At Eagle High Plantations (EHP), Bobby Joris has lived through a transformation in local community attitudes. ‘This was no overnight revolution’, he says, ‘but the reward for three years of patient, intelligent effort.’ Building a sustainable approach to local stakeholder relations in stages is a key aspect of the champions network policy framework.
Stage One – what’s in it for me?
Establishing any large-scale resource business - palm oil being a good example - requires a real effort, outside of recognized environmental impact studies, to understand the needs of local communities. Palm oil cultivation and processing consumes significant amounts of water, and preserving water resources for both community and company is a core prerequisite in itself. But it can also be the beginning of a new positive phase for any agricultural region, not simply a defensive strategy.