Addressing the Climate Crisis


Over the years, we have developed advanced approaches to respond to the climate crisis

SDP has implemented clear operational guidelines for our operations and our supply chains to minimise and avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These have been identified through developments within the industry and SDP’s own research.

This year, we have better aligned our annual disclosures to the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The table below outlines the key recommendations, and how disclosures are positioned to meet those recommendations. Key areas which are currently under development include quantitative scenario planning and Scope 3 disclosures, which we target to be able to start disclosing by 2023. Throughout this report, a TCFD icon is displayed at the beginning of the relevant sections that highlight our current measures in line with the framework.

TCFD Recommendation Areas
Section in the reports where the disclosures in alignment with the TCFD recommendations are covered
Board Oversight
Management’s Role
Risk and Opportunities
Impact on Business
Scenario Analysis
Risk Identification
Risk Management
Risks Integration
Details of Scope 1 & 2
Annual Report
Chairman’s Statement (page 12)
GMD’s Questions and Answers (page 18)
Sustainable Value Creation (page 76)
Group Risk Management Framework (page 107)
Sustainability Committee Report (page 101)
Sustainability Report
GMD’s Statement (page 3)
Addressing the Climate Crisis (page 65)
Sustainability Governance (page 113)
Greenhouse Gas Emissions (page 75)

Key Climate Risks

The Group’s Enterprise Risk Management Framework includes the assessment of internal and external climate-related risks, and are reported to the Board Risk Management Committee. However, key climate-related risks are also deliberated at the Board Sustainability Committee, which are summarised in the table below. The horizons used are short-term (2025 or earlier), medium-term (2030) and long-term (2050 or above).

Physical Risk:
Rising Sea Levels

Based on the latest climate change data released in IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, the Group’s Research and Development department conducted a review of a previous study to understand the potential impact of rising sea levels on concession areas. The review looked at various climate change scenarios articulated in the report, namely the different Shared Socio- Economic Pathways (SSPs).

Potential Impact: Lower Materiality

Based on the review that was done for a period of up to the year 2100, the R&D team has identified areas which are considered as “Very High Risk” to flooding due to potential rising sea levels.

The review has also identified infrastructure which are at risk to flooding.

There would potentially be a decrease in plantable areas as these high-risk areas may not be suitable for plantation operations in the long-term.

Long Term

In the immediate term, mitigation actions are currently underway at the Group’s operations located at coastal areas, which are prone to flooding. This includes the development of bunds surrounding these areas to ensure that sea water does not intrude into plantation areas.

In the long-term, further studies are to be carried out to assess the suitability of these high-risk areas for future replanting cycles, and renewal of long-term leases.

Physical Risk:
Changing Weather Patterns

With the potential changes in weather patterns, there will be a risk of different weathers experienced by the Group in its various operating locations. This includes potential changing rainfall patterns and prolonged droughts, which are not normally experienced by the operations.

One example includes the extreme rainfall experienced in Malaysia at the end of 2021, which resulted in flooding in flood-prone areas throughout Peninsular Malaysia.

Potential Impact: Higher Materiality

Extreme weather conditions would potentially have a direct impact on productivity of the upstream operations, where the flooding resulted in the affected estates and mills being unable to operate. If these extreme weather conditions are to be experienced on a more frequent manner in the future, it would have a more significant impact on the productivity of the Group’s operations if not mitigated.

Short to Medium Term

In the immediate term, the operations have already begun to implement mitigation actions at high-risk areas. Examples include the building of bunds in flood-prone areas, and water bodies for water catchment in areas experiencing droughts.

The operations team, together with the R&D team are exploring long-term solutions to ensure that operations are less impacted by the changing weather patterns. R&D is also exploring and leveraging on its genomics programme to build crop resilience to climate change impacts. For more information on SDP's GenomeSelect™, please click here.

Physical Risk:
Increase in Temperature

The Group’s R&D team conducted a literature review of the impact of temperature rise on oil palm yields. Based on the latest literature available, a temperature increase by 1 to 4℃ would have a decrease on the yield between 10% to 41% (Sarkar et al (2020)).

