We continually seek to further reduce our environmental impact through efficiencies in water consumption and waste management. We recognize conservation of water as a natural resource which will be affected by climate change. This will adversely impact the plantation industry and also the livelihood of all communities. Water scarcity is a significant risk related to the productivity and sustainable success of our company, and the community surrounding our operation area. Palm oil production yield is affected significantly during droughts, with decreases which can go on for at least two years. For edamame, drought may mean total failure of one harvesting season in the related area.
In line with our Sustainability Policy about natural resource conservation and our strategy to mitigate climate change, the Board of Directors has tasked the Vice President Director to initiate policies and implement initiatives to mitigate this climate emergency. The topic is incorporated into our regular risk assessments and business strategy, which is assessed and monitored continuously throughout the year. In every board meeting we will discuss the progress and new development of water management risk and its mitigation efforts, which i.e. include building river bunds, water gate, water efficiency efforts, keeping moisture in the soil, water recycling program, etc.
Our main water usage is for the processing of palm oil. We only use fresh surface water as our source of water, comprised of surface water, rainwater reservoirs, and rainwater harvesting. After consumption, the wastewater is then discharged to surface water or, in the case of POME, processed and reused.
We have issued policies for water conservation and develop task forces to implement water management programs. We also set tools for monitoring and measurement of water usage, as well as reporting metrics of water use and savings. We also engage an external auditor for Water Management, to monitor water intensity and trend and to provide recommendation for continuous improvements.
Water intensity in palm oil plantations highly depends on estate productivity, which is significantly influenced by the age profile of oil palm trees. Newly matured area in new planting or replanting will have low productivity, which may result in a water intensity increase per ton of CPO produced.
Until today there are no generally accepted standard of measurement of water usage by trees, so the measurement of our efforts for water efficiency is focused on water use from processing activities in our mills.
We are developing and looking for technologies that can facilitate water use reduction in our operational process by 5% by 2027 compared to 2020*. It is our ambition to achieve 1 ton of water for each ton of fresh fruit bunch (FFB) processed by 2027, which is lower than the industry standard of 1.5 ton of water per ton of FFB. Compared to the 2015 base year, where the water intensity was 1.96 metric ton per ton of FFB processed in our palm oil mills, our water intensity target represents a 49% reduction of water use per ton of FFB. This target does not include measurements of wastewater, which, if accounted, will show a lower intensity.
The progress of the water efficiency journey in our palm oil mills can be seen in the table below. We managed a 44.49% reduction of water intensity in 2021 compared to the base year, which represents an 88% progress to our 2027 target.
We also implement water efficiency programs in our edamame and sago operations. We recycle the wastewater from our edamame and sago operations where possible. At GMIT we use reverse osmosis to filter and reuse water which is used in the edamame washing process. At our sago business (ANJAP) we recycle water which is used in the process of extracting starch and sago fiber.
(All data are accurate as of 31 December 2021)
*Note: This target, previously expressed in our public reports, such as our 2021 Sustainability Report, has been reformulated in July 2022 to improve its clarity and accuracy.