Santanol Strengthens Commitment to Biodiversity

Due to the outdoor nature of our work at Santanol — tending to the sandalwood trees in our plantations — our team is exposed to plant and wildlife biodiversity. To create a natural environment to grow a product like ours, we rely on nature’s systems. Santanol would not exist without our biodiverse landscape: from the host plants that help sandalwood (a hemiparasitic species) to establish their roots; to the ladybugs that control harmful insects on the trees; and the goats that manage invasive weeds. We are thankful for what biodiversity does for us and believe our responsibility is to protect biodiversity throughout our operations.

Santanol’s 2023 Environmental and Sustainability Targets and Goals are based on respect for biodiversity. This includes a dedicated Water Management Plan and a Chemical Reduction Plan to ensure our commitment to minimize water use and minimize or eliminate chemical use is permanent. This year, we saw the creation of a Traceability Procedure that highlights and formalizes our commitment to full transparency. For conservation and sustainability at a local level, our team has developed a Biodiversity Action Plan to continue these efforts strategically.

The Bio-Spot Program

Santanol’s Bio-Spot Program is a project to record the diverse range of wildlife that make their home around the Kununurra plantations. Flyers promoting the program are posted around our site, with a Q-code to a Bio-Spot Google Form allowing team members to upload photos and information on the wildlife they see around the plantation. Findings are also shared during our weekly Toolbox Talk meetings, where we remind everyone to maintain a safe distance while observing, refrain from loud noises and sudden movements, and avoid nests of adults with young. 

The information submitted is added to a permanent Bio-Spot database, where we expect to see not just everyday species like crocodiles and dingoes, but possibly also protected and endangered species! Though the program is still in the early stages, our hope is for this program to become a long-term platform where everyone on site can see how their contributions build up the Biodiversity Action Plan.

Photo credit: Tim Leary, capturing a snake on the Santanol plantation for the Bio-Spot Program

An example of the type of photos Santanol team members are submitting to the Bio-Spot Program, keeping a safe distance from wildlife. (Credit: Tim Leary, Santanol)

Joining the Union for Ethical Biotrade, Affirming Our Commitment

Santanol recently became a member of the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT), a non-profit association whose members work to regenerate nature and secure a better future for all through the ethical sourcing of ingredients from biodiversity. 

UEBT membership demonstrates Santanol’s commitment to assessing our sourcing policies and practices in Australia in accordance with ethical principles and to promoting positive impacts for biodiversity and local communities. 

“We are delighted to join UEBT as a member and are committed to a world in which all people and biodiversity thrive,” says Holly Birch, Managing Director of Santanol. “This membership is a key milestone for Santanol. It shows the ethical impact and biodiversity development we can achieve through growing sandalwood trees and producing our sandalwood oils in a sustainable manner.”

We are delighted to join UEBT as a member and are committed to a world in which all people and biodiversity thrive.

To be accepted as a member, Santanol undertook the UEBT membership assessment, demonstrating compliance with its entry indicators and adopted a  3-year work plan to further improve the company’s ethical sourcing practices.

“Being a UEBT member, we are on a journey to advance practices that promote the regeneration of nature and secure a better future for all people,” adds Paul Moretta, Santanol’s Technical Director. “Through this collaboration, we are also targeting future certification achievement of our plantations.”

Achieving Higher Sustainability with ECOVADIS

Santanol also obtained an ECOVADIS Gold medal in 2023, again demonstrating our commitment to best practice as an industry leader. Our achievement lies in the strengths identified in our Environmental Policy — materials, chemicals and waste, our formalized process to assess and document environmental risks, and our quantitative objectives set on water, energy consumption and GHGs.

Remaining Aligned with Mercer

To be sustainable is a core value for Santanol, aligning with the core values of Mercer International. Our Santanol teams collaborate daily, with consistent communication with the Mercer groups, to achieve best practices in corporate social responsibility. Knowing that these best practices are well on their way to protecting the biodiversity in the region we call home is incredibly rewarding and we look forward to our future growth.