The Sarkar report conflicts with previous literature which stated that an increase in temperature of 5℃ would eliminate any yield increase from the rise of CO2 levels (Corley (2016)).

Potential Impact: Higher Materiality

Any climate scenario or SSP which predicts an increase in temperature of more than 1℃ would potentially have an impact to the yield of existing oil palm trees if the Sarkar report is accurate.

Medium to Long Term

Due to the conflicting nature of the various studies reviewed, the Group’s R&D team is currently undertaking its own internal study to simulate and validate the effect of temperature rise on yields and generate additional scientific data.

In the medium to long-term, the R&D team is also exploring and leveraging on its genomics programme to build crop resilience to climate change impacts. For more information on SDP's GenomeSelect™, please click here.

Transition Risk:
Increase Regulatory Requirements

As an outcome of COP26, and the increased attention to climate change globally, governments are introducing policy and regulatory frameworks at a faster pace in their efforts for climate action.

Markets such as the EU are introducing due diligence requirements of supply chains into the EU on deforestation and sustainability, and the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, amongst others.

Malaysia has made a commitment to become a net zero nation by 2050 and plans to introduce regulatory measures to support that commitment. This includes the introduction of a local carbon market in the future. The Indonesian Government will also be gradually introducing a carbon tax.

Potential Impact: Higher Materiality

If SDP does not decarbonise its operations in line with future regulatory expectations, there will be potential additional compliance costs which may be incurred by the Group to access these markets. Failure to meet these future compliance requirements may also lead to potential limitations to SDP’s access to these markets.

Short Term

The Group has already embarked on its decarbonisation journey since 2012. Key efforts taken by the Group to decarbonise its operations include:

  • Reduction of SDP’s operational emissions through its renewables initiatives (methane capture, solar)
  • Sequestration of emissions through nature-based solutions, conservation and reforestation efforts across the Group
  • Efforts to eliminate deforestation within the Group’s global supply chain via increased traceability and No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation (NDPE) compliance

The Group is also currently exploring options on how to achieve Net Zero emissions.

For more information on SDP's response to climate change, go to page 23.

Transition Risk:
Increase Customer Requirements

As global expectations have increased for corporations to accelerate climate action, there is already an increase in scrutiny from customers with strong sustainability commitments to extend their climate commitments to their supply chains.

Currently the Group complies with customers’ NDPE requirements, especially on deforestation. As a result, SDP’s strategy as a Group has shifted to focus on increased productivity and the downstream business expansion rather than upstream landbank expansion.

Customers with more progressive sustainability commitments are being more actively involved in reducing their Scope 3 emissions by working with their suppliers to implement programmes to reduce supply chain emissions.

The trajectory of this may potentially lead to stronger climate change requirements as part of customers’ responsible sourcing policies in which the Group would need to comply with.

Potential Impact: Highest Materiality

If SDP does not decarbonise its operations in line with future customers’ requirements and expectations, there may be a potential for an increase in compliance costs to further reduce SDP’s carbon intensity, or potentially the risk losing to these customers.

Short Term

The Group has already embarked on its decarbonisation journey since 2012. Key efforts taken by the Group taking to decarbonise its operations include:

  • Reduction of SDP’s operational emissions through its renewables initiatives (methane capture, solar)
  • Sequestration of emissions through nature-based solutions, conservation and reforestation efforts across the Group
  • Efforts to eliminate deforestation within the Group’s global supply chain via increased traceability and No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation (NDPE) compliance

SDP is actively partnering with customers to collaborate in various climate action initiatives.

SDP is also actively working with customers to jointly implement initiatives to combat climate change. For more information on SDP's response to climate change, please click here

The Group’s GenomeSelect™ programme by R&D mitigates the issue of landbank expansion by potentially increasing yields on existing landbank to improve productivity.

A Deep Dive into Physical Risk: Rising Sea Levels

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report released in 2021, named Shared Socio-Economic Pathways (SSPs), defined various climate change scenarios. Each SSP covers a broad range of GHG and Air Pollutant futures with scenarios of with and without climate change mitigation pathways.

