Protecting Environment

Permata Hijau understood that the protection of the environment is the heart of all sustainable development. This is why we have formulated and implemented the following strategies:

Zero Deforestation

Forests are one of the most important biome in the world and provide many important services to the environment:

  • They are important carbon reservoirs. Research found that forests around the world contain as much as 1.3 trillion ton ton of carbon in their trees and soils. They also absorb net 7.6 billion ton of carbon dioxide every year. All of those carbon are threatened to be lost if deforestation is allowed to continue unimpeded.
  • They provide a living space for a thriving biodiversity hosting many species of plants and animals including species which are rare, threatened or endangered.

Permata Hijau fully appreciates the importance of conserving forest and therefore has committed to zero deforestation. Permata Hijau had not cleared any new land for oil palm cultivation since early 2000s. However, if we ever need to clear new land for new oil palm development, we will engage qualified and registered assessors to conduct HCV-HCS assessments and will plan our expansion following recommendations outlined in our HCV-HCS assessments.

We are committed to zero deforestation

Zero New Planting on Peat

Peatland is one the largest reservoir of carbon in the world. Although they only occupy 3% of the world’s land area, peatlands contain about 25% of the world’s soil carbon. Peatlands also support a diverse and unique biodiversity and play an important role in the water management of the area.

Permata Hijau believes that peatland should be protected and has committed to zero peat development. We will not develop new oil palm plantation on peat (following the Indonesian Interpretation of RSPO’s definition of peat) regardless of depth. Our existing plantation on peat will be managed in accordance with RSPO Best Management Practice (BMP).

Biodiversity and High Conservation Area (HCV) Protection and Conservation

Permata Hijau understood the role of HCV area in protecting the biodiversity of the area around our operations and we fully appreciate the needs and the benefits of protecting them. Consequently, we have commissioned HCV assessments for all of our plantations to identify the important environmental and social values present within the boundary of our plantations. We have also established and implemented a management and monitoring plan to protect and conserve the HCV area identified.

HCV management and monitoring are integral to our conservation strategy

Combating Climate Change

Greenhouse gases (GHG) are a group of gases whose properties allow them to absorb and retain heat from the sun. The main greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere are water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and ozone (O3). The presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere traps the heat reflected off the surface of the earth and causes an increase in ambient temperature. This warming effect allowed contemporary life forms to thrive. However, continued and uncontrolled increase in the concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases especially those caused by anthropogenic activities are threatening to cause an irreversible climate change and ultimately a runaway greenhouse effect. Actions are urgently needed to combat it.

Identification and Quantification

In Permata Hijau, we take an active stance in combating climate change. We identify all of our greenhouse gas emission sources including those from land use change and operational activities and then we quantify our greenhouse gases emission through two type of GHG emission calculation:

  • Life-cycle greenhouse gas (LC-GHG) emission calculation which aims to evaluate the GHG emission intensity of our products through life-cycle based calculator such as RSPO PalmGHG. This resulted in GHG emission intensity of 4.86 tCO2e/tCPO/tPK for our crude palm oil and palm kernel.
  • Carbon footprint (CF) calculation which aims to calculate scope 1 and scope 2 GHG emission of our entire operation following GHG Protocol calculation methodology. Our 2020 calculation resulted in scope 1 emission of 637,457 tCO2eq and scope 2 emission of 5,477 tCO2eq with total scope 1 + 2 emission of 642,934 tCO2eq. The scope 1 + 2 emission intensity of our entire operation is calculated to be 0.15 tCO2eq/tproduct.

Our land use change emission is calculated to be zero because we had not cleared any new land for oil palm cultivation since early 2000s.

GHG Emission Reduction Activities

We design our GHG emission reduction activities based on the result of our identification and quantification process. Most prominent sources of emission such as POME and land use change are prioritized. GHG emission reduction activities that we have undertaken include:

  • Installation of methane capture facilities
    • Permata Hijau is one of the earliest pioneers in Indonesia to install methane capture facilities in our palm oil mills. Our first methane capture facility was commissioned in 2008 and by 2010 all of our palm oil mills have been equipped with methane capture facilities. Three of our methane capture facilities have been registered as CDM project by UNFCCC and have since generated a total of 91,215 Certified Emission Reduction (CER) which were sold to Netherland and Switzerland through our partner AES Agriverde and to Japan through our partner Mitsubishi. The projects would have generated more CERs had the CER market not collapsed in 2012.

    • Methane capture facility in one of our unit

    • The installation of methane capture facilities in our palm oil mills is estimated to have reduced 164,000 ton CO2e of GHG emission annually.
  • NDPE commitment
    • Permata Hijau released our first Sustainability/NDPE policy in 2015, marking our commitment to zero deforestation and zero peat conversion. Even though we have not planted new oil palm since early 2000s, this policy will ensure that should we decide to expand our oil palm plantation, we will not do it in forested and peat area which will result in a much reduced land use change and peat GHG emission from our future plantation.
  • Peat best management practices
    • We practiced RSPO peat best management practices on our existing plantations on peat area. We installed a proper water management system such as water wier and water gate in our canals to maintain the water level of our peat area at the optimal 50-70 cm below the ground level. We also monitor the subsidence rate of our peat area.
  • Yield improvement
    • One of the best ways to increase production of palm oil without increasing GHG emission or other adverse impact on the environment is to increase the yield of existing palms. As our palms are reaching replanting age, we have been engaged in the replanting program. This replanting program and other improved agronomical practices are expected to boost the yield of our plantations.

