Editor's Note: This article first appeared on NUS Giving. Reprinted with permission. Ms Belinda Tanoto strongly believes in spending a lot of time with stakeholders on the ground to discover...
The haze affected many communities in Riau, including communities who within, surrounding and associated with Asian Agri’s operations.
As recently covered by Inside RGE, APRIL Group and its Indonesian subsidiary PT RAPP have galvanised efforts to provide haze relief and support to their communities. These include distribution of masks, roving medical teams and the set-up of medical posts.
Delivering support and relief to affected communities
In times of crisis, specifically this year’s haze, Asian Agri has delivered relief, aid and support to its communities.
Asian Agri’s business units have set up clinics and posts in nine villages in Pelalawan, Riau to provide free medical treatment to affected residents. It also opened up its plantation-based clinics at the height of the emergency to serve surrounding communities. These various initiatives were conducted in collaboration with the Health Department in Pelalawan.
On top of distributing masks, Asian Agri’s business units also handed out medication, mineral water and vitamin C supplements. The units have distributed these items to schools, village centres and even motorists, in addition to working with local governments in encouraging affected residents to take care of their health during the crisis.
Multi-faceted but community-focused approach to fire management
These swift responses to the haze are also complemented by ongoing community-focused fire prevention awareness campaigns that Asian Agri has been championing. Seeing communities as key parties in fire prevention and management, Asian Agri engages them through Masyarakat Peduli Asap (MPA), a programme that empowers communities in fire management.
Through the MPA programme, communities are provided with the equipment to put out fires and the information and awareness to prevent more fires. Additionally, Asian Agri’s business unit PT Inti Indosawit Subur has deployed an Emergency Response Team to patrol surrounding villages and ensure there are no new hotspots.
Communities at the heart of Asian Agri operations
Asian Agri, one of Asia’s largest palm oil producers, manages 27 oil palm plantations covering a total area of 160,000 hectares, of which 60,000 hectares are developed with smallholders under the Plasma and KKPA schemes. Fruitful collaboration with smallholders and communities lie at the heart of its operations.
As one of the pioneer corporate partners of the Plasma smallholder scheme, Asian Agri has for a large part of its history cultivated strong and long-term relationships with its smallholder communities.
The company has provided smallholders with training, skills upgrading, and leveraged research and development to produce high quality seeds. The wide variety of support and assistance have helped smallholders to embrace best management practices, receive certification, increase their yields, as well as raise and diversify their incomes. These have contributed to the overall improvement in living standards in the communities.
Asian Agri continues to advance its agenda in multi-stakeholder collaboration, teaming with government, NGOs, smallholders and the wider community, while leveraging respective strengths to achieve long-term and mutually beneficial outcomes for community, country and company – the same 3 Cs business principles advocate by founder Sukanto Tanoto.
As a private company collaborator, Asian Agri’s business urgency, industry and subject matter expertise, and keen sense of corporate social responsibility all help to accelerate the development and implementation of community-focused initiatives to create shared value.
These are the principles firmly rooted in the company’s culture, which empowers it to remain a competitive yet responsible and sustainability-conscious player in the industry. Because of these, it is also better positioned to play a part contributing to the the development and realisation of Indonesia’s sustainable development goals.