We are a firm believer in sustainability. As a key player in the plantation sector, the little effort that we make in our daily operations today is a massive jump towards a better, greener and sustainable future for our children tomorrow. In bringing meaningful effort to the industry, we must first come to realisation on how our day-to-day business brings its impact to the environment, regardless of the scale. One of the impacts is greenhouse gas emissions and its effects to global climate change.
A greenhouse gas, or GHG, is any gas that absorbs and re-emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range to keep planets atmosphere’s warmer. The lack of GHG will result to an extreme drop of global temperature, making Earth uninhabitable. But with the rapid increase of GHG in our atmosphere, our planet gets warmer, uncomfortably. Human activities in the past centuries have contributed to the increase of GHG emissions into our atmosphere. As more heat gets trapped, the average surface temperature of our planet increases. Earth average surface temperature has risen by about 1.2 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by the increase of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and other human activities. It is projected that our planet will be 4 degrees Celcius warmer by the year 2100 if GHG emissions is not controlled.
The increase of global temperate from GHG accumulation in our atmosphere has a chain reaction that poses a threat to our ecosystem – one of them is the increase in sea level. Sea level can rise in two ways due to an increase of global temperature – seawater expansion and the melting of ice on land. Global sea level has increased by about 20 centimeters in the last century. The rate in the last two decades, however, is nearly double that of the last century and accelerating slightly every year. It is projected that Malaysia will experience a sea level rise between 0.25 metre to 1.06 metre in various regions by the year 2100 if the situation remains unchecked.
The primary GHG in Earth’s atmosphere are water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), ozone (O3) and Chlorofluorocarbons. Things that we do on a daily basis, such as driving to work or charging our smartphones, has its own carbon footprint that contributes to the GHG emission. It is estimated around 10% to 12% of global GHG contributors come from the agricultural sector. This includes the plantation industry.
As a responsible corporate citizen, we recognise the vital role we play in the fight against climate change. There are multiple factors that contribute to climate change and one of them is GHG. We constantly monitor our emissions and energy consumption linked to palm oil production as we work to minimise our emissions. As part of our effort to provide greater transparency pertaining to our carbon footprint, we implemented a more complete GHG inventory by tracking and monitoring additional emission sources.
At Boustead Plantations Berhad, we managed to reduce our GHG emissions especially in our palm oil mill effluent (POME) by 5.91%, fuel consumption by 0.47% and emissions from peat by 0.06% from year 2019 until 2020. As we continue our commitment to the principle of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), we believe that more can be done in the future. Every action that we take to reduce our carbon footprint has its impact to our operations. But this is the change that we are willing to take – not for us, but for the betterment of our world.
This is our journey in bringing action to sustainability, one footstep at a time.