Sustainability is the new business-as-usual, and we at APP have fully embraced this paradigm, as we strive to achieve the Triple Bottom Line -- People, Planet and Profit.
We started progressing in our efforts with the launch of our Sustainability Roadmap Vision 2020 in 2012. With our intentions to implement the best sustainability measures possible, we continued to plan and develop initiatives and soon rolled out the Forest Conservation Policy (2013) and our plans for Landscape Conservation (2014).
Forest fires are a threat that we are facing globally with up to 3.5 million square kilometers of land burning on average annually1 and this will continue to rise as a result of climate change. APP is well aware of this escalating threat and view the Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) as a means to mitigate the risk of fires through its four commitments, which include:
Thus, as an integral part of the FCP, we are implementing the Integrated Fire Management (IFM) strategy, which we ourselves have developed by applying the best practices for fire management -- Prevention, Preparation, Early Detection, Rapid Response.
APP acknowledges the vital role played by communities in fire prevention and we have begun extensive community engagement to raise awareness on fire risks as well as to strengthen ties with these communities with hopes of working closely with them as our partners on ground to monitor and prevent fires.
We are helping these communities to find alternate means of land management and development without having to resort to fire by creating livelihood alternatives such as rearing livestock, vegetable and fruit farming. These agroforestry activities began in 2015 and will eventually involve 500 villages located in and around our concessions.
We are also working closely with communities to strengthen the local firefighting councils, or Masyarakat Peduli Api (MPA) to enable them to play larger roles in fire prevention that include more frequent ground patrols. MPAs that manage to maintain zero fires in their forests will be awarded with monthly cash incentives.
We have continued our efforts in Perimeter Canal Blocking, where water levels at high-risk areas are raised to prevent fire from spreading across the wet area, and act as a water source for boat pumps or static pumps.
We are constantly working to improve every aspect of our operations, moving from previously reacting to fires to now being ready to fight fires as they happen and prevent them from spreading.
We have also engaged international fire management experts to provide training on Incident Command System (ICS), which emphasizes on the importance of coordinating ground and aerial firefighting efforts. The training includes our suppliers as we are equally committed to building their capacity in fire prevention and suppression.
APP has conducted a trial using a thermal image camera mounted in a plane. The first of its kind for fire detection and mapping in Indonesia, the data captured will be sent to APP headquarters and relayed to field staff, all within 15 minutes. Thermal imaging data is considerably more accurate as compared to satellite imagery and has an on-ground accuracy of less than 50 meters of real ground position.
Fire Patrols by our firefighting squads on ground, known as Regu Pemadam Kebakaran (RPK), have been increased and responses are guided by the Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency’s Fire Danger Rating System i.e. Low, Medium, High and Extreme. The assessed risk will determine the frequency of the patrols and equipment checks among others, thus allowing them to be able to respond quickly to incidents of fire as it occurs.
To fortify our efforts on the ground and complimenting the training provided on ICS, response to incidents of fire will be coordinated by both ground and aerial firefighting efforts a heavy helicopter carrying up to 3,500 liters of water will be used for rapid response, giving our ground forces a little extra time to arrive at a fire.
APP has and will continue to invest significantly to further develop and improve our ability and capacity to mitigate fire risks and the IFM strategy is proof of our commitment as it provides APP with the skills, knowledge and infrastructure to prevent or better manage fires that do occur. We are also fully aware that fire management is complex and requires a multi-stakeholder approach, which is why we place great emphasis on working closely with our suppliers, local communities and a variety of relevant stakeholders to ensure we have the capacity and support to implement a more efficient and holistic fire management system.