Tag Archives for " Networking "

​United Plantations Jendarata Estate visit

​​By ​Lone Friis Larsen, Board Director Malaysian Danish Business Council, Sales & Marketing Director, Nordic Moors

On Thursday, 29th August 2019, MDBC once again had the privilege of visiting one of our founding members; United Plantations, at their Jendarata Estate in Perak.

 MDBC members got to tour the historic plantation, witnessing all areas of production from the agricultural source to the refined products, including R&D, harvesting and evacuation, milling, quality control, and refining.

​The delegation was hosted by CEO Dato´ Carl
Bek-Nielsen and Executive Director Martin
Bek-Nielsen, who made their passion for quality, innovation and sustainability felt throughout.

UP is a highly dynamic, vertically integrated plantation company, that produces quality palm oil and derived products. With a history reaching back to the late 1800’s, UP now covers almost 41.000 hectares of Malaysian soil, operating multiple Palm Oil Mills along two refineries, plus considerable interest in Indonesia.

​Breakfast briefing: How to feed the 10 billion world population ​projected by 2050

​The day started with a breakfast presentation, addressing facts and context surrounding the key Palm Oil issues that have been aired in the press as of late. The facts are in support of palm oil, a crop that can be harvested more than once a month, providing an oil yield per hectare for more favorable than that of (surprisingly) much less scrutinized annual crops such as soybeans. With a world population projected to reach 10 billion people by 2050, and a fast rise in calorie consumption our present arable land will not meet demand.

A redistribution of crops is required, as is getting yield up for individual crops. Thankfully the discourse is changing from a standpoint that aims to boycott palm oil to one that encourages the use of sustainable palm oil.

​The world's first producer of certified sustainable palm oil

UP have been an active member of the RSPO (The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) since the early beginnings, and UP’s Malaysian plantations were successfully certified in 2008, becoming the world’s first producer of certified sustainable palm oil. The company has subsequently been recertified twice and in 2017, UP became the first company in Asia Pacific to become RSPO NEXT certified, which in a nutshell means: No Deforestation, No Fire, No Planting on Peat, Reduction of GHGs (Green House Gasses), Respect for Human Rights and Transparency. This is applicable at an organization wide level, including investments, joint ventures and in the organization’s wider supply base.

​Learning how sustainable palm oil is produced

It was very enlightening to see how sustainable palm oil is produced, down to using owls for pest control and planting bushes to attract the right bees, instead of using fertilizer to combat certain plant infestations.

UP has shown us that sustainability can and should be ingrained in every aspect of a value driven organization. The company is one of the most efficiently managed, eco-friendly companies in Malaysia, well known globally for its active and innovative approach to best agricultural practices and high-quality standards.

UP have taken a leading role in the research and development of high yielding palm oil and now possesses considerable know-how in plant breeding, agronomy, and micro-propagation through its own R&D facilities for the development of improved planting materials and practices. This has resulted in UP being one of the highest yielding, plantations in Malaysia, in some areas achieving yields far above the national average. Rather than confidentializing this information for their own interests, it is made available to competitors along with UP’s hybridized high yield plant seeds.

Since 2005, UP have been identifying ways to reduce its Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHE) and remain at the very forefront in implementing GHG reducing projects - including installation of the first biogas facility in Malaysia and the use of energy efficient componentry throughout their mills, such as frequency inverters and highly efficient pumps from other leading MDBC members (Danfoss and Grundfos). UP runs a dynamic waste management and utilization system with the aim of achieving zero waste and the company is furthermore home to a number of tree reserve parks within which their BioD has initiated a range of ground-breaking conservation and biodiversity programmes.

​From left:
1) Allan Jensen, Chairman MDBC, Head of Asia-Pacific Region, Danfoss Global Services. 
2) Jari Niemi, Chairman MFBC, Sunborn International Ltd
3) Roberto Benetello, CEO EUMCCI
4) Dato´ Carl Bek-Nielsen, CEO United Plantations Berhad
5) Martin Bek-Nielsen, Executive Director ​United Plantations Berhad

We were thoroughly impressed with what we saw and worth mentioning is that every facility was found squeaky clean. An important note, seeing that palm oil is primarily a food product.

UP is not only known for its environmental awareness. The company places immense value on human resources, exhibiting a high level of social responsibility. The company provides emoluments well above the minimum statutory requirements and prescribes to the happiness, safety and health of both their employees and their dependents. Employee perks include, a welfare fund, Scholarships and financial assistance for education, an array of social amenities, comfortable homes with clean drinking water, clinics, hospitals and an old folks’ home.

We got to witness a primary school classroom with enthusiastic, motivated children exhibiting discipline and good character. We also witnessed an active effort towards religious harmony with the allocation of several places of worship including a church, a temple and a mosque.

​It was a long day with a wealth of information, but we were rejuvenated with a visit to the Danish Bernam Bakery and a delicious poolside lunch at one of UP’s recreational clubhouses.