Chart: Projected temperature increase of various SSP scenarios by 2100. (Source: IPCC 6th Assessment Report)

For example, SSP5 narrates a scenario where there is “fossil-fuelled development with high challenges to mitigation, and low challenges to adaption”. The Group’s R&D team conducted a study to understand the implication of the projected rising sea levels against the Group’s concession areas and infrastructure. Based on the data released in the IPCC 6th Assessment Report in 2021, the Group’s R&D team looked at the various SSP scenarios and the global mean sea level rise by 2100 for each SSP. Utilising data from IPCC’s sea level rise projection tool and overlaying it against the digitised maps of the Group’s concession areas and data on elevation above sea level for these areas, the R&D team has identified areas which are considered as “Very High Risk” to flooding due to potential rising sea levels by 2100:

  • Malaysia: 2.8% of total landbank (~9,5k ha)
  • Indonesia: 7.0% of total landbank (~18.6k ha)
  • Papua New Guinea / Solomon Islands: 1.8% of total landbank (~2,6k ha)

Risk Zone Category

  • Cat 1, Very High
  • Cat 2, High
  • Cat 3, Medium

(Elevation, m asl)

less than 5

5 to 10

10 to 15

Risk Zone Category

  • Cat 4, Low
  • Cat 5, Very Low
  • Cat 6 & 7, None

(Elevation, m asl)

15 to 20

20 to 50

more than 50

The impact of rising sea levels would mean that these areas are at a high-risk of being submerged by 2100, leading to potential loss of plantable areas and loss of infrastructure e.g. roads, housing situated within these areas (e.g. roads, housing). Understanding the long-term risks of these areas enables management to proactively feed this information into the long-term plans for replanting and during the process of renewal of leases, if applicable for those leases. These very high-risk areas identified will also be prioritised for short-term mitigation actions for flooding.

Investments To Minimise Upstream Operational Ghg Emissions
  • Biogas plants: Investing in biogas plants at mills to tackle SDP's largest emission source within our upstream operations. With these investments, we target to reduce emissions by 50% for upstream operations by 2030 against the 2009 baselines. Scope: Malaysia, Indonesia, PNG
  • Solar energy: Implementing solar PV systems for SDP operations and supporting Malaysia's national schemes by leasing land for solar power generation systems. Scope: Malaysia
  • Operational efficiency: Continuously finding ways to improve operational efficiency with regards to energy, water, waste and chemical use. Scope: SDP globally

*See SR2021 sections: Reducing GHG emissions, Energy management, Investing in renewables, Operational efficiency

Implementing Nature-Based Solutions
  • Conservation areas: Identifying and setting aside areas for conservation with plans to protect and restore these areas.
  • Tree planting intiatives: Conducting large-scale tree planting initiatives to boost sequestration and insetting / offsetting carbon footprint.
  • Scope: Malaysia, Indonesia, PNG, Solomon Islands.

*See SR2021 section: Conservation and biodiversity enhancement

Eliminating Deforestation Within Supply Chains
  • Monitoring, engaging and supporting suppliers and smallholders to tackle deforestation in supply chains, in line with our Draw the Line Policy. We target to ensure our supply chains are 100% deforestation-free by 2025.
  • Maintaining transparency of progress with supply chains through our traceability and Crosscheck platforms. We target to achieve 100% traceability by 2025.
  • Engaging in partnerships and multi-stakeholder initiatives on latest technologies and addressing challenges faced in supply chains
  • Scope: Malaysia, Indonesia, PNG, Solomon Islands, Thailand

*See SR2021 section: Responsible Sourcing

Focus On Yield
  • Signficantly investing in R&D to boost yield and develop crop that is resilient to climate impacts
  • Scope: Malaysia, Indonesia, PNG, Solomon Islands.

*See SR2021 section: Breakthrough innovations for sustainability

Our net-zero aspirations

Our next step is to develop and deliver a Our Net Zero Aspirations target in line with global and national pledges and align our reporting with leading frameworks.

In 2021, we preliminarily mapped our existing upstream measures against the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) recommendations and subsequently engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers Malaysia to conduct a qualitative assessment. This exercise included reviewing the alignment of our current climate practices to the 11 TCFD recommendations and assessing future commitments and potential gaps in a comprehensive TCFD roadmap.

