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Palm oil assessments

Founded in 1917, United Plantations is a Malaysia based company and their core business activities

  • Parent company:
    United International Enterprises Ltd
  • Landbank (oil palm):
    59,484 hectares
  • Palm cultivation revenue:
    28.1%
  • Market cap:
    1,419,030,000 USD
  • Thomson Reuters ticker:
    UTPS.KL
  • Bloomberg ticker:
    UPL MK
  • ISIN:
    MYL2089OO000
  • RSPO member?
    Yes
  • Website:

Company assessment: United Plantations Bhd – November 2018

SPOTT assesses companies against over 100 indicators across ten categories. Click on the icons or bars below to expand each category for further details, scoring and links to reports and sources.

Assessment date:

Total: 86.5% 99 / 114.5
  • Sustainability policy and leadership Sustainability policy and leadership 5 / 6 83.3%
    • Companies should publish sustainability policies or similar covering their entire supply chain — including third party suppliers — implemented and enforced through high-level leadership that engages with wider industry schemes.

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      1. Sustainable palm oil policy or commitment for all its operations?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      2. Policy or commitment applies to direct and third-party suppliers?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      3. High-level position of responsibility for sustainability?

      The company has a Group Sustainability Committee, with the overall sustainability objectives, targets and priorities being the responsibility of the Executive Committee headed by the Chief Executive Director

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      4. Sustainability report published within last two years?

      The company's Sustainability Report is contained within its Annual Report

    • No
      0 / 1
      No source

      5. Member of multiple industry schemes or other external initiatives to improve sustainability in relation to palm oil?

    • n/a
      -
      No source

      6. Verification report on compliance with POIG Charter, if a POIG member?

      This indicator has been disabled as the company is not a POIG member

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      7. Activities with government, NGOs or academic institutions to improve palm oil sustainability?

      The company has cooperated with the NGO LINKS on assisting the company with complying fully with FPIC and with Copenhagen Zoo to ensure Environmental Management and smooth operation of the company's Biodiversity Department

  • Landbank, maps and traceability Landbank, maps and traceability 12 / 13 92.3%
    • Companies should publicly report figures on their total landbank and details of different areas under their management. They should also disclose maps of their management areas and provide details on traceability of their products, both to mill and plantation level.

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      8. Total land area managed/controlled for oil palm (ha)?

      59,484

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      9. Total oil palm planted area (ha)?

      43,646

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      10. Plasma/scheme smallholders planted area (ha)?

      1,285

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      11. Unplanted (areas designated for future planting) (ha)?

      500

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      12. Conservation set-aside area, including HCV area (ha)?

      7,939 - Sum of 6,000 ha of HCV areas and 1,939 ha of conservation areas. Note this has decreased from last year

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      13. Area for infrastructure (ha)?

      1,941 - Figure described as "buildings, roads, drains, air-strip, nurseries, toddy tapping areas, railway, OPTIMILL etc."

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      14. Number and names of company owned mills?

      5

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      15. Maps or coordinates of company owned mills?

    • n/a
      -
      No source

      16. Number and names of supplier mills?

      This indicator is disabled as the company only sources from its own mills

    • Partial
      0.5 / 1
      Source

      17. Maps of estates/management units?

      The company only provides a basic image of estate locations, but does not provide geo-referenced maps or shapefiles of estates. The company is not on a list of non-submitters of maps to the RSPO. However, ZSL is currently unable to ascertain if the maps disclosed constitute 100% of the company's palm oil estates. Maps will become available on GeoRSPO

    • Partial
      0.5 / 1
      Source

      18. Maps of scheme/plasma smallholders?

      The company provides a geo-referenced image of plasma smallholders, but does not provide clear geo-referenced maps/shapefiles

    • n/a
      -
      Source

      19. Time-bound commitment to achieve 100% traceability to mill level?

      This indicator is disabled as the company only sources from its own mills

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      20. Time-bound commitment to achieve 100% traceability to plantation level?

