Water management[GRI 3-3, 303-1, 303-5]
Water is essential for our operations, but we are cognisant that it is a shared and finite global resource. We continuously monitor and strive to reduce our water usage by improving the efficiency of our operations and by maintaining the quality and availability of surface water and groundwater for our business and surrounding communities, amongst other measures.
We draw surface water and groundwater at our plantations and mills for industrial uses, like steam generation, pesticide-mixing, seedling irrigation, and domestic uses, such as cleaning and cooking. Our downstream operations purchase water from municipal water utility companies for its processes.
All our upstream operations monitor the amount of water used and its intensity. In 2021, we consumed a combined 16.9 million cubic metres (m3) of water across all operations.
Each region primarily determines its water management and monitoring approaches according to regulatory requirements. Water data is collected at the site level and may vary from operation to operation. We are currently reviewing our internal processes to collect this data at the Group level, as doing so will ensure consistency and comparability. Whilst we previously reported a Group-level water-usage-intensity reduction target, we will revisit this approach once our collection processes are streamlined.
We will explore conducting a full water footprint assessment at our operations in line with the Water Footprint Network methodology, and a life cycle assessment in line with the ISO 14046 standard. We will then use these simultaneous assessments to develop SDP’s water footprint framework in 2022. In November 2021, we trained the responsible SDP teams in Malaysia in partnership with the Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Water Security (IPASA), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).