Permata Hijau will continue to innovate and seek out other emission reduction opportunities in our continued fight against climate change. We understood that since we have already implemented the obvious and most impactful emission reduction programs (the low hanging fruits such as the use of biomass in our boilers, methane capture etc), the potential for further reduction is becoming more limited. As such, we have set a modest emission reduction target where we aimed to reduce our 2030 GHG emission intensity by 5% compared to our 2020 baseline.

Water Efficiency

Freshwater is a precious and limited resource. Even though our operations are located in the tropical area with abundant rainfall and freshwater resources, Permata Hijau still consider water efficiency as an important aspect in our sustainability management because we understood that plentiful is not the same as unlimited.

Our water use in 2020 is 9.6 million m3 with water use intensity of 2.2 m3/ton products. To reduce our water use intensity we have implemented various programs such as rainwater collection, reject water reuse, waterless cleaning of accidental oil spill (utilizing fibres), waste water recycling etc. While these programs have contributed to the decrease in our water use intensity over the years, we will not rest but will continue to innovate and seek out ways to further reduce our water use intensity.

We aim to reduce our 2030 water use intensity by 5% compared to our 2020 level.

Proper Waste water Management

Permata Hijau attaches great importance to the proper treatment of the wastewater generated by our operations. While the common practice of the palm oil mills is to treat the palm oil mill effluent (POME) in a series of open lagoons, we went beyond the requirement and built methane capture plants to complement the lagoons. Aside from reducing GHG emission by capturing and destroying the methane generated, the methane capture plant also reduce the odor generated by the wastewater treatment process.

Conventional waste water treatment facility in one of our unit

For our downstream operations such as refinery, we have constructed wastewater treatment plants combining chemical and biological treatment to treat our palm oil refinery effluent (PORE) and reduce its pollution load.

All of these treatment systems for POME as well as PORE ensured that our wastewater have met the specified legal limit. This is evidenced in our facilities obtaining PROPER BIRU awards from the government signifying full compliance to all environmental regulations.

Downstream wastewater treatment facility in one of our unit
Proper Biru certificate

Peat Management

We observe a policy of zero peat development and manage our existing plantation on peat in accordance with the RSPO Best Management Practice (BMP). We have constructed water control structures (such as water weir and water gate) to maintain the water level at the recommended 50-70 cm below ground surface and have installed water level gauges and piezometers to measure and ensure that the water level is maintained at the recommended level.

Water control structure
Peat Canal

We also installed peat subsidence pole to measure the subsidence rate of the peat.

Peat subsidence pole

Lastly, we evaluate the long term viability of our existing peat area and conduct a peat drainability assessment before any replanting activities in our peat area.

Soil Management

We strive to maintain the health and the structure of the soil of our plantations. We return the fronds and other biomass from palm oil processing such as boiler ash and decanter solid to replenish the nutrient content of the soil. In areas with young palm (which is apt to happen in plantation undergoing replanting) we establish ground cover using cover crops such as Mucuna Bracteata to prevent erosion.

Proper Chemical Use and Waste Management

The use of chemicals such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is an unavoidable facet of plantation operations. However, it can adversely impact the environment in and around our operations. Groundwater contamination from chemicals leaching through the soil and surface water contamination due to the runoff from the rain are the two main environmental concerns. Additionally, the use of chemicals can also negatively impact the health of our workers who handle their use.

To minimize the adverse impact of the use of chemicals on the environment as well as on the health of our workers, we have implemented the following strategies:

  • Reduction of chemical use
    • Our current chemical use intensity (fertilizer+pesticide) is 0.97 ton/ha and we aim to reduce it in the future through the following strategy:
      • Controlled use of fertilizer
        • Our manuring programs are based on agronomic recommendations taking into account the result of soil and leaf analyses. This approach minimizes waste and ineffective fertilizer application. We also make extensive use of the organic waste from our palm oil mills such as boiler ashes, decanter solids as well as palm oil mill effluent through land application system. Those wastes contain a good amount of valuable macronutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus as well important micronutrients such as iron, zinc, copper etc.

          Our land application systems recycle the nutrient present in POME back into the plantation

      • Implementation of integrated pest managements (IPM)
        • Integrated pest managements utilize natural and organic means to control pests thus reducing the need of chemical pesticides.

        • We utilized barn owl (Tyto Alba) to help us control the rat population in our plantations
          Allamanda flower (Allamanda Cathartica) is useful in fostering beneficial insect species

        We plant Mucuna Bracteata as natural control of weeds. Mucuna also provide Nitrogen to the palms thus reducing the use of nitrogen fertilizer

  • Restriction on the use of more dangerous chemicals such as the pesticides classified by WHO as Class 1a and 1b and those listed in Stockholm and Rotterdam convention
  • Proper handling of hazardous waste by providing a well built and well equipped temporary hazardous waste storage facility and engaging certified third parties to transport and dispose of the hazardous waste

  • Hazardous waste temporary storage in one of our unit
    Our hazardous waste are handled by certified third party transporters

  • Provision of proper protective gear to our chemical handling workers and mandating their use in chemical handling activities

  • All of our workers are equipped with proper protective equipments