Thursday, September 28, 2023

Private Sector Involvement, a Key Driving Force for SDGs

Jayanty Nada Shofa
January 20, 2020 | 3:56 pm
An ecosystem restoration program initiated by pulp and paper producer APRIL Group in Riau. (Photo courtesy APRIL Group)
An ecosystem restoration program initiated by pulp and paper producer APRIL Group in Riau. (Photo courtesy APRIL Group)

Jakarta. For the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, to come to fruition, a collaborative effort involving the private and public sectors is necessary, according to the National Development Planning Board, or Bappenas.

Signed by 193 UN member states in 2015, the SDGs have acted as a blueprint for countries to address major global socio-economic and environmental issues.

Although progress has been made in several areas, such as poverty and energy efficiency in the electricity sector, there are still monumental challenges to be faced. This includes environmental issues, which can be worsened by over-extraction of resources.

The challenges need to be addressed by a range of parties involved, including governments, private sector companies and communities, the 2019 UN SDG report said.

Bappenas has integrated 169 SDG targets into its 2020-2024 plan (RPJMN), including peatland restoration.

Businesses such as pulp and paper manufacturer APRIL Group have also geared up to further support the government's efforts in Indonesia.

To kickstart this process, the company's joint research with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has identified goals that are most relevant to their business.

These identified goals are then classified into two distinctive categories – three core goals and four catalytic goals. While the former is central to the nature of the group's business and operations, the latter encompasses exponential impacts on surrounding communities, the PwC report said.

The core goals – such as Responsible Production and Consumption (SDG 12), Climate Action (SDG 13) and Life on Land (SDG 15) – have always been carried out at full throttle in APRIL Group's agenda.

For instance, the Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (Riau Ecosystem Restoration or RER) program – that encompasses SDGs 13 and 15 – has targeted peatland and biodiversity restoration.

Following COP21 in Paris in 2015, the program was expanded to an area of more than 150,000 hectares across Sumatra's eastern coastline.

With an allocated fund of $100 million, RER is one of the largest peatland restoration programs funded by the private sector in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, the fulfillment of SDG 12 is reflected in APRIL Group's Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP) 2.0 on traceable production. With a certified and robust chain of custody tracking system, wood supplies can be traced back to their source.

Through community development programs conducted by APRIL’s operating arm Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP), the Riau-based company has also tackled the remaining catalytic goals, namely Good Health and Wellbeing (SDG 3), Quality Education (SDG 4), Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6) and Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17).

"We are committed to integrating these SDGs into our business. It is interesting that this blueprint perfectly matches our long-running mission to cater to what we call the 5Cs – the community, country, climate, customer and company – in our operations," RAPP President Director Sihol Aritonang said.

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