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Engineering a sustainable future

By: GAR Posted: May 14, 2017 239 views Tags: ,

Novianti Mandasari, Environmental Engineer, 25 years old, Riau

“Almost 70 percent of oil palm fresh fruit bunches becomes waste once crude palm oil (CPO) is extracted. We are referring to waste such as fibres and shells, as well as liquid effluent. So a big part of my job is to reuse, reduce, recycle, and manage this “waste” responsibly—I play an important role in producing palm oil sustainably.

I travel between mills, warehouses, and plantations to ensure that we are implementing best practices throughout our operations every day, from testing chemical levels to monitoring air quality. I also work closely with officers from the regional and central government on requirements for our environmental management licences.

Another part of my job is to work with local environmental agencies. We conduct checks on our waste management and evaluate the results—they will advise on treatment and then we work on measures to be more sustainable. I’m happy to report that the company has good environmental practices and strong waste management ratings. That means I’m making a difference.

The company implemented a Zero Waste Policy in all our operations. We reuse 100 percent of the solid and liquid waste generated from the CPO production process. And since 2007, the company has participated in the Indonesian Ministry of Environment’s national public environmental reporting initiative known as the Programme for Pollution Control, Evaluation and Rating (PROPER). The programme uses a colour-coded rating to assess water and air pollution control, hazardous waste management, and environmental impact.

Novi at work
Novi at work.

So every six months I organise workshops on waste management for my colleagues to keep them updated with the latest developments and technology. Our goal is to maintain that 100 percent figure in reusing waste from the CPO production process.

Most are surprised to see a woman working as an environmental engineer in this male-dominated industry but it doesn’t faze me. I studied environmental engineering at Diponegoro University, which was male-dominated too. I like the challenge and I’m proud of the work I do. It is quite extraordinary—I turn waste into something useful.”

Using technology and R&D to improve yields and agricultural practices is one of the core tenets of our GAR Social and Environmental Policy (GSEP). Learn more about how we are delivering our policy through our SMART Research Institute.

Click here to discover more stories behind the extraordinary, everyday lives of the people transforming palm oil.