Internally, our R&D teams have also begun climate-related scenario analyses to determine plausible future scenarios that will allow us to understand and quantify risks and uncertainties that may arise. We are assessing the financial implications and capital expenditure requirements of investments in facilities to support carbon reduction plans. We are also enhancing our understanding of our carbon footprint to include our downstream operations. In 2021, we began quantifying our most material Scope 3 emissions, which we plan to disclose in 2023.

These recommendations and our internal analyses will help inform our strategy and develop our roadmap to meet our aspirations of becoming a net zero company.

This sustainability report introduces our current alignment with the TCFD framework. We aim to improve our disclosures in line with the recommendations in future reports. Throughout this report, we have included a TCFD icon at the beginning of sections that highlight our current measures in line with the framework. Key areas we are working on for future reporting cycles include Scope 3 emissions and more detailed and quantitative scenario analysis disclosures.

GHG emissions

[GRI 3-3, 305-1, 305-2, 305-4, 305-5]

SDP uses the GHG Protocol accounting standards to calculate our Scope 1 (direct emissions from our owned and controlled sources) and Scope 2 emissions (indirect emissions generated from purchased electricity, steam, heating, and cooling) at our upstream and downstream operations. We have begun mapping our most material Scope 3 emissions across the SDP supply chain and target to start disclosing in 2023.

In 2021, our Group operational GHG emissions amounted to 2,814,766 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MT CO2e): 2,653,795 MT CO2e for Scope 1 and 160,970 MT CO2e for Scope 2. These figures cover our upstream and downstream business units and now include three additional downstream facilities: our soya refinery in Thailand and our two copra crushing facilities in Papua New Guinea10. Due to the inclusion of these units, our operational GHG emissions were 2.1% higher than 2020. As we generate our own electricity at our upstream operations in Indonesia, PNG and Solomon Islands, we do not have Scope 2 emissions in those countries.

Our primary emission source derives from methane emissions from treating effluent mainly from mill processes, accounting for 66% of our total generated emissions in 2021. Emissions from boilers at mills (12%), fertiliser use at plantations (8%) and purchased electricity (6%) are the next biggest emitters.

We also use the latest version of the RSPO PalmGHG calculator to understand our emissions from land-use change, which is key for agricultural companies assessing the impact of converting natural land. In 2021, emissions from our planting and replanting activities amounted to 6,073,182 MT CO2e. However, our operations also sequestered 5,374,301 MT CO2e from all oil palm trees. Including our operational GHG emissions and crop sequestration, our net GHG emissions were 3,513,648 MT CO2e.

In future reports, we will include sequestration data from our conservation initiatives. To date, we have planted over 1.89 million trees that have the potential to sequester an estimated 90kg CO2e per tree planted after five years of planting, resulting in more than 84,000 MT CO2e annually.

See Forest restoration for an overview of our tree planting initiatives


  2020 2021
Scope 1    
Upstream Malaysia 1,243,584.82 1,197,130.48
Upstream Indonesia 709,749.09 772,051.21
Upstream PNG and SI 395,368.35 447,744.83
Downstream 242,137.52 236,868.92
Sub-total 2,590,839.78 2,653,795.44
Scope 2    
Upstream Malaysia 50,914.63 49,889.30
Upstream Indonesia - -
Upstream PNG and SI - -
Downstream 115,434.53 111,080.96
Sub-total 166,349.16 160,970.26




Note: Emissions calculated according to GHG Protocol methodology for upstream Malaysia, upstream Indonesia, and downstream business units. Emissions for upstream PNG and Solomon Islands are based on the output of RSPO PalmGHG calculator and mapped into Scope 1 and Scope 2 categories. Scope 2 emissions are not applicable for upstream Indonesia and NBPOL as their operational activities are already covered in Scope 1 using generated electricity (majority derived from biomass utilisation).

Note: ‘Others’ includes agricultural, stationary, and heavy machinery, and purchased steam.

1.Due to auditing cycles, GHG data in this section reflects data from the previous year.
2.Historical land use change (land clearing and crop sequestration) data for 2020 is restated.
3.We will revise future data collection methods to include sequestration from conservation areas and peatland oxidation.

