Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) participated in the 9th MBA CSR Conference on 28th May 2015, held by the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). The conference this year focused on how corporate social responsibility (CSR) should be used strategically to enable achievement of business objectives as business seeks to create value for communities.
APP’s Environmental and Social Footprint Manager, Librian Angraeni (Inggi), joined the panel discussion on “Social investment – what it is, why it matters and what we should do about it”. Along with three other speakers representing small business and investors, the panel discussed the different ways by which businesses invest in local communities. Inggi brought in a corporate perspective, explaining the strategy and governance of APP’s social investments in Indonesia.
APP’s social investments are embedded in the company’s sustainability programme. Investments are made in two streams: (1) in the forestry business where the majority of our wood fibre is sourced, and (2) in mills where pulp and paper are produced.
In forestry, APP implements the Forest Conservation Policy, which not only requires Zero Deforestation across our global supply chain, but also sets in place Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) procedures for new plantation development or areas where significant change in activities will occur.
We need to invest in forest restoration – to resurrect forests that had been damaged. To this end, APP is also investing in a project that restores 1 million hectares of forests across Indonesia.
In the eight major mills that spread across two big islands, Sumatra and Java Island, we have developed long-term livelihood programmes that aim to empower local communities in raising their standard of living. An education aspect is incorporated in every programme. If a community needs access to clean water, APP not only provides water purification devices, but also helps train a community group to manage the devices.
None of these programmes can be effective without good governance. Transparency is crucial to enabling good governance and at APP, sustainability reporting is one of the key ways by which we maintain transparency. We provide stakeholders with regular updates on the implementation of our sustainability commitments.
APP has also voluntarily adopted GRI reporting standards for our Sustainability Reports. GRI standards help us – an Asia-based manufacturer – explain our sustainability strategy and programmes in a language that can be understood by the global audience. Importantly, it allows us to set benchmarks and really examine where our blind spots are. From there, we identify solutions and work towards lowering our carbon and water footprint.
APP sees great value in social investment and sustainability reporting. We are currently exploring ways to better align our social investments with the social needs of communities in which our business operates. We also look to invest in improving the livelihood of people working for contractors within our supply chain in the coming years.