Asian Agri Enhances Fire Prevention Training

april land management

Forest fires devastate large amounts of peat forest in Indonesia on a yearly basis. While it would be almost impossible to prevent all fires in Indonesia, Asian Agri, which forms a part of the Royal Golden Eagle group of companies founded by entrepreneur Sukanto Tanoto, along with multiple non-profit organisations and state authorities are working non-stop to prevent forest and land fires.

Asian Agri, founded by Sukanto Tanoto, has taken large steps to prevent forest and land fires in collaboration with Fire Free Alliance (FFA) and the APRIL and Asian Agri initiated Fire Free Village Program (FFVP). The fire prevention initiatives of APRIL, which also forms part of RGE, and Asian Agri represent the four C’s philosophy of founder and chairman of RGE, Sukanto Tanoto and the RGE group of companies.

The newest collaboration initiated by Asian Agri to improve the training for forest fire prevention is with GAPKI Riau (as facilitator) and the Training Centre of Environment and Forestry (as educator).

Forest Fire Prevention Training

During Indonesia’s rainy season the teams of fire fighters and volunteers practise drills, exercise, train and visit rural villages to spread knowledge on fire prevention and firefighting, so that when the dry season inevitably comes, the teams are ready to perform their duties as efficiently as possible. These duties are not only to extinguish existing fires, but include routine patrols and monitoring high risk areas.

The rainy season training consists of up to 52 hours of lessons at the Training Centre for Environment and Forests, as well as 3 days of practical lessons in the village of Lubuk Ogong, Tambak.

During their training participants learn the basic skills needed to: use a GPS-based Android, execute fire patrol, inform the public about fire safety and prevention and participate in carefully controlled fire simulations.

Mahfud, one of the trainees who had participated in the event, is of the opinion that if more companies would be as concerned about the environment and became as involved in fire prevention efforts as Asian Agri is, that forest and land fires would undoubtedly be reduced even more, as this year the efforts from FFA and FFVP have already made a large difference.

For more information on Sukanto Tanoto and updates on FFA and FFVP visit:

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Three RGE Group Companies Honored with CSR Awards

At the end of November 2014, the Indonesian government’s Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture and its Corporate Forum for Community Development presented the year’s Indonesia CSR Awards in a ceremony in Jakarta. Among the companies honored, out of a field of close to 40, were the RGE Group companies Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper, Asian Agri, and Toba Pulp Lestari. Founded by current CEO Sukanto Tanoto, a self-made entrepreneur, philanthropist, and one of Indonesia’s richest individuals, the $15 billion RGE family maintains a global corporate presence in pulp and paper milling, energy production and delivery, forestry operations, and palm oil production.

CSR Award
CSR Award

The CSR Awards each year provide the chance for Indonesia’s public sector to recognize successful community-building efforts by the private sector. In addition, the awards serve as a source of inspiration and examples of how effective corporate social responsibility programs operate.

In awarding a gold medal to Asian Agri for its Economic Empowerment program, the judges of the CSR Awards recognized the company’s partnership program between its PT Inti Indosawit Subur palm oil operation and the Amanah group of independent growers located in Ukui in Riau Province. The awards committee focused on the success of the partnership in implementing stated goals, and on the positive economic impact it had produced for members of local communities. Asian Agri’s officer in charge of corporate social responsibility, Benjamin R. Hutagalung, delivered a pre-awards ceremony presentation that offered details on the program.

Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP), a division of the RGE company Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), earned a silver medal for its work supporting a local loan and savings program in Teluk Binjai, Riau. Meanwhile, Toba Pulp Lestari’s two silver medals recognized its construction of a center to further early childhood education in Kabupaten Toba Samosir in North Sumatra, and its support for an evergreen nursery within the Taman Eden 100 conservation area.

Asian Agri Raises Sustainability Profile

In November 2014, Indonesian palm oil production company Asian Agri announced its certification at the ISCC PLUS level for the crude palm oil produced at all its mills. The event distinguishes Asian Agri as the largest producer of crude palm oil operating in Indonesia under such certification. The company had previously obtained ISCC certification for its palm kernel processing operations. The independent testing and verification organization SGS Germany provided the certification.

The ISCC (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification) program grants verification of a company’s compliance with relevant environmental best practices regarding sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions. In 2011, the ISCC system achieved recognition from the European Commission as one of the first certification programs to comply with the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive of 2009.

The ISCC’s global system can be applied to multiple types of biomass products, and it provides a single framework that simplifies international commerce for a variety of businesses. Furthermore, the ISCC program looks at supply chains in their entirety, examining the process at every point from farm or field to end-user. This makes traceability up and down a supply chain far easier. To date, the ISCC has issued close to 5,000 certificates to forward-looking companies such as Asian Agri.

