Malaysian forest giant Samling is targeting total carbon neutrality by the close of 2025. It will also eliminate waste within its production facilities and is dedicated to achieving full circularity in its supply chain.
Last week, the company was recognised by the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) for its commitment to diversification and value-added manufacturing as part of its ‘Timber 2.0 Strategy.’
Samling, which owns timber operations in Malaysia in addition to Guyana, New Zealand and China, is one of the world’s largest downstream hardwood processors.
According to Samling Group CEO Lawrence Chia, the strategy will see the company move towards “increasing value-added production using resources from (more than 190,000 hectares of plantation forests.”
More than 90% of raw materials from plantations are used in downstream activities, with Mr Chia confident that the 100% target is achievable.
“Not only do we utilise resources from our plantations in our downstream production of plywood, furniture and kitchen cabinets,” Mr Chia said, “but we also utilise residual wood from the plantations to produce wood pellets and to manufacture door skins.”
Wood Central understands that downstream activities will also include biomass, with a new report commissioned by the International Energy Agency (IEA) reporting that demand for biomass is expected to boom over the next few decades as the world decarbonises.
Listed on the Forest 500, the company has been a significant player in the global plywood market for almost 30 years.
It has collaborated with Masonite International Corporation, a US-based company that produces and markets door facings and doors, and Japanese firms Daiken Corporation and Itochu Corporation.
A major focus, Mr Chia said, was improving the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.
In recent years, Samling has been the subject of commentary around its SPOTT assessment, which tracks transparency of environmental, social and governance risk and best practices.
A copy of Samling’s current SPOTT assessment is available here.
An initiative of the Zoological Society of London, which last week reported that the world’s pulp and paper manufacturers were not ready for the EU Deforestation Regulation, the assessment tracks palm oil, timber and pulp and natural rubber.
According to Sarawak Premier Abang Johari, the focus on ESG and products is critical for the future development of the state’s industry.
“I would like to urge (STIDC) to change its direction slightly so that we become a friendly player to the environment, and if we do this, the market will be with you,” Premier Johari said.
Wood Central understands Premier Johari was responding to recent criticisms levelled at the Sarawick-based timber companies over their ESG performance.
“It’s crucial for the state to produce and export sustainable products that meet international standards; research and development must continue cooperating with local universities to identify best industry practices.”
Samling efforts align with the Sarawak government’s aspirations to enhance the development of the timber industry.
As reported in June, Sarawick is looking to boost export earnings using value-added forest products.
Under the state’s post-Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030, it targets USD 2 billion in exports by producing wood panels, engineered wood, furniture and bamboo products.
A copy of the plan can be downloaded here.
In the case of Samling, changes to its downstream manufacturing have already led to total exports jumping to USD 117 million for 2022.
For furniture, the company is now responsible for 75% of Sarawick’s total USD 12 million export industry, with exports to grow significantly over the coming years.