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Building a culture of innovation to drive sustainable agriculture


Increased climate change and weather volatility; health concerns of the increasingly discerning consumer; food supply shortages; rising sustainability expectations; these are some of the challenges facing agriculture-related businesses such as the palm oil industry. Given these conditions, GAR recognises that it can no longer rely on conventional ways of doing things, the way forward is through innovation.

Innovation in action: The increased frequency of El Nino threats encouraged GAR’s development of drought-resilient seeds. Photo credit: Dami Mas
Innovation in action: The increased frequency of El Nino threats encouraged GAR’s development of drought-resilient seeds. Photo credit: Dami Mas

Out-of-the-box thinking is needed to respond effectively to such industry challenges while still meeting the supply demands of the commodity. And who better to make impactful changes than those who work directly with the fruit itself? Over the past decade, GAR has been encouraging innovative thinking to help the industry evolve.

Our Sinar Mas Plantation Conference (SMPC) has been a key forum in sharing these innovative ideas, and at the recent event attended by 400 leaders from GAR’s mills and estates, 44 employee-led innovations were presented and selected for further implementation. From creating ergonomic pest injection tools for improving productivity, to devising new uses for palm oil by-products that can close the loop on waste materials, the conference served as a platform for sharing between employees from different parts of the workforce.

SMPC 2017 focused on key topics of innovation and modernisation of the palm oil industry to stay ahead.
SMPC 2017 focused on key topics of innovation and modernisation of the palm oil industry to stay ahead.

Since the inception of the SMPC, over 117 employee ideas have been successfully developed to set better standards for the organisation. Many of these innovations are driven by the desire to be more sustainable as teams from the palm oil estates and mills use GAR’s Social & Environmental Policy (GSEP) as a roadmap to guide their innovation thought process.

Sustainability is part of our DNA and the company encourages employees from our estates and mills to contribute to new and better ways of managing operations, setting higher standards for how we operate in a sustainable manner. The company recently announced a breakthrough in cultivating exceptionally high-yielding oil palm planting material – Eka 1 and Eka 2 – developed in our research centres. They will enable the company to increase yields to the highest levels in the industry, without increasing land under cultivation, thereby contributing to the sustainable production of palm oil. Read more about Eka 1 and Eka 2.

As a responsible industry leader in the palm oil sector, GAR will ensure its sustainable growth through continuous innovation and improvement.

Read more about our external involvement in advocating innovation in the palm oil industry here.  

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