      2,019 - The company states it is committed to "Full certification and production and use of segregated and traceable palm oil is expected to be reached in 2019, including any outside crop that is purchased." The company is already 100% traceable to plantations

    • n/a
      -
      Source

      21. Percentage of supply traceable to mill level (above 80%)?

      This indicator is disabled as the company only sources from its own mills

    • Yes
      2 / 2
      Source

      22. Percentage of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) from own mills traceable to plantation level (above 75%)?

      100%

    • n/a
      -
      Source

      23. Percentage of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) from supplier mills traceable to plantation level (above 75%)?

      This indicator is disabled as the company only sources from its own mills

  • Deforestation and biodiversity Deforestation and biodiversity 10 / 10 100%
    • Companies should commit to address deforestation and to set aside areas for conservation. They should report on any activities to manage or restore habitat in their conservation areas, or monitor deforestation in their supply chains. They should also provide evidence of species conservation and biodiversity protection.

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      24. Commitment to zero deforestation?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      25. Deforestation commitment applies to scheme smallholders and independent suppliers?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      26. Criteria for defining deforestation?

      Primary forest, HCV, HCS

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      27. Evidence of monitoring deforestation?

      The company provides details of controlling illegal activities in conservation areas in one of its subsidiaries PT SSS, including monitoring illegal logging and illegal land clearing. It also provides details on its use of GIS databases and SMART software

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      28. Examples of habitat management and/or habitat restoration?

      Rehabilitation of forests and riparian areas with native species

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      29. Implementing a landscape-level approach to biodiversity conservation?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      30. Commitment to biodiversity conservation?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      31. Commitment to not endanger species of conservation concern, referencing international or national system of species classification?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      32. Commitment to no hunting or only sustainable hunting of species?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      33. Examples of species conservation activities?

  • HCV, HCS and impact assessments HCV, HCS and impact assessments 7.5 / 8 93.8%
    • Companies should commit to the High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) approaches, and to conduct social and environmental impact assessments (SEIA). They should develop and publish monitoring and management plans, and provide evidence through SEIA, HCV and HCS assessments, typically published in summary form due to the sensitive nature of certain sites.

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      34. Commitment to conduct High Conservation Value (HCV) assessments?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      35. HCV commitment applies to scheme smallholders and independent suppliers?

    • Partial
      0.5 / 1
      Source

      36. Commitment to only use licensed High Conservation Value (HCV) assessors accredited by the HCV Resource Network's Assessor Licensing Scheme (ALS)?

      The company does not specify ALS, but is an RSPO member and commits under the RSPO NPP

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      37. High Conservation Value (HCV) assessments for planting undertaken prior to January 2015, and associated management and monitoring plans?

      The following HCV assessment is available:
      Central Kalimantan: PT Surya Sawit Sejati

    • n/a
      -
      Source

      38. High Conservation Value (HCV) assessments for all estates planted since January 2015?

      This indicator has been disabled as according to RSPO ACOPs no new planting has occurred

    • n/a
      -
      Source

      39. High Conservation Value (HCV) management and monitoring plans for all estates planted since January 2015?

      This indicator has been disabled as according to RSPO ACOPs no new planting has occurred

    • n/a
      -
      Source

      40. Satisfactory review of all High Conservation Value (HCV) assessments undertaken since January 2015 by the HCV ALS Quality Panel?

      This indicator has been disabled as according to RSPO ACOPs no new planting has occurred

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      41. Commitment to the High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      42. High Carbon Stock (HCS) assessments?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      43. Commitment to conduct social and environmental impact assessments (SEIAs)?

      The company states it is guided by "Environment & Social Impact Assessments and its Management & Monitoring Plans" but does not have a clear commitment to conduct SEIAs prior to all new development

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      44. Social and environmental impact assessments (SEIAs) undertaken, and associated management and monitoring plans?

