Feronia strongly believes that sustainable development underpins better business performance and is a core part of our bottom line. We also believe that every business has a responsibility to operate in a sustainable way. There are three elements of our company which are material to achieving our sustainable development goals - taking care of our workforce, promoting environmental stewardship at our plantations and continuing to improve the livelihoods and well-being of both our employees and our neighbouring communities.
As highlighted on our progress page, we’ve already taken steps to regenerate our plantations, refurbish social infrastructure and improve working conditions. Progress has been tracked against our Environmental and Social Action Plan – developed in order to bring ourselves up to global environmental and social standards. We’re also ambitious about achieving RSPO certification for all three of our plantations, starting with Yaligimba which we anticipate achieving in 2017.
Our sustainability strategy focusses on three core pillars ‘our people’,‘our plantations’, and ‘our communities’.
We place great importance on the quality, health and well-being of our workforce. We want our people to feel engaged with their work and motivated to achieve their potential. We are working hard to create the right environment to do this.
Key priorities and how we plan to address them
- Increasing wages of all employees by at least 3% annually for each full year of continuous service in the company.
- Continuing to pay a traditional 13th and 14th month salary in a lump sum cash bonus to all employees until 1 January 2017 to ensure that all employees continue to receive total cash benefits of at least the minimum wage.
- Raising base wage levels exclusive of cash bonuses for all employees to at least 100% of the minimum wage levels prescribed by DRC agricultural law by January 2017 whilst maintaining a high standard of additional employee benefits.
- Continue the rehabilitation and construction of all c3,800 workers housing and sanitation as per our Housing Action Plan
- Continue implementing our water borehole programme through our partnership with Water for Africa which will reinstate 52 boreholes for use by workers and wider community
- Increase capacity of healthcare facilities through provision of equipment and training and continued partnership with ProjectCURE
- Continue to improve our provision of high quality medical care for employees and their dependents as well as provide access to affordable medical care for local communities
- Continue to pay schools fees for workers at Management grade for all children. Grant financial assistance for schooling upon request to workers whose children are registered in an officially recognised school
- Review the condition of schools on the plantations and make improvements to the current infrastructure
- Continue communicating our HR policy to all employees at all levels of the organisation and ensure it is clearly accessible to all employees
- Establish a company-wide external grievance procedure for employees to ensure everyone has access to remedy and that there is a clear feedback system in place
- Continue to make improvements in occupational health and safety performance through embedding good OHS behaviours into everyday practice.
- Continue to ensure all staff are trained on health and safety to the level appropriate to meet the needs of their role as per our health monitoring programme
- Pursue National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) certification for key individuals
- Continue our work on promoting good business conduct to ensure that all of our policies are enforced
- Continue our work on business integrity to ensure employees follow our ‘zero tolerance’ approach to acts of bribery and corruption
- Continue our three-year training plan to communicate this approach across the group