SHINING LIGHT ON INDONESIA’S SUSTAINABILITY CHALLENGES — THE ECONOMIST SUMMIT 2015, JAKARTA
Jakarta, 10 March 2015 — As part of ongoing engagement with external communities, APRIL joined a high profile group of decision makers including government officials, business leaders and opinion formers in Jakarta last month to discuss and debate the macro-economic and political challenges and opportunities facing Indonesia.
Titled ‘New light or false dawn’ and hosted by respected international business publication, The Economist, the full day event covered political and environmental themes through a business lens, while at the same time evaluating the first 100 days of the current government. Consistent with the current mood of optimism, it was a positive day full of insight.
Tony Wenas, President Director of PT. Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP), a member of APRIL Group, was featured as a panelist in a session focused on resource demand, governance and environmental issues.
During the panel discussion, Mr. Wenas shared the implementation of APRIL Group’s Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP) that guides the company in balancing social, environmental and economic imperatives.
With the Policy, prior to plantation development, the company voluntarily identifies and protect 250,000 hectare of High Conservation Value Forest within concession areas, work towards its 1 for 1 goal of conserving 1 hectare for every hectare of plantation, achieved its commitment to complete plantation establishment by end of 2014, and have the Policy implementation be scrutinized by an independent Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC). The SFMP also mandated a moratorium on plantation development on areas where High Conservation Value (HCV) assessments have not been completed.
The lively session focused on the obstacles standing in the way of progress for Indonesia as it tackles the complex relationship between environmental, social and economic goals. Other session panelists included Dr Putera Parthama, senior advisor to the Ministry of Forestry and the Environment, Beate Trankmann, Indonesia Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme, Rodrigo Chaves of the World Bank and Mohamad Fadhil Hasan from the Indonesian Palm Oil Association.
Mr. Wenas added that consistent policy implementation was key to progress while at the same time highlighting the need of a greater support for the “One Map” initiative that will be the main point of reference of land demarcation and land-use rights. Overlapping land-rights and land claims are persistent problems across Indonesia.
In response to question about deforestation, Mr. Wenas asserted that the company operates on degraded land that was allocated by the Government of Indonesia as production forest area, and prior to plantation development voluntarily identify and conserve 250,000 hectares of High Conservation Value Forest within its concession area, as well as managing a further 40,000 hectares of Eco-Restoration projects.
The panel discussion also traversed related issues including the impact of inconsistent regulation and law enforcement, which has long been cited by investors in Indonesia as a challenge to be overcome. It was generally noted that policy conceived in Jakarta does not always translate into cohesive implementation at a local level, where authorities can be influenced by short-term priorities and reluctant to act in the nation’s wider long-term interests.
Below are video excerpts from the event featuring Tony Wenas, Anderson Tanoto, as well as comments from several event participants.