Chia (fourth left) receiving the award from Abang Johari.

MIRI (Aug 16): Samling Group’s efforts in diversifying its operations with greater emphasis on high value-added production have won the prestigious ‘Most Diversified and Value-Adding Timber Manufacturer’ award by Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC).

The award ceremony graced by Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg was held in conjunction with STIDC’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Samling’s efforts, according to STIDC, were in line with Sarawak government’s aspirations to enhance the development of the timber industry and to achieve targeted total annual export earnings of RM8 billion by 2030.

Under Post-Covid Development Strategy 2030, the state government is intensifying efforts to transform the timber industry into a high value-added and income sector by focusing on the production of wood panels, engineered wood, furniture and bamboo products.

Samling Group’s CEO Lawrence Chia, who received the award on behalf of the company, said the company was honoured and grateful for being recognised for its concerted efforts to support the timber industry in Sarawak as well as the socio-economic development of the state.

“The award is testament to the company’s ambitious Timber 2.0 strategy which has seen the company steering towards increased value-added production using resources from planted forests,” he said a statement yesterday.

The ceremony was held at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching on Aug 14.

Commenting further, he said Samling was recognised for the high utilisation of raw materials from plantations in its downstream production activities which currently stands at 90 per cent, and that the company is aiming to achieve 100 per cent utilisation within two years.

“We have in place an ambitious plan towards carbon neutrality in the next couple of years and to achieve zero waste in our entire production processes.

“Basically, not only do we utilise resources from our plantations in our downstream production of plywood, furniture and kitchen cabinets; we even utilise residual wood from the plantations to produce wood pellets and to manufacture door skins, ensuring that nothing is wasted,” he said, noting that zero waste policy was also cited by STIDC.

Chia also said that Timber 2.0 would be carried out with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues top most of the agenda, as evidenced by the company’s continuous improvement in its SPOTT assessment score, which is also another area that was recognised by STIDC.

SPOTT assesses commodity producers, processors and traders on their public disclosure regarding their organisation, policies and practices related to ESG issues.

With the award, he added, Samling is recognised as the company which has ventured the most into diversification and value-adding measures, which contributed to its total export earnings of RM544 million in 2022. This included RM42 million in furniture exports, with a contribution of 75 per cent to the state’s total furniture exports of RM57 million.

It is an indication, he noted, that Samling is on the right path, with its Timber 2.0 plan of creating manufacturing facilities and using plantation forests, and that there are still many areas Samling is looking to improve in and diversify into.