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.
Desa Makmur Peduli Api (DMPA)
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.
APP launched Desa Makmur Peduli Api (DMPA) program, based on the integrated forestry and farming system concept, in 2015 as a means to tackle the issue of forest and land fires. The program aims to lessen the pressure on forest land by providing alternative livelihoods for the communities living in and around forest areas. The program takes a participatory approach, encourages ownership of the community as well as improves the capacity of the village-owned institution to ensure the sustainability of the program.
We aim to have 500 villages join the DMPA program by the year 2020. By the end of 2020, the program has reached 386 villages with potential beneficiaries of more than 31,000 households. With the pandemic proving to be an obstacle in approaching and coordinating with new village candidates, the focus in 2020 has been strengthening the program in many of the villages that have been part of the program, particularly those that have a higher risk of land and forest fire.
Despite the pandemic, a significant number of program participants manage to maintain their business and income, such as honey cultivation, herbal drinks, fruits and vegetables, and so on. To further support the program participants during the pandemic, the program provided routine webinars in collaboration with partners, where participants learned to use the digital marketplace to widen their access to market, as well as to develop and innovate their products. Focus has also been put on the development of eco-tourism villages that support both economic development and conservation. Activities were particularly focused on capacity building and training, with many of the villages already receiving support from the local government and local stakeholders.
APP is committed to continuing our support for the local communities. Moving forward, we are focusing on opening more access to the market for the DMPA products, and diversifying the micro, small and medium businesses under the DMPA program.
Community Business Model Development in Partnership with ICRAF-CIFOR-YKAN
APP engages three organisations, World Agroforestry (ICRAF), Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN , the main partner of The Nature Conservancy Indonesia) to develop a guideline to develop a business model for the community. This project originates from the desire to replicate the Desa Makmur Peduli Api (DMPA) programme in other villages outside APP’s suppliers’ concession areas to support the government in local economic development while at the same time ensuring environmental protection. In developing the guidelines, each organisation uses their own approach to community empowerment.
CIFOR conducted their assessment in two villages in Riau, while ICRAF in two villages in South Sumatra and YKAN in two villages in West Kalimantan. In 2020, the CIFOR and ICRAF completed the business model development, as well as the monitoring and evaluation and the guideline on how to develop the business model itself.
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.
We also have collaboration with Doktor Sjahrir Foundation (DSF) to educate the communities, especially housewives, on economic empowerment. Nowadays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, women have bigger roles than before by helping with the family welfare, supporting the family income. Our collaboration with DSF includes activities as follow:
- In collaboration with DSF and Vinto Craft, APP invites women in and around its concessions to improve their lives by offering alternative livelihoods through the Kalimantan Rattan Project. The project is part of the Desa Makmur Peduli Api (DMPA) program that focuses on empowering women, through training in rattan weaving skills. Due to the pandemic, the training was conducted virtually. Vinto Craft provides training on product finishing techniques and product marketing to complement the previous weaving skills training. This program has been running since 2019 in two villages, Mengkiang Village and Miau Baru Village in Kalimantan. Until now, there have been 600 crafts from these two villages .
- Since 2020, APP and YDS conduct e-commerce workshop which teaches participants basic knowledge of online marketplace, and provides them with basic techniques such as photography and copywriting which will help them to boost the sales of their products. In 2021, the workshop invites resource person/trainers from women entrepreneur community, which provide education on product innovation and developing business model.
Our other major CSR programs is on providing access to clean water and proper sanitation, which promotes community health and environment. In several locations, this project also include community-based waste management program, where not only the villages now have proper waste disposal and management system, but also recycling facilities to help address waste issue.
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 Regional Social Working Group (SWGR) in Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra.
By the end of 2020, 55% of land disputes were resolved, reflecting steady growth in conflict resolution. Around 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.
In line with this commitment, we continue to resolve land conflicts to the best of our abilities while gaining insight and knowledge from every new interaction. Below are summaries of our mediation processes and the lessons learned from each of them :
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.