Upstream GHG emission intensity

We track GHG emission intensity at our upstream operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, PNG and Solomon Islands. In 2020, our GHG emission intensity was 1.01 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per tonne of crude palm oil/palm kernel(MT CO2e / MT CPO/PK), almost a 10% reduction compared to 2019. This is mainly due to a reduction in fertiliser usage and agricultural machinery in 2020. However, in 2021, there was a slight increase in emissions contributed by a new palm kernel crushing plant in NBPOL. In addition, some of our biogas plants were under repair in 2021, thus slightly increasing our emission by 2.9%.

In 2019, we published a target of reducing our GHG emission intensity for our upstream operations by 40% against our 2009 baseline by 2030, which would be achieved by operationalising biogas plants. In 2022, we have revised GHG emission intensity target in line with our strengthened commitments to address climate change and support our planned net zero strategy. Our new target is to achieve a 50% reduction by 2030 through our biogas programme.

In 2021, our reduction was 1.9% compared to our baseline. We recognise the decisive action we need to take to meet this target is to ramp up our biogas initiatives.

GHG emission intensity 2009-2021 (MT CO₂e/ MT CPO/ PK)
Upstream operations

Note: GHG emission intensity data for 2016—2018 has been restated from our previous report.

Downstream carbon reduction initiatives

Understanding our emission intensity at our downstream operations can be challenging due to the range of products and various processes at each operation. In 2021, Sime Darby Oils (SDO) identified 54 carbon reduction projects across several of our operations. These initiatives include:

Reusing effluent water in cooling towers

Improving the efficiency of heat recovery systems to use zero steam

Improving pipe and vessel insulation to reduce energy costs

Using alternative fuel for steam generation

Reducing steam consumption by utilising recovered water condensate

Installing ice condensing system in refineries

In 2022, we will explore establishing a reduction target in line with our overall strategy at our downstream operations.

Renewable energy

Our renewables business, under Sime Darby Plantation Renewable Energy Sdn Bhd (SDPRE), is primarily focused on three main strategies to reduce carbon emissions.

Overview of renewable energy projects

Country Installed and operational Under development in 2022 Future plans
Malaysia 8 biogas plants 7 biogas plants Additional 7 biogas plants by 2023
5 SDP solar systems 5 SDP solar systems 62 SDP solar systems by 2025
1 large scale solar project 12 large scale solar projects -
Indonesia 2 biogas plants 1 biogas plant Additional 7 biogas plants by 2030
PNG and Solomon Islands 2 biogas plants 1 biogas plant Additional 5 biogas plants by 2027

Installing methane capture facilities and biogas plants at our mills is vital to our carbon reduction strategy. Methane captures target fugitive methane emissions released as by-products of the anaerobic digestion of palm oil mill effluent (POME). The methane is either flared and converted to carbon dioxide with a much lower warming potential or further processed as biogas to generate energy – either as electricity that feeds into the national grid, bio-compressed natural gas, or captive power.

As of December 2021, we have 12 operational biogas plants across Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Of these, four were newly commissioned in Malaysia: one in 2020 and three in 2021. In total, our biogas plants have contributed to an estimated 499,617 MT CO2e reduction in total emissions, representing 71,603 MT CO2e or 16% more than 2019, when only nine biogas plants were in operation.

Moving forward, we will significantly expand our biogas programme, which is critical to our carbon reduction and net zero strategy. Five biogas plants are under construction and will be operational by 2022, and we have plans to commission an additional 16 by 2025, half of which should be completed by 2023. We aim to have 68 plants in operation by 2030 – or at least one at every mill we operate.

1. Total emission reduction calculations exclude two facilities in Malaysia because they were under repair.
2. It can take up to one year for a facility to reach full capacity and achieve optimum efficiency. Therefore, emission figures are not directly correlated to the number of facilities year-on-year but reflect those operating at their respective efficiencies in previous years.


To support our carbon reduction plans, SDP Malaysia began installing photovoltaic (PV) systems in 2021. These are situated on the rooftops of our buildings and our land assets. As of December 2021, five solar systems have been completed at each of our regional upstream offices and our biodiesel plant in Carey Island. The five completed PV systems generate 1,154,218 kilowatt-hours (kWh)/year, which can power up to 279 houses a year, and the electricity generated in 2021 resulted in 658 MT CO2e of emissions avoided.

