Indonesian Business Council for Sustainable Development president Shinta Kamdani, third from left, and SDGs National Secretariat team leader Amalia Widyasanti, third from right, talk to APRIL Group managers on SBA Award night. (Photo courtesy of APRIL Group)

No More Business as Usual, APRIL Group Doubles Down on UN SDGs

BY :JAYANTY NADA SHOFA

MARCH 30, 2020

Jakarta. The private sector plays an essential role in achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Indonesia, according to Triana Krisandini, APRIL Group's sustainability assistant director.

Her comment comes after increasing calls for the private sector to transform operations and put in place long-term sustainability targets to help achieve the SDGs.

At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, several prominent speakers highlighted the need for corporations to move away from "business as usual" practices and adopt enhanced sustainability commitments.

The need for private sector involvement is especially critical in terms of funding.

Private capital is needed to tighten the annual funding gap of $2.5 trillion out of the required $3.3-$4.5 trillion to achieve the 17 Goals in developing countries, according to the UNDP 2018 report.

APRIL Group is a leading fiber, pulp and paper manufacturer, with extensive operations in Sumatra, and has already prioritized seven of the goals, following the completion of an in-depth analysis of its social and economic contribution.

The company is now actively taking steps to incorporate sustainability initiatives across its operations further.

"We believe the private sector needs to embrace the SDG agenda and recognize it as a driver of business strategies, innovation and investment decisions," Triana told Jakarta Globe in an online interview.

"But we understand that we can't do this alone. Through our involvement with bodies like the Indonesian Global Compact Network and the Indonesian Business Council for Sustainable Development, we seek to highlight best practices and to explore opportunities for public-private sector collaboration to help achieve the SDGs and 2030 development agenda," she said.

In consultation with the UNDP and PwC, APRIL Group's analysis identified three environment-related core goals that are directly linked to their business operations. These core goals are responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), climate change (SDG 13) and life on land (SDG 15), which have been integrated into its day-to-day operations.

"We are now working with our partners to measure the baseline impact of our operations on the specific SDG targets within the priority goals," she said.

For instance, Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER), the company's ecosystem restoration program, contributes to SDGs 13 and 15.

In a total of 150,000 hectares, the forest is home to 57 globally threatened species and acts as a large-scale reservoir for carbon. APRIL is also 83 percent toward achieving its 1-for-1 commitment, which is a core element of its sustainability transparency. It aims to conserve or restore one hectare of forest for every hectare of plantation.

APRIL Group also encourages awareness of sustainable land management practices among local communities in Riau.

For example, the company's Fire Free Village Program (FFVP) is a fire prevention initiative run in partnership with local communities, NGOs, district, provincial and national government to address the underlying causes of fires through education and increased awareness of the impacts of unmanaged burning and smoke haze.

Closely aligned with SDG 13, the FFVP covers an area of more than 750,000 hectares and has been scaled up, through partnerships with other organizations, in the form of the Fire Free Alliance.

"The FFVP focuses on understanding the root causes of burning, shifting the approach from blaming communities to working with them to find solutions. We have reduced burnt areas by 90 percent since 2014, in line with our continuing commitment to the SDGs," Triana said.

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