CSR

CSR

Corporate social responsibility

Asian Bamboo plays an active role in the development of the agriculture sector and the communities in which we operate. We are fortunate to be involved in a business which naturally has a positive impact on the environment at the same time as our operations are helping the local bamboo farmers to raise their income and living standards. As our employees are an integral part of our success, we have strict rules governing our employee relations to ensure that all our employees are given a chance to further their careers while receiving fair compensation for their labour in a safe working environment. Furthermore, as a National Key Flagship Enterprise in the agriculture sector, it is our responsibility to lead the development of the agriculture industry in areas such as food safety and plantation management.

National Key Flagship Enterprise

In August 2008, Fujian Xinrixian, a wholly owned subsidiary of Asian Bamboo and the group’s operating company, was named a National Key Flagship Enterprise. As such, we are responsible for promoting countryside development, securing higher income for farmers and strengthening the competitiveness of the Chinese agriculture industry. Companies accredited with this honour, and their subsidiaries, enjoy preferential tax treatment for a period of at least four years.

Evaluation and selection of National Key Flagship Enterprises are conducted by a panel of eight PRC government authorities, including the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation.

Partnership with DEG

On 15 September 2009, Fujian Xinrixian Group Co. Ltd ("Xinrixian"), a wholly owned subsidiary of Asian Bamboo, entered into a loan agreement with DEG - Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH ("DEG").

In line with DEG’s common practice when entering into a long-term relationship, we have worked out an action plan which will further align Asian Bamboo’s operations with international best practice in terms of environmental and social responsibility.

Environmental impact of our operations

Asian Bamboo is committed to environmental protection and we have adopted a "Close to Nature Forest Management" policy. We are working with our partners and local villages to not only improve the efficiency of the agriculture industry, but also the living standards of farmers through sustainable growth. All employees are responsible and accountable for operating in an environmentally responsible manner. We do not use any fertilisers and according to an independent third party study our yearly harvest is within long-term sustainable ranges.

According to an independent third party study, as a result of our plantation management, the average density of bamboo stands has, on average, increased from less than 1,500 culms/ha to 1,965 culms/ha, while the average culm diameter has increased from less than 8 cm to 9.6 cm. To enhance sustainable management, we have set up a scientific bamboo research centre to develop planning and management systems for the plantations, such as identifying and marking areas of high ecological sensitivity.

The report concluded that: "The expert team generally received a very positive impression concerning the management of the bamboo plantations by the Company with regard to environmental compliance and performance. Becoming involved in the villages as an important stakeholder in local natural resource management, the Company plays and will play a key role in local rural development."

Employee relations

Our employees play a vital role in the success of our company. We therefore ensure that all employees are treated fairly and with dignity, in an environment which fosters personal and professional development. Our compensation scheme is tied to experience and performance and we provide training and personal development programmes for employees at all levels. In accordance with PRC regulations on social insurance, we participate in a pension contribution plan, a medical insurance plan, an unemployment plan, a maternity insurance plan and a work-related injury insurance plan for our employees. The Group has not experienced any strikes, labour disputes or difficulties in the recruitment and retention of experienced staff. Therefore, the management team concludes that the Group has a good working relationship with its employees.

On 1 July 2008, the Group established the Xinrixian Help Fund from which employees and bamboo farmers can apply for financial support in case of emergency. The charity is funded through voluntary contributions from the management team and employees.

Our contribution to the bamboo farmers and the villages where we operate

The Chinese government has in various policy documents repeatedly stressed the importance of developing the agriculture industry and the rural areas in China. As our business is directly supporting the modernisation of the agriculture industry and helps to increase farmers’ income, we are supporting the local governments in achieving their goals. In recognition of our efforts to support the development of the domestic agriculture industry, as well as our contribution to the government’s efforts to raise farmers’ incomes, we were named as a National Key Flagship Enterprise in August 2008, which in addition to being a great honour also guarantees us tax exemption for a period of at least four years.

An independent CSR study showed that the farmers are pleased with the lease structure, as compensation received from Asian Bamboo is higher than the revenue they would otherwise generate themselves. On average 70% of the lease-payment goes directly to the farmers, with the remaining 30% being used to fund local infrastructure investments, including the construction of roads and hydroelectric power stations. The payments going directly to the farmers are often used to fund housing or education, in turn improving living conditions and enabling future generations to receive better schooling.

In light of the relatively low skill levels among farmers in China, the Group has engaged specialists in the bamboo industry to provide flexible and practical training which combines relevant modern technology with realistic applications. In this way, the farmers gain access to the latest technical know-how and cultivation technology which, in turn, improves the overall economic benefits of cultivating Moso Bamboo.

We also support educational efforts in the areas where our plantations are located by donating books and stationery supplies to the village primary schools.

The agriculture industry and food safety

Our bamboo shoots are 100% organic as we do not use any fertilisers and our plantations are located in remote areas where there are no polluting industries nearby. The processing of the organic bamboo shoots is in strict accordance with the highest food safety standards and we have obtained organic food accreditations in China, Japan, Europe and the US.

In August 2008, the construction of the Xinrixian Research Centre on the campus of Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University was completed. Mr. Lin Zuojun, the founder and chairman of Asian Bamboo, donated in his personal capacity an area of nearly 4,000 square metres, one of the largest donations the university has ever received.

In August 2009, Fujian Xinrixian, a wholly owned subsidiary of Asian Bamboo and the group’s operating company, received the GLOBALGAP certification. The certification process was carried out by the renowned Swiss based company SGS.

GLOBALGAP (GAP is an abbreviation for Good Agricultural Practices), is a private sector body which sets voluntary international standards for the certification of agricultural products. It is a key reference in the market place and the certification is subject to a three year revision cycle and requires continuous improvements in line with technological and market developments. Fujian Xinrixian is the first company in Fujian Province, and only the second company in China, to have achieved this certification for its bamboo shoots.

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