A further five systems are under construction. We plan to install 62 systems across all our Malaysian operations by the end of 2025 and expect to generate 22,991,590 kWh/year, contributing to a reduction of 13,105 MT CO2e.

Supporting Malaysia’s carbon reduction plans

SDP has also long-supported Malaysia’s national carbon emission reduction agenda, the Malaysia Renewable Energy Roadmap (MyRER). In 2018, SDP leased land to PLB Green Solar Sdn Bhd for the development of a 20-megawatt (MW) solar project for national consumption under the country’s Large Scale Solar 1 (LSS1) scheme.

This project covers 28 hectares in our Byram Estate in Penang, Malaysia and generates 29,200,000 kWh/year – enough electricity to power 7,053 houses a year.This facility has contributed to a 16,644 MT CO2e against Malaysia’s emission reduction targets.

The Malaysian Government recently approved plans for the construction of 12 additional plants on SDP land under the LSS4 scheme in 2022 and 2023.Once operational, these systems will generate almost 490,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity, contributing to a reduction of 279,611 MT CO2e against Malaysia’s emission reduction targets.


We recycle the by-products of our upstream processes back into our operations as biomass. Our empty fruit bunches (EFB) are reused at our plantations as compost, POME is treated and used to irrigate fields, and palm kernel shells (PKS) are used as fuel for boilers at our mills. We are also exploring opportunities to sell EFB, PKS and oil palm trunks (available after trees are felled) to interested companies in Japan for fuel. Doing so will significantly support our plans to reuse waste and offset emissions.

Energy use

In 2021, our Group-wide upstream operations used 28,405,157 gigajoules (GJ) of energy. Over 80% of the energy consumed comes from renewable sources, namely biomass, biodiesel and other liquid biofuels. The remaining 20% of our energy comes from non-renewable sources such as diesel, electricity, petrol, and liquefied petroleum gas. Embracing renewable energy has led to approximately 1.8 million MT CO2e of emissions avoided to date/annually.

Controlling air emissions at mills

Unlike our refineries, which operate on natural gas, we recognise that our mill operations generate significant emissions, including dust and smoke emitted through chimneys and dust from mill operations, such as crushing plants. Individual operating units report their air emission performance through our online Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS). We have also implemented pollution control systems across our mills to ensure we are compliant with regulatory air emissions standards.

Managing fire and haze

[GRI 3-3]

Monitoring and managing fires

Forest fires continue to be a concern, especially in Indonesia, due to their detrimental effect on forest ecosystems and biodiversity and the health and socio-economic welfare of local communities. Forest fires also significantly contribute to annual occurrences of haze in the ASEAN region and GHG emissions in the atmosphere.

SDP has a strict zero-burn policy. Since 2015, SDP has proactively monitored and managed fire and haze issues using our satellite-based Hotspot Alert Dashboard to track, report on, and respond to hotspots within our concession areas and a five kilometre (km) radius outside our concession boundaries. We have also started using drones to monitor hotspots at our Indonesian operations. These drones use thermal cameras to produce more accurate data recordings, specifically photos, videos, and heat maps. In December 2020, we conducted a drone-pilot training session at PT Bhumireksa Nusasejati in Riau. We currently operate over 30 drones to monitor the majority of our Indonesian sites for hotspots, comprising over 180,785 hectares of land.

Fires are more likely to occur at our operations in Indonesia, and PNG and Solomon Islands operations, whilst the risk of fire use remains low in Malaysia. We detected 971 hotspots within and surrounding our estates in 2020 and 2021. Of these, 706 were confirmed as fires. About 66% of these fires occurred outside our estate boundaries, whilst 242 – or 34% occurred within.

