Water management

Most of our operations are based in areas with very high rainfall and with little need for field irrigation or competition for water sources. We use river water for nursery irrigation and for processing in mills.

We have always sought to protect natural water ways through ongoing monitoring of Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and other parameters as well as maintaining appropriate riparian buffer zones throughout our operations. We only release treated mill and refinery effluent to local waterways at our NBPOL West New Britain. Other sites are applying treated effluent to the land as fertiliser or are not yet discharging as the effluent ponds have yet to be filled.

The legal BOD limit in Papua New Guinea is 100ppm, and our group target is to stay below 90ppm. As we upgrade our effluent treatment, we are looking to reduce our target even further and eventually meet the ambitious World Bank recommendation of 50ppm. We report on BOD levels and mill water usage in our biennial sustainability reports. Last public report shows that there is a total of 7 times in 2017 where levels are above parameters against 16 times in 2014, an improvement of 56%.

We are also aiming to roll out monitoring Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) levels by the end of 2019 across all NBPOL sites. We will be working towards improving our COD levels by the end of 2020. Currently NBPOL WNB Ltd. is the only site conducting COD monitoring. Annual submission of the RSPO Greenhouse gas calculator shows for biogas units there is a 81% reduction in COD after the units are installed. Year to date there is a reduction of 84% of COD after the digesters.

PNG legal requirements at this stage are only on BOD values which is reported under a submission to Conservation and Environment Protection Authority and reviewed external during the audit by RSPO.

Beyond our operations, we work closely with NGOs seeking to protect marine life in West New Britain where our plantations are close to some of the world’s most impressive coral reefs.

We have an active research programme aimed at developing bio-indicators to monitor stream health. As part of our community engagement we are, however, becoming more aware of the social aspects associated with access to water. In rural Papua New Guinea, it is estimated that only 20% of people have access to enhanced water sources and sanitation, and we are therefore increasing our focus in this area as part of our One Hour Partnership. In Solomon Islands, conditions are less dire with 50-70% of the rural population with access to adequate water sources.


Site water management plans

West New Britain water management plan

Higaturu water management plan

Milne Bay water management plan

Poliamba water management plan

GPPOL water management plan (coming soon)
Ramu water management plan (coming soon)