Investing in some of the world’s poorest, most volatile economies brings with it huge social and environmental responsibility. We take this responsibility very seriously and are committed to high standards of business integrity, environmental and social impact.
In 2018 we developed an Environmental, Social and Governance Management System (ESMS) in accordance with the International Finance Corporations Performance Standards and World Bank Environmental Health and Safety guidelines.
Our ESMS is a comprehensive, lean, practical document, in line with our SME reality, and we have a dedicated E&S Officer overseeing its implementation throughout the Group. We have set environmental and social Key Performance Indicators for all of our operating companies, with a monthly reporting requirement. The Group’s E&S performance is monitored and reviewed directly by the Maris board and we are in the process of linking the KPIs to the UN Sustainable Development Goals .
We do not finance or engage otherwise in any activities listed under the Maris Shareholders Exclusion List, which is aligned with the exclusion list of FMO, The Netherlands Development Finance Company. The ESMS includes a New Investment Screening Procedure, which checks investment opportunities against international and national standards at all four investment stages - deal screening, preliminary investment review, due diligence and final investment review. The Procedure is applicable to our holding company and all operational companies and includes new investments as well as expansion of existing investments.
From water conservation and recycling measures at our agri-businesses, to sustainable and energy efficient building practices in our real estate developments, we constantly seek not only to minimise our impact on the environment, but improve how we protect it.
At our sustainable forestry operation, Equatoria Teak Company, in South Sudan, we have planted over 3 million trees, which we believe capture over 20,000 tonnes of CO2E per annum. This makes the entire Maris group net carbon positive, something we are proud to have achieved and constantly seek to improve.
In close association with our shareholders, Maris has developed a strong social component to all our activities. We support local communities in all our locations, through direct employment, local infrastructure development, educational support and a range of outreach programmes. We monitor and measure our social impact across our portfolio and regularly consult with communities on progress.
Across our portfolio we support local communities and provide jobs that drive growth and reduce poverty. We employ nearly 2,500 people and support thousands of smallholder farmers, providing them with that critical link to premium-priced export markets.In addition to the Labour Laws of our host countries, we subscribe to International Labour Organisation (ILO) core labour standards and ILO basic terms and conditions. We have also committed to respect the International Bill of Human Rights in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Our Development Impact Reporting framework ensures we communicate key development information to our shareholders annually. This includes measures such as job creation, the type of job created, gender of our employees, local direct expenditure and local taxes paid.
We adhere to the same standards of corporate governance as public companies listed on major stock markets. Engagement with our shareholders is robust, with quarterly reporting, a full company annual report and an annual shareholders meeting. Our Business Integrity policies include Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Anti-Money Laundering and Whistleblower. They apply to all our businesses, regardless of location.