136,000 trees to more than 1.5 million trees already planted under four major projects supported and commenced by SDP more than 10 years ago in collaboration with Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD). These projects comprise the Sime Darby Plant-A-Tree (SDPAT) programme; the reforestation and rehabilitation of Orang Utan habitats in Northern Ulu Segama with the Sabah Forestry Department; the Kinabatangan RiLeaf Project with Nestlé Malaysia; and the peat swamp protection and rehabilitation project in the Raja Musa Forest Reserve with Global Environment Centre (GEC), a Malaysian registered Non-Profit Organisation established in 1998 to work on environmental issues of global importance.
“As a responsible corporate citizen, Sime Darby Plantation is a firm believer in conducting business in a sustainable manner and contributing to a better world by going beyond normal standards and obligations. Our Jentar Plant-A-Tree project was mooted with the aim of enhancing the natural habitats and increasing the biodiversity value within our estate in the long run. Today, we are proud to witness how the fruits of our hard work can help to rejuvenate forests and conserve Malaysia’s rich forest biodiversity and heritage of indigenous trees,” said Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha, SDP’s Deputy to Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer, Upstream.
The project site is located in close proximity with the adjacent Krau Wildlife Forest Reserve, and is now serving as an arboretum of rainforest trees and ERT species. This will potentially benefit the surrounding ecosystem and the intricate relationship between wildlife in the area and their natural habitat, as well as provide researchers, students, NGOs and governmental agencies with access to precious ERT seedlings.
According to Mohamad Helmy, the project also demonstrates SDP’s initiative to enhance certain areas that have been set aside within its operations for conservation purposes. This helps to improve the Company’s carbon footprint while increasing carbon sequestration, complementing SDP’s commitments under its Responsible Agriculture Charter.
Conservation Set-Aside (CSA) areas such as the SDP Jentar Plant-A-Tree project site are conservation areas within plantation operations that are required to be conserved by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Principles & Criteria (P&C). These areas include, among others, riparian zones, steep slopes and forest boundary reserves. In addition to CSA areas and in compliance with RSPO’s P&C, SDP’s operations also maintain High Conservation Value (HCV) areas whereby biological, ecological, social or cultural values are outstandingly significant or critically important. To date, the Company is maintaining more than 3,560 ha of HCV areas and 2,125 ha of CSA areas within its Malaysian operations.
“In line with the ‘Love Malaysian Palm Oil’ campaign recently launched by the Ministry of Primary Industries, we believe it is important for industry players to not only commit to No-Deforestation but to also ask how they can be a part of sustainable solution to the issue. This is what we aim to achieve through our Plant-A-Tree initiative as we aspire to further strengthen Malaysian Palm Oil sustainability credentials,” added SDP’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Dr. Simon Lord.
Instrumental to the success of the SDP’s Jentar Plant-A-Tree project is Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD), the Company’s philanthropic arm which provided a fund of over RM4.1 million throughout the project’s five-year, 10-month period since its commencement in March 2013.
In commemorating SDP’s Jentar Plant-A-Tree project, a closing ceremony of the project was held at Jentar Estate and attended by Ms Caroline Christine Russell, Governing Council Member of YSD as the guest of honour. Also in attendance were Dato’ Samsu Anuar Nawi, Deputy Director of Pahang Forestry Department and Dato’ Dr Abd Latif Mohmod, Director General of Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), the government agency which was instrumental in providing the seedlings of the trees planted by SDP for the project.
Russell said the Foundation is proud of its involvement in the biodiversity conservation project, which aligns with the objectives of YSD’s Environmental pillar of ecosystems conservation, environmental awareness and sustainable development.
“For more than a decade, YSD has been working with Sime Darby Plantation in collaboration with other partners, planting more than 1.5 million trees to date to conserve the environment. We could not have achieved this without Sime Darby Plantation’s strong support, dedication and commitment towards environmental protection and conservation. They have consistently allocated their precious resources and valuable technical expertise into our projects,” she expressed.
“I am confident that the SDPAT project in Jentar will serve as a guide for corporate conservation efforts, inspire the future generation to care about our native trees and continue to preserve all that is unique in this home we call Malaysia,” she said.
Dato’ Dr Abd Latif Mohmod said, “In our mission to protect Malaysia’s national assets and natural heritage, FRIM welcomes partnerships with like-minded organisations to ensure the conservation and sustainability of our forests and biodiversity richness. We are indeed pleased to be working with Sime Darby Plantation on this project and we look forward to the further regeneration and conservation of these rare tree species which are an essential part of the country’s precious flora and fauna. We believe the achievement today will make a significant impact to the forest conservation initiatives elsewhere in our Country.”
At the ceremony, a handbook for visitors containing information of all the ERT species available at the project site area was also launched.