      The following SEIA assessment is publicly available:
      Central Kalimantan: PT Surya Sawit Sejati

  • Peat, fire and GHG emissions Peat, fire and GHG emissions 14.5 / 15 96.7%
    • Companies should commit to protect peatland and undertake best management practices for soils and peat. They should also have policies on zero burning and to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Companies should report their GHG emissions, as well as any fires that occurred in or around their estates, along with plans for managing and monitoring fires.

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      45. Commitment to no planting on peat of any depth?

      The company commits to no new development of peatland, regardless of depth. For existing plantings on peat the company only replants on peat which is less than 3m in depth

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      46. Peat commitment applies to scheme smallholders and independent suppliers?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      47. Commitment to best management practices for soils and peat?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      48. Landbank or planted area on peat?

      9% - Planted area on peat

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      49. Evidence of best management practices for soils and peat?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      50. Commitment to zero burning?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      51. Zero burning commitment applies to scheme smallholders and independent suppliers?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      52. Evidence of management and monitoring fires?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      53. Details/number of hotspots/fires in company estates?

      The company reports the hectares burnt in fires from 2014 to 2017

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      54. Details/number of hotspots/fires within surrounding landscape/smallholders?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      55. Time-bound commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity?

      2,019 (50%) - The company has a target to reach a reduction of 50% from the 2004 figures before the end of 2019, and reports figures in intensity

    • Partial
      0.5 / 1
      Source

      56. GHG emissions from land use change?

      Only reports emissions from indirect land use change

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      57. Methodology used to calculate GHG emissions?

      ISO 14000 International Standards and PalmGHG

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      58. Progress towards commitment to reduce GHG emissions intensity?

      1.58 - The company reports a reduction to 1.58kg CO2eq for every 1kg of refined palm oil produced

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      59. Percentage of mills with methane capture (100%)?

      5 (100%)

  • Water, chemical and pest management Water, chemical and pest management 9 / 12 75%
    • Companies should commit to managing water use and water quality, providing evidence through time-bound reduction plans, policies on toxic chemical use and treatment of palm oil mill effluent (POME).

    • Partial
      0.5 / 1
      Source

      60. Time-bound commitment to improve water use per tonne of FFB Processed?

      The company has a target to reduce water consumption by 5% compared to 2015 levels of 80 gallons per capita by 2018 but does not have a commitment to reduce water use in its mills

    • No
      0 / 1
      Source

      61. Time-bound commitment to improve water quality (BOD and COD)?

    • Partial
      0.5 / 1
      Source

      62. Progress towards commitment on water use?

      The company reports progress in mill water consumption rates in its Indonesian mills, but reports an increased rate in its Malaysian mills

    • No
      0 / 1
      No source

      63. Progress towards commitment on water quality (BOD and COD)?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      64. Protection of natural waterways through buffer zones?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      65. Evidence of treating palm oil mill effluent (POME)?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      66. Commitment to minimise the use of chemicals, including pesticides and chemical fertilisers?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      67. No use of paraquat?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      68. No use of World Health Organisation (WHO) Class 1A and 1B pesticides?

      The company states "chemicals that fall under the WHO Class 1A & 1B and Stockholm or Rotterdam Conventions are only used in emergency and/or exceptional circumstances such as pest outbreaks"

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      69. No use of chemicals listed under the Stockholm Convention and Rotterdam Convention?

      The company states "chemicals that fall under the WHO Class 1A & 1B and Stockholm or Rotterdam Conventions are only used in emergency and/or exceptional circumstances such as pest outbreaks"

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      70. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      71. Chemical usage per ha or list of chemicals used?

  • Community, land and labour rights Community, land and labour rights 19 / 19.5 97.4%
    • Companies should commit to respect human rights, including those of indigenous peoples and local communities, consulted with free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). Companies should respect the rights of workers, report relevant workforce data, and comply with health and safety legislation.

