Feronia PHC is committed to strengthening community relations through the implementation of a Community Development Programme (CDP) that will enable local populations to derive development benefits from the Company's operations, and will address possible negative impacts of the Company's activities on local communities.
The CDP also aims to advance the Company's operations more efficiently, harmoniously and sustainably by fostering a relationship with local communities as partners in mutual development that is based upon an ethos of transparency and ongoing dialogue.
The policy outlined in this document is used to guide the CDP to ensure that it meets community needs, is sustainable, is aligned with Company priorities, and conforms to the social and environmental performance standards of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and the World Bank International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Feronia PHC is committed to delivering a CDP that is:
- Feronia PHC will ensure that community development support will benefit both the local community and the Company so that the potential impacts for all stakeholders can be assessed.
- The Company will focus on key areas that will have a lasting and measurable impact, and which can be justified by the social studies undertaken so far.
- Before taking action, the risks and opportunities of the proposed interventions will be assessed.
- Priorities will be selected on the basis of the risks and impacts identified in the basic social studies, Environmental and Social Assessments (ESAs), the Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP), and environmental and social audits.
- The programme will also be aligned with other social management plans, including the Stakeholder Engagement Plan.
- The local populations and stakeholders will be involved in identifying areas of intervention, programme management and evaluation processes, and project implementation.
- The programme will involve all segments of the local population in the selection, management, implementation and evaluation of interventions, including vulnerable groups, which include (but are not limited to): indigenous peoples, women, the unemployed, the retired, the illiterate, and those outside the village chief's circle.
- Community consultations will be both formalised (through the establishment of CDP Committees) and informal (with a mechanism to manage spontaneous requests) and will be documented in the Company's computerised information management system.
- In order to carry out the projects, Feronia will source skills and support as locally as possible in sofar as the skills required are found in the locality and will not affect the quality or duration of the project.
- In order of priority, preference will be given to the recruitment of members of the local community to deliver projects. If the required skills are not found in the local communities, Feronia will endeavour to engage and partner with local NGOs in accordance with the Company NGO Engagement Policy. If the necessary specialisations are still not found in local NGOs, the Company will endeavour to use the services of individuals or organisations as close as possible to its area of influence.
- The process will be transparent in that the Company will provide evidence to justify its decisions on the selection of the party/parties who will deliver projects.
- Priority will be given to projects with the possibility to empower local populations and so the emphasis will be placed on long-term projects that will not require continuous support from the Company.
- No major project will start without a viable disengagement strategy. If necessary, the transfer of responsibility will be undertaken by a third party so as to ensure the sustainability of the project/goods/services.
- The selection of community development projects can be a sensitive issue and may accidentally stir up latent conflicts due to competition for benefits and perceptions of favoritism. Feronia PHC will therefore take special care to advocate peacebuilding principles when selecting and designing projects.
- The selection and delivery of projects will not materially affect local environment (incl biodiversity) or disadvantage other memebers of the community.
- The programme will be evaluated from both the Company's and the beneficiary population's perspective, using impact indicators that are as objective as possible, in addition to the subjective opinions of the parties involved.
- The findings and perceptions that emerge from the evaluations will be incorporated into the next programme schedule to ensure continuous improvement.
- Of Common Interest
- Interventions will benefit a wide range of people. They will not benefit a single person, a single family, or a very small group of individuals.
- Interventions will strengthen good relations, without any negative or oppressive intention against other groups or individuals.
- Projects will be designed and implemented so that they maximise the project's potential for success and minimise the possibility that a single individual or small group might benefit at the expense of the general community's interests. To this end, support will always be in the form of goods, services or sponsorships, and never in cash. The timing and approach to the distribution of benefits will be assessed before project implementation.
- The programme will include a mix of proactive approaches (initiated by the Company) and responsive approaches (in response to spontaneous community demands).
- The programme will include a mix of interventions, including rapid support, long-term investments, and discretionary funding to meet emerging needs. Emphasis will be placed on medium- and long-term initiatives, as recommended by international good practice.
- The success of the CDP will depend on the establishment of regular, open communication between the Company and stakeholders.
- The CDP, will be readily accessible to stakeholders and the Company will undertake activities to promote mutual understanding of its methodology, policies and procedures.
- An overview of the approaches to development, implementation and evaluation of support will be documented and available to all stakeholders who wish to access them.
- Other than the Company’s official community liaison (Area Social Manager - ASM), no third parties, employees, contractors or consultants of Feronia PHC, can promise or undertake community development support on behalf of the Company without first evaluating the project to ensure that it is aligned with the Community Development Policy of Feronia PHC, and without going through the normal project identification, selection and authorisation process.
- All interventions must be derived from the CDP to ensure programme consistency and to avoid compromising the approaches and relationships local community relations staff have with populations.
- All requests received by third parties and employees, contractors or consultants of Feronia PHC, whether verbal or written, formal or informal, must be communicated to the community liaison (Area Social Manager - ASM) and must pass through the formal approval process..
- Promoting Independence
- The Company is in no way responsible for theft or damage related to community projects. The beneficiary communities will be responsible for monitoring and protecting the property or infrastructure provided (by agreement signed by both parties).
- Before a project is initiated, the beneficiary communities will explain how they intend to manage, maintain and / or repair the equipment provided.
- Priority will be given to projects that are least dependent on ongoing Company involvement, unless they are long-term projects with obvious and significant benefits for the vast majority of the community and have a clear disengagement strategy.
- Expectations in terms of management, maintenance, repair and protection of assets or infrastructures related to support will be explained in a contract.
- All projects will require some form of commitment from the beneficiary community, and where possible, will also involve local administrative authorities.
Application and monitoring
ESG personnel are also responsible for recording all CDP-related data, including any concerns expressed by communities (either informally during spontaneous interviews or through formal mechanisms such as the Company grievance process. ESG personnel will be required to promptly report these concerns and any emerging issues to the ESG Committee.
This Community Development policy is overseen by the Company's Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) Committee and implemented by the ESG staff, in collaboration with other departments within Feronia PHC.
Feronia is committed to improving the capacity of ESG staff with regards to international best practices for community development, with a view to fostering their success in the implementation of the CDP.