Most of the fires within our estates occurred in PNG and Solomon Islands. These accounted for 236 of the 242 fires in 2020 and 2021, or 98% of all fires within our boundaries. Fires are mainly started by communities in adjacent fields and spread to our estates due to winds and dry weather. The same is true of the few fires at our Malaysian and Indonesian estates. Vandalism is also the cause of many fires in PNG. Whilst the fires may be intentional, it is not targeting our operations. Various awareness programmes have been conducted including trainings, signages and warnings to educate community members on the dangers of fire. Of the fires in areas surrounding our estates, 351 occurred in Indonesia and 108 occurred in PNG and Solomon Islands, representing 76% and 23% of the 464 fires in 2020 and 2021. The remaining five cases occurred in Malaysia. The leading causes of fire are traditional and customary practices.

Communities in areas surrounding our operations customarily use fire to clear their lands for cultivation. Communities in PNG also use fire when hunting and clearing food gardens. It is a constant challenge to address fires that originate from human activities which are part of traditions we have little or no control over. Nevertheless, we continue to engage in corrective action awareness activities and education programmes with surrounding villages. We have erected signages warning people of the dangers of fires in areas of PNG where blazes frequently recur. We have also erected monitoring towers and posted security personnel in sugar fields.

SDP has trained and equipped fire-fighting teams stationed at each of our operations to extinguish any confirmed blazes. We have also launched education and incentive programmes in neighbouring communities to support fire-prevention and suppression activities. In 2021, we focused on strengthening the internal capacity of our fire monitoring programmes.

Note: 2019 data includes our former operations in Liberia and West Kalimantan. The unusually high number of fires in 2019 was due to the unprecedented forest fires that occurred in Sumatra and Kalimantan that year


Type No. of fires within estates No. of fires in surrounding estates
Vandalism/sabotage 60 10
Spread from neighbouring areas 25 8
Burning by local communities 127 242
Dry weather-related fire 8 7
Illegal hunting activities 12 15
Land preparation for new planting (community) 0 48
Others 5 23
Shifting Cultivation 0 2
Unknown 5 109
Total 242 464

Partnering with local communities to support fire prevention in Indonesia

Recognising communities’ traditional land burning methods as the most prevalent cause of fires, our Indonesia operations, Minamas, established the Desa Mandiri Cegah Api (DMCA) in 2014 – a dedicated community-based fire prevention programme in Indonesia as part of our efforts to manage fires in and around our estates. In partnership with seven universities across Indonesia, we are developing integrated programmes with stakeholders at all levels, educating communities on the impacts of burning, encouraging alternatives to slash-and-burn methods, and equipping communities with tools and skills to monitor and extinguish fires. With local universities, we are also exploring the socio-economic factors behind land clearing and practical alternatives to clearing land using fire.

We began with four desas, or villages, in Riau in 2014/2015. As of December 2021, 34 villages are enrolled in DMCA programmes across Sumatra and Kalimantan. The latest five of these were rolled out in West Kalimantan in 2020. These programmes span across 161,000 hectares and have reached 67,000 beneficiaries.

The implementation of fire prevention initiatives at our Indonesian operations was hampered by travel restrictions and social distancing protocols due to COVID-19. Despite these constraints, we made some progress in 2020 and 2021. In 2020, we partnered with Universitas Tanjungpura to develop guidelines we could implement during the pandemic. In 2021, we also managed to carry out a number of training activities with coconut farmers and fishermen in coastal communities in Riau under our new Coastal Communities Cares about Fires (MPPA) programme.

Rewarding communities for remaining fire-free

In March 2021, Minamas introduced the DMCA reward programme in Indonesia. Through this annual incentive-based programme, SDP provides non-monetary support, including fire equipment and infrastructure and economic development initiatives to community members in villages that remain fire-free. Through these yearly incentives, we hope to reduce the use of fire to clear land and bolster fire prevention efforts in participating communities.

In 2021, we also introduced the Guru Peduli Api fire educator programme. Recognising that investing in the younger generation is crucial to our long-term fire prevention efforts, Guru Peduli Api trains educators from around our operational areas to share their fire prevention knowledge with youth at schools. In July 2021, we held a training seminar for more than 750 educators from 70 kindergartens and primary and secondary schools around our operations. The seminar provided better guidance to teachers and school principals on the importance of preserving the surrounding environment and the dangers of forest and land fires. As of December 2021, 662 teachers have shared lessons with students at 60 schools around our areas of operation.