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      72. Commitment to human rights, referencing the UN Declaration of Human Rights or UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      73. Commitment to human rights applies to scheme smallholders and independent suppliers?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      74. Commitment to respect legal and customary land tenure rights?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      75. Commitment to respect indigenous and local communities' rights, referencing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples or ILO 169?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      76. Commitment to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC)?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      77. FPIC commitment applies to independent suppliers?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      78. Details of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) process available?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      79. Details of process for addressing land conflicts available?

      The company has a Standard Operating Procedure for Land Dispute Settlement

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      80. Commitment to mitigate impacts on food security?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      81. Commitment to provide essential community services and facilities?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      82. Commitment to respect all workers' rights?

      The company ensures its policies apply to its employees, including both permanent and temporary workers, and has a human rights policy and guest workers policy

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      83. Reference to Fundamental ILO Conventions or Free and Fair Labour Principles?

      The company states it adheres to the ILO core labour standards

    • Yes
      0.5 / 0.5
      Source

      84. Total number of employees?

      6,825

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      85. Percentage or number of temporary employees?

      12% - The company provides approximate numbers stating "In our Malaysian operations, we do not have any temporary workers. However in our Indonesian operations, during peak crop season (2-3months in a year), temporary workers are engaged which constitutes to around 10-12% of the total workforce (~140 temporary workers out of total ~1200 workforce)"

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      86. Percentage or number of women employees?

      19.26% - In Indonesia 28.64% female workers and in Malaysia 9.87% female workers

    • Partial
      0.5 / 1
      Source

      87. Commitment to pay minimum wage?

      The company commits to paying minimum wage but no evidence is given

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      88. Commitment to address occupational health and safety?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      89. Time lost due to work-based injuries?

      9.04 - Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) refers to frequency of accidents per million man-hours worked

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      90. Number of fatalities as a result of work-based accidents?

      0 - Total fatalities in 2017

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      91. Provision of personal protective equipment and pesticide training?

  • Certification standards Certification standards 12.5 / 18 69.4%
    • Companies should become members of credible certification standards and report in accordance with all appropriate categories of membership. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) requires members registered as growers to submit data relating to certification targets for their estates, scheme smallholders and independent fresh fruit bunch (FFB) suppliers, via an annual communications of progress (ACOP) report.

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      92. Member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)?

      2,004

    • Yes
      0.5 / 0.5
      Source

      93. Submitted most recent RSPO Annual Communication of Progress (ACOP)?

    • Yes
      0.5 / 0.5
      Source

      94. Listed all countries and regions in which operates in most recent RSPO Annual Communication of Progress (ACOP)?

      The company states all of the countries and regions in which the it operates: Malaysia (Perak, Selangor), Indonesia (Central Kalimantan)

    • Yes
      0.5 / 0.5
      Source

      95. Time-bound plan for achieving 100% RSPO certification of estates within 5 years or achieved 100% RSPO-certification of estates?

      2,020 - This has been extended from 2019

    • Yes
      0.5 / 0.5
      Source

      96. Time-bound plan for achieving 100% RSPO certification of scheme/associated smallholders within 5 years or achieved 100% RSPO-certification of scheme/associated smallholders?

      2,020

    • Yes
      0.5 / 0.5
      Source

      97. Year expected to achieve 100% RSPO certification of all palm product processing facilities?

      2,010

    • Yes
      0.5 / 0.5
      Source

      98. RSPO-certified within three years of joining the RSPO or by November 2010, for companies joining prior to finalisation of the RSPO certification systems in November 2007?

      2,008

    • Yes
      2 / 2
      Source

      99. Percentage of mills RSPO-certified (above 75%)?

      4 (80%)

    • Yes
      2 / 2
      Source

      100. Percentage of area (ha) RSPO-certified (above 75%)?

      37,060 (84.9%)

    • No
      0 / 2
      Source

      101. Percentage of scheme/associated smallholders (ha) RSPO-certified (above 75%)?

      0 (0%)

    • No
      0 / 2
      Source

      102. Percentage of FFB supply (tonnes) from independent FFB suppliers that is RSPO-certified (above 75%)?

      0 (0%)

    • Partial
      1.5 / 2
      Source

      103. Percentage of all palm oil and oil palm products handled/traded/processed (tonnes) that are RSPO-certified (above 75%)?