Through the ISCC PLUS certificate, Asian Agri demonstrates its ongoing commitment to economic, environmental, and social sustainability. The new certification will allow Asian Agri to increase its presence within the global marketplace, and to serve as an example for other palm oil production companies in maintaining environmentally sound operations. For this reason, Asian Agri also stands poised to assume a leading role in advertising the Indonesian palm oil industry as a significant player in the global sustainable economy.

Asian Agri, which works with some 29,000 smallholders families, is one component of the $15 billion RGE Group of corporations under the direction of founder and CEO Sukanto Tanoto of Indonesia. With operations established in 1979, Asian Agri now oversees 160,000 hectares of production land.

Palm Oil Fresh Fruit Bunch
Palm Oil Fresh Fruit Bunch

Agribusiness Conference Promotes Corporate-Smallholder Partnerships

In October 2014, the Department of Agribusiness and the Faculty of Economics and Management at Bogor Agricultural University came together with the Indonesian Agricultural Economic Community (PERHEPI) to host a conference on the benefits of close ties between palm oil companies and smallholders. The experts at the conference lectured and led discussions on the theme “Partnership Programs between Palm Oil Companies with Smallholders to Increase National Income.” Many of the best practices they promoted are similar to those Asian Agri has maintained for more than 25 years.

The conference participants noted that the growth of Indonesia’s vital agricultural sector has been hampered by the poor conditions under which smallholders live, although the labor and dedication of these individuals contribute substantially to the nation’s economic development. Many smallholders experience economic discrimination, in that they are forced to accept prices for their products that are predetermined by brokers. In contrast, Indonesia’s palm oil production companies, including Asian Agri, have maintained strong partnerships with smallholders for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Asian Agri, one of the RGE Group of natural resources-development corporations under the direction of chairman and founder Sukanto Tanoto, has worked to develop positive plasma scheme partnerships with smallholders since the late 1980s. Like other progressive palm oil companies, Asian Agri provides agricultural, plantation management, and entrepreneurship training programs for its smallholders. In addition, Asian Agri’s emphasis on environmentally sound business practices led its team to offer premium payments in excess of $200,000 USD to its smallholders in Jambi and Riau Provinces who obtained certificates of sustainability.

Relationships with local village cooperatives, as well as with forward-thinking companies such as Asian Agri, have translated into profits and a higher standard of living for numerous Indonesian smallholders. The cooperatives regulate sales and promote proper agricultural techniques, enabling the farmers to generate a steady income stream each month. The Association of People’s Nucleus Company the Palm Oil Growers (AspekPIR) recently presented Asian Agri with an award in acknowledgement of the company’s efforts to improve the welfare of smallholders, particularly those working the land in Riau Province.

 

For more information about Palm Oil Certification, please click here.

Asian Agri Refuses to Source Illegal Palm Oil

As a successful entrepreneur owning large corporations, it is important to receive certifications from trustworthy third parties to ensure your credibility in quality and practices. It may not be an easy or fast process but it is a required step to ensure your accountability to the stakeholders. Asian Agri, one of the natural resources production companies under the direction of the RGE Group and its founder, Indonesian businessman Sukanto Tanoto, operates with a production capacity of 1 million tons of palm oil annually. Asian Agri, which is among the world’s largest manufacturers in its market sector, has committed its efforts to sourcing only legally obtained palm oil product. The company has recently placed an emphasis on requiring legal certification regarding the provenance of all freshly harvest fruit product from each third-party supplier and wholly independent farmer with whom it conducts transactions.

As part of its partnership with the local communities with whom it does business, Asian Agri has provided close to 29,000 smallholder families who farm its lands on Sumatra with a wide range of social and economic benefits. Of the company’s 160,000 hectares of total land area, some 60,000 are developed in cooperation with smallholding families who participate in its Plasma/KKPA programs. Mr. Tanoto remains highly engaged with the day-to-day operations of his companies and has charged each of them with maintaining a high level of transparency and responsiveness to their smallholders and to the public.

Legally harvested palm oil

Asian Agri has stepped up its focus on environmental good stewardship through increased attention to the problem of illegal palm oil entering the market. Through stringent attention to documenting that the produce it acquires is completely legal, the company hopes to build increased sustainability into the supply chain. Asian Agri also advocates for the closure of illegal palm oil plantations and for added efforts to protect forest land in the regions where it operates.

Illegal palm oil production and sales in Indonesia have created an economic system that will not be easy to eradicate. Several non-governmental organizations have expressed concern about the fact that some illegal palm oil continues to seep into the products of a number of high-profile manufacturers. Yet Asian Agri and several of its fellow palm oil producers plan to dedicate continued efforts to prevent deforestation, illicit land use, and environmental degradation.