By empowering local communities through a range of programs, we provide the mechanism to decouple economic growth from deforestation. And ensuring every employee, contractor and visitor to our sites returns home safe is our number one priority.
Integrated Forestry & Farming System (IFFS)
Communities play an important role in forest conservation. In many places around the world, people are living not only nearby but also inside forests. It is therefore important to engage with them to work together to protect the environment.
Consequently, we created our flagship community-forestry program to work towards that goal. Our Integrated Forestry and Farming System (IFFS) seeks prosperity for communities while working to reduce illegal logging, forest fires, and conflicts. The participatory community engagement program aims to improve livelihoods, transfer knowledge, improve collaboration, and create a virtuous circle of forest management.
We aim to have 500 villages to join IFFS by the year 2020. Until the end of 2018, we oversaw 284 villages joining this program, consisting of 16,807 households, 77 village-owned enterprises, eight village cooperatives, 199 farmer associations, and 64 women’s groups.
Despite the challenges that we have faced, positive outcomes, including the growing role of women in local communities, were witnessed. In 2018, interim observations also indicated better incomes for families in two-thirds of IFFS villages, with greater diversification of livelihoods, fewer forest fires, and better relations with industry.
As evident through this program, we are committed to empowering and involving communities in our sustainable operations, to achieve landscape-scale sustainable forest management, as well as improved protection and restoration outcomes across APP and supplier operations.
Empowering Community, Empowering Women
In our effort to improve lives, we have focused on community empowerment programs that deliver long-term and sustainable livelihood improvements. Our responses to on-ground needs are guided by a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) for each case, and if relevant and feasible, the creation of a targeted five-year CSR plan.
The CSR program priorities are divided into four pillars: Charity, Infrastructure, Capacity Building, and Community Empowerment. These are in line with the Government of Indonesia's development priorities, such as social forestry, where the Government allocates forest areas for management by community groups in an attempt to remove pressure on natural forests.
At the mill level, we review each proposal put forward by the community before funding it. At the same time, each mill has an annual working plan program adjusted to their respective needs, developed in consultation with local communities and other beneficiaries.
Our community investment programs are key to our commitment to addressing the United Nations’ SDGs, especially goal number 1 (no poverty), number 2 (zero-hunger), and number 3 (good health and well being). One such program focusing on women empowerment, in collaboration with Martha Tilaar Group and supported by Indonesia Global Compact Network, aims to train 1,000 women from communities in and around our concessions and mill operations. Meanwhile, another program seeks to provide the communities with access to clean water and hygiene facilities.
Free, Prior and Informed Consent
Our Forest Conservation Policy commits to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of indigenous and local communities on any proposed development or forest management activities in existing plantation areas. It also commits us to resolve conflict effectively and handle complaints responsibly.
Forests are at risk of clearance when ownership or tenure is contested. With economic pressures, the need to alleviate poverty often becomes the root cause of environmentally unsustainable practices. Complex historical and customary rights could also be a factor in these practices.Over recent years we have employed an array of measures to drive the resolution of land disputes. These include:
- Mapping the land dispute.
- Creating and implementing working plans to address each land dispute.
- Accelerating land dispute resolution as part of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
- Establishing a Social and Security Division to handle land dispute resolution.
- Developing standard operating procedures (SOP) for land dispute resolution.
- Establishing a Regional Social Working Group (SWGR).
By the end of 2018, 49% of land disputes were resolved, reflecting steady growth in conflict resolution. Some 25% of these conflicts were related to villages inside concession areas.
We have come to realize that trust takes time to build but can be lost in a moment, and that village politics can be complex, with involvement from external parties often bringing new, potentially conflicting, interests. This can also be exacerbated by the fact that staff at the district level may struggle to manage conflict resolution. Nevertheless, we strive to do our best in managing all disputes and conflicts as part of our commitment to sustainable and responsible operations.
Meeting our employees’ needs and attracting new talents are vital for the long term sustainability of our business. We provide attractive benefits and working conditions with long-term career prospects. Some of the benefits that we provide include paid annual leave, both maternal and paternal parental leave, sabbatical leave, health insurance, and a company pension plan. On top of that, additional benefits are also provided for permanent employees, but these vary according to local regulations under which each mill operates.
Our Employee Welfare Policy drives our action, detailing our commitment to meet the requirement of ILO Standards on employee safety, well-being, human rights, labor rights, skills, and data protection.
We strive to position APP as a dynamic company with strong employment benefits that extend beyond salary, health insurance, pension, the ability to earn an additional bonus through various recognition schemes we have in place, and annual career development reviews that our permanent employees receive.
These policies have had a positive effect.
With a loyal and long-serving workforce, the turnover within management staff is low in some areas of our organization. We have also stepped up our work to ensure that young talent is recognized and that these employees can envision a prosperous future at APP.