Doing Well By Doing Good

Palm oil cultivation is a contentious issue for some environmentalists. Many of the industrial scale plantations particularly in the Southeast Asia have been developed at great environmental cost. Deforestation and the resultant loss of habitat for the indigenous flora and fauna as well as displacement of or conflicts with local communities have been common place.

Volta Red’s approach is different. We are committed to ‘doing well, by doing good’. Our plantations have all been restricted to land that has previously been cultivated by subsistence farmers for decades. All planting has been planned to respect wildlife and watercourses and all the planting undertaken by the company was carried out as per the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) New Planting Procedures (NPP).

360 Degree Sustainability

The focus of our sustainability strategy is the implementation of best practices  thereby maintaining an appropriate balance between our economic, environmental and social responsibilities. We realise that the full support of the communities surrounding us is vital to our success.

Economic


At the core of our business model is supplying the West African market with product produced in Africa employing African people. In doing so, we provide employment and income to over 400 people as well as many more indirectly. We also work closely with our network of local out growers, sharing best practice in cultivation to improve their yields and income. Our processing mill also provides a ready local market for their fruit giving a much need to boost to the farming economy. Our activities are rapidly increasing the palm oil productivity of the Volta Region, providing a cost effective organically grown and locally produced product for local consumption. This will in time make a significant shift from the region being a net importer of palm oil to a position of self-sufficiency.

Environmental

We benchmark our practices against the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (“RSPO”) and the United Nations Global Compact (“UNGC”), and engage stakeholders proactively. We are a member of RSPO and follow their operating principles and guidelines for our operations. We are committed to a policy of zero burning of land, use cover crops to suppress weed growth, and natural bi-products from the processing mill are used as fertilizer on the plantations. We also have adopted an integrated pest management system and have established  bio diversity plots  within our plantations  to provide sanctuary for fauna and flora.
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We are currently in the final stages of full RSPO certification of our operations and hope to achieve this by the end of 2016. We are working with Proforest (http://www.proforest.net/) , who are providing guidance and support to ensure Volta Red complies with the RSPO guidelines. Proforest has completed a pre-certification audit, and the company will work with Proforest to ensure all the recommendations are addressed to RSPO’s satisfaction.

We have circulated the RSPO Principles and Criteria as an internal document. The management team is working with all staff members to ensure they understand why the company is seeking RSPO certification, what will be achieved by gaining certification, and how this will benefit the workers, outgrowers and the local environment. See http://www.rspo.org/file/revisedPandC2013.pdf for the RSPO Principles & Criteria

Social

VoltaRed is committed to engaging with and supporting our local communities not just through the economic benefits that we bring to the region. We believe in investing in community development and conservation programmes, including providing and improving health and educational facilities for local communities. We take great care to engage with local Chiefs, landowners and the local community to ensure we respect their beliefs and culture.

We are also working with them to improve the lives of their people. As an example we have constructed eight bore holes the local villages to provide safe drinking water for the local community. In addition we have built and maintain on an ongoing basis a library for the school in Brewaniaese where we have provided books and  computers to help the children develop their skills in reading and maths. We also pay for a  full time librarian to help with the education of local children.