Sustainability

Goldtree approaches staff, the surrounding communities and the environment with a sense of accountability and applies that responsibility to everyday practices.

Prior to operations starting, an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment was carried out. An Environmental and Social Management Plan was developed through this study, which includes a Community Development Action Plan. These plans guide management on developmental, environmental and social aspects of Goldtree’s operations.

Governance and transparency

Goldtree recognises its responsibilities to workers, communities and investors, and believes that to transform agriculture in Sierra Leone, management must be accountable and transparent. Goldtree has the potential to have a profound effect on the wellbeing and wealth of the people of Sierra Leone.

To achieve this, Goldtree has committed to:

– Creating self-sufficiency in agriculture. When Africa is freed from its dependence on imported food, the benefits to every individual will be immense.

– Leading the way in environmental management. The scale of our operations gives us an important responsibility – and opportunity – to showcase responsible environmental management across our farming operations.

Goldtree has committed to the following practices:

– Zero deforestation. Goldtree will not destroy primary rainforest or any land that has a high conservation value.

– Goldtree will not farm on greenfield lands.

– The Company will maintain an area for wildlife reserves integrated into the design of its plantations.

– Water quality is protected and recognised as integral to the health of the wider environment.

 

Supporting the company workforce and surrounding communities.

Goldtree recognises the value of indigenous peoples as the most valuable asset, and aims to benefit local communities by providing employment and advancement opportunities.

As part of its ongoing commitment to strengthening environmental and social standards and enhancing community facilities, Goldtree has developed, in conjunction with independent specialists, an Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) which it is in the process of implementing.

Environmental and social policy statement

Goldtree is committed to meeting the needs of its customers, consumers, suppliers, employees and communities in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner. The company commits to ensuring continuous improvement of all its environmental and social performance in its operational activities.

Goldtree management believes that, while it can achieve much within its own business, sustainable development is best pursued through partnership. Therefore, Goldtree will work towards the improvement of knowledge, dissemination of best practice and a common programme of action where appropriate.

Goldtree will work in partnership with local groups and communities to understand our social and environmental impact and imperatives.

 

Goldtree is committed to the preservation of its environmental surroundings through:

– assessing all environmental impacts associated with from its business activities by undertaking detailed studies, in accordance with international best practice;

– developing processes and practices which reduce environmental risks and impacts to an acceptable level; and

– developing systems for environmental management as part of its day-to-day operational practice and implementing ongoing management controls and reporting procedures to all stakeholders.

 

Goldtree is committed to maintaining its social licence to operate through:

– assessing all social impacts by undertaking detailed studies by country experts on its surrounding community and employees;

– ensuring the safety of its products and operations in order to operate in a sustainable manner;

– where feasible, the company will require its customers, partners and suppliers within the supply chain to adopt the same level of environmental and social practice; and

– ensuring employees, contractors and suppliers are aware of the Company’s environmental and social policy and are motivated and empowered to apply it through the necessary education, training and support.

 

Goldtree will adhere to the criteria set by country legislation as well as good international industry practice, as reflected in various internationally recognised sources, including the World Bank Group Environmental, Health and Safety Guidelines and the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

The Company is committed to the principles and criteria of the RSPO aiming to become a member and acquire ISO 14001 certification in the near future.

Goldtree will work with industry bodies, government agencies and other relevant organisations to promote environmental and social care, increase knowledge and disseminate best practice.

The Company has committed to providing the information and advice necessary for the safe production, use and disposal of its products.

Goldtree will monitor and review the performance of the Company’s environmental and social policy and management plans on an annual basis with its shareholders.

Responsible sustainable palm oil

Goldtree has committed to adhering to the Eight Principles of the RSPO Growers:

1. A commitment to all relevant stakeholders to be transparent about all its operations.

2. Operating in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

3. Commitment to the long-term economic and financial viability of the Company.

4. Use of appropriate best practices as agreed by the RSPO.

5. Goldtree will be environmentally responsible and conserve natural resources and biodiversity.

6. Responsibility for its employees, and for individuals and communities affected by Goldtree’s operations.

7. New planting will be undertaken in a responsible manner.

8. A firm commitment to continuous improvement of its key activities.

Employment

Goldtree provides a commercial outlet for the oil palm fruit production of 7,500 farmers located in its catchment area. In addition, the Company provides direct employment for more than 400 people, as well as contracting opportunities for transport and construction.

Training and skills development

 For more than 20 years, there has been no formal employment in the palm oil sector in Kailahun District, leaving a significant skills gap to be filled. On-the-job training has been implemented by experienced trainers. This structured programme will be improved and developed to cater for future growth in operations and changing technologies. The smooth transition from the construction and rehabilitation phase of Goldtree’s evolution to the operational phase is testament to the success of the training programme.

Outgrower farmers have also benefited from the TAF Outgrower Support Programme, a two-year project that has trained over 450 people in outgrower communities on best practices in farm maintenance, pruning and harvesting.

Infrastructure

The roads that service the oil palm outgrower areas are crucial for the prompt transfer of fresh fruit bunches from farms to the Goldtree mill. To this end, the Company has implemented a programme to upgrade and maintain these roads, as well as installing and repairing bridges and culverts.

Ebola

In May 2014, the presence of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) was confirmed in Sierra Leone. Despite the tragic loss of many lives in the country and the disruption to normal life, Goldtree, having taken advice from the Ministry of Health & Sanitation and Médecins Sans Frontières, continued to operate throughout the crisis. Strict internal protocols were implemented to mitigate the risk for people and the Company followed government regulations to prevent the spread of the disease.

The Company made a donation of palm oil to the World Food Programme and AAF’s fund manager, Phatisa, made a cash donation to Médecins Sans Frontières.