​Join us for next visit

We strongly suggest that you join us for our next visit to United Plantations; it is truly a sight to be seen. If you have visited UP in years past, you are very likely to witness many changes on your next visit, as this dynamic company never rests in their efforts to continuously improve and push the bar. UP holds many lessons, not only for the food industry, but for any value driven organization aiming towards, sustainability, efficiency and a highly motivated work force.

​Become a member today!

The Challenges Facing Pakatan Harapan!

​Monday, April 29th, 2019 Political scientist and policy advisor Mr. Yin Shao Loong graced MDBC for the third time in as many years, sharing insights into how the Pakatan Harapan government have fared during their first year of operation. 

Mr. Shao Loong offered an interesting insight into differences between ministerial cultures and challenges with a financial situation worse than originally anticipated but above all, he send a message of hope, highlighting that Malaysia is constructively moving forward, step by step. 

There is much to celebrate, not the least a proven, peaceful transition testifying to a stable democracy and the rule of law. PM Dr Tun Mahathir is astutely navigating through stormy waters in search of a way to not just achieve personal legacy, but to put Malaysia right, especially for the bottom 40%, reducing inequality. Structural changes take time, but there have been frank assessments and the country is slowly and surely moving forward, regaining its footing. 

​It will be interesting to see where the dialogue goes the next 6 months on reshaping industrial policy, putting more emphasis on manufacturing and generating jobs, and we hope to have Mr. Shao Loong back before long, sharing insights on how that consultative process is progressing.

Thank you to all who joined us and a special thanks to Uhrenholt for once again providing us with delicious Danish cheeses.

Fastelavn, the most festive networking event!

It was a colorful Sunday in Mont Kiara as MDBC hosted one of our more festive networking events - the annual Danish family carnival, Fastelavn. This offered a great opportunity for our member to enjoy and share a popular Danish tradition with family, friends, colleagues, partners and clients.

Allan Jensen, Chairman MDBC, welcomed everyone introducing the traditions, sponsors and the upcoming MDBC events.

Traditional events include slå katten af tønden ("hit the cat out of the barrel"), which is somewhat similar to using a piñata. 

The Fastelavn Clown entertained the youngest participants making bolloon animals, singing songs and much more.

The barrels are full of candy and sometimes oranges and has the image of a cat on it. After the candy pours out, the game continues until the entire barrel is broken. 

The kids had a wonderful time in their creative costumes, enjoying fun entertainment, bashing of barrels, great prizes, and of course large amounts of candy. It was a good day for the grownups too, with clear skies and the opportunity to feast on juicy hot dogs and yummy refreshments from our generous sponsors - Carlsberg, Sunquick, Uhrenholt (Emborg), Arla, Copenhagen Coffee and Danfoss.

Thank you to our sponsors and everyone who came out to celebrate with us!

These kind of events brings the opportunity for networking in a relaxed atmosphere, enjoying the delicious snacks and beverages kindly provided by our generous sponsors. 

The children enjoys celebrating traditions from home.

There were prizes for best costume, and the choice wasn't easy with so many creative and home made outfits.

Cat queens and Cat Kings of 2019.

The one who knocks down the bottom of the barrel (making all the candy spill out) becomes kattedronning ("queen of cats"); the one who knocks down the last piece of the barrel becomes kattekonge ("king of cats").

What is Fastelavn?

The term Fastelavn comes from Old Danish fastelaghen, which was a borrowing of the Middle Low German vastel-avent, meaning "fast-evening", or the day before Lent. 

Traditional events include slå katten af tønden ("hit the cat out of the barrel"), which is somewhat similar to using a piñata. The Danes use a wooden barrel, which is full of candy and sometimes oranges and has the image of a cat on it. After the candy pours out, the game continues until the entire barrel is broken. The one who knocks down the bottom of the barrel (making all the candy spill out) becomes kattedronning ("queen of cats"); the one who knocks down the last piece of the barrel becomes kattekonge ("king of cats").

In Denmark, the barrel tradition has been practised for centuries, possibly introduced by Dutch immigrants to Copenhagen during the reign of Christian II of Denmark in the early 1500s. Historically, there was a real cat in the barrel, and beating the barrel was superstitiously considered a safeguard against evil. It was practised up until the 1800s, with the last known event occurring in the 1880s. The cat was not killed, but allowed to escape when the barrel was broken. 

Luncheon at the Ambassadors residence with MITI and MIDA

Today, a number of business leaders from Danish companies were invited by Danish Ambassador Jesper Vahr to a luncheon at the Ambassadors residence, hosting the Secretary General of MITI, Datuk Isham Ishak along with several senior staff from MITI and MIDA

Fair trade, not protectionism were keywords from Datuk Isham, who also emphasised a strong focus on industry 4.0 and on SME’s as well as a focus on fighting corruption, coordinating important policies across all ministries and on businesses to think not just Malaysia, but ASEAN.

Businesses brought up more streamlined international trade processes, enforcement of IPR and predictability in regulations. On balance there was a very positive spirit with participants feeling that Malaysia is a great place to do business and to live and Danish companies will continue to plan for increased business ties with Malaysia.

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