      156,215 (66.2%)

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      104. Sells or processes/trades RSPO-certified palm oil through Segregated or Identity Preserved supply chains?

      Mass Balance, Segregated, Identity Preserved

    • No
      0 / 1
      Source

      105. Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certified (100%)?

      The company has had the main audit for its Indonesian plantations completed but is not yet certified

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      106. Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certified?

      The company states that the MSPO Certification was obtained in September 2018 for all mills and estates in Malaysia

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      107. Certified under voluntary sustainability certification scheme (e.g. ISCC, SAN, RSB, etc.)?

      Two of the company's mills are certified under RSPO NEXT

  • Smallholders and suppliers Smallholders and suppliers 5 / 7 71.4%
    • Companies should report details of any programmes or schemes to support both schemed and independent smallholders, as well as criteria to assess suppliers on compliance with company policies, and in what cases suppliers should be suspended or excluded due to non-compliance.

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      108. Programme to support scheme smallholders?

      Support with land development, provides training and financial support

    • Partial
      0.5 / 1
      Source

      109. Number or percentage of scheme smallholders involved in programme?

      The company states "To date 1,285.13Ha of Plasma have been developed for 787 smallholders" but it is not clear how many smallholders are directly supported

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      110. Programme to support independent smallholders?

      Providing training on good agricultural practices, health and safety and fire management

    • Partial
      0.5 / 1
      Source

      111. Number or percentage of independent smallholders involved in programme?

      59 - The company held a Smallholders Field Day but it is unclear if this was for independent smallholders or plasma smallholders

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      112. Process used to prioritise, assess and/or engage suppliers on compliance with company's policy and/or legal requirements?

      The company states it has raised awareness of the company's sustainability commitments with suppliers through engagement survey and one-to-one meetings. It provides details of its process to prioritise and assess suppliers and the self-assessment questionnaire that is filled in by suppliers and contractors

    • No
      0 / 1
      No source

      113. Suspension or exclusion criteria for suppliers?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      114. Percentage of suppliers assessed and/or engaged on compliance with company requirements?

      The company provides the number of 'key' suppliers and contractors assessed

  • Governance and grievances Governance and grievances 4.5 / 6 75%
    • Companies should operate in an ethical manner at all levels, providing accessible channels and clear procedures for both employees and external stakeholders to raise any grievance or complaint with the company, as well as allowing for whistleblowing.

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      115. Commitment to ethical conduct and prohibition of corruption?

    • Partial
      0.5 / 1
      Source

      116. Whistleblowing procedure?

      The company has a whistleblowing policy, but the procedure is not detailed

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      117. Own grievance or complaints system?

    • Yes
      1 / 1
      Source

      118. Grievance or complaints system is accessible to internal and external stakeholders?

    • Partial
      1 / 2
      Source

      119. Details of grievances disclosed?

      The company details a summary of land dispute cases from 2014-2016, but not other types of grievances

Media monitor: United Plantations Bhd

SPOTT monitors global media sources for coverage of assessed companies. The media monitor gathers reports about specific activities related to the assessment indicator categories. ZSL does not assess the validity of media coverage, but users can explore the media monitor to provide context on implementation, and infer risks associated with reported operations on the ground.

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Research protocols: United Plantations Bhd

Research protocols guide how ZSL conducts SPOTT assessments and allocates scores to ensure a fair and consistent approach, setting the expectations for companies on how they should publish ESG data. The full palm oil indicator framework contains 119 indicators across 10 categories, aligned with corporate reporting initiatives.

SPOTT is a ZSL initiative.
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