Ways Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) Sinar Mas is Driving Stronger Sustainability Goals in the Pulp & Paper Industry
Robust sustainability goals are imperative to creating a brighter, more resilient, and more responsible organisation. Some business leaders consider such targets an impediment to their financial objectives. Yet designing and implementing an effective organisation-wide sustainable development plan can drive growth, reduce risk and enhance capital while protecting the earth.
Research has even found that businesses actively addressing their environmental impact benefit from an 18% greater return on investment; and these financial gains aren’t just coming from eco-conscious consumers, but investors and stakeholders who recognise the value of sustainable development in a dynamic and changing world.
Many organisations often look to the United Nations and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) when producing their sustainability plan. Launched in 2015, these objectives help address numerous global environmental, social and economic issues. While implementing sustainable business practices is undoubtedly complex, the SDGs provide a practical framework that helps organisations plan and deliver meaningful changes that align with larger and shared sustainability targets.
For corporations and organisations based in Hong Kong and beyond, considering and shaping your business practices in line with the 17 SDGs could help you address crucial organisational issues that affect success. Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) Sinar Mas is one such company that has used these SDGs to develop its Sustainability Roadmap Vision 2030 – a comprehensive long-term company-wide sustainable development framework that sets ambitious targets for 10 key impact areas throughout its supply chain.
This integration of the SDGs provides the business and its stakeholders with a benchmark to measure and assess Asia Pulp & Paper’s sustainability performance over time. For organisations working in the pulp and paper industry, displaying a sincere commitment to sustainable forest management practices, community engagement and energy-efficient production methods ensure you work towards a better society that satisfies the demands of all stakeholders – including your own business goals.
Here, we explore some steps businesses must take to meet their sustainability targets now and in the future.
Create a positive work environment
Simply setting robust sustainability targets isn’t enough to secure employee buy-in. Achieving transformative organisation-wide cultural change requires leadership to actively engage employees and show how their individual efforts make a cumulative difference. Many organisations inadvertently discover success by making sustainability the job of everyone in the business hierarchy, with a collaborative and unified mindset helping to produce incredible results.
It’s important to keep in mind that this process doesn’t happen overnight, regardless of the size, scale, or resource availability of your organisation. Instead, management must inspire employees to take part in this journey by defining their long-term goals and highlighting how positive changes can deliver a powerful impact. In many cases, employees often understand the need for a more sustainable approach through an economic lens. Convincing workers to engage becomes natural if you can show how delivering on SDGs improves the company’s bottom line.
Moreover, creating lasting sustainable change within a business is impossible without a happy workforce. Ekamas Fortuna, a business unit of Asia Pulp & Paper, recently received the Gold Awards: Zero Conflict 2022, an accolade that recognises the organisation’s employee satisfaction through workplace agreements and practices that enhance welfare and comfort. While setting impressive sustainability targets is key to creating a better world, persuading your workforce to participate is just as important – and in fact, forms a key part of a sustainable outlook for your business as a whole.
Develop a safe workplace
If businesses are serious about their sustainability targets, employee safety must remain a primary concern.
Every business in the pulp and paper industry, no matter how big or small, must contend with dangerous hazards throughout the supply chain. On the factory floor, the accumulation of combustible dust is a significant problem, as it can lead to major fires and explosions if left unaddressed. Plus, heavy machinery and chemicals can also cause injury to employees when mishandled
In fact, employee safety and welfare are addressed across several of the 17 SDGs – including 3.9, 8.8 and 16.6 – which consider issues ranging from hazardous chemical exposures to labour rights and transparent institutions. Asia Pulp and Paper has taken significant strides in these areas, with 28 of its business units and supply partners recognised by Indonesia’s Minister of Manpower at the recent OHS Management Awards.
These awards are given to organisations that successfully implemented the Occupational Health Safety Management System (SMK3) – a certification designed to control workplace risks and deliver a safe, efficient and productive environment. The Asia Pulp & Paper business unit, PT IKPP Tangerang, was especially highly regarded, receiving extra recognition for its effective COVID-19 policies and for having zero work accidents during the assessed period.
Master social responsibility
Delivering stronger sustainability targets isn’t just about what you can do internally. Organisations with the power to influence communities near and far should also plan and execute targets through the corporate social responsibility (CSR) model. This self-regulatory approach is ideal for proving your sustainable development credentials with the public, business stakeholders and yourself.
So, how do you align a CSR strategy with your business goals?
First, your corporate hierarchy must define what corporate social responsibility means to the organisation. Then it can identify strategies that realise this definition by partnering with like-minded charities, social enterprises and other philanthropic endeavours. Alongside tangible goals that detail the meaning of success, a well-defined CSR strategy can offer numerous business advantages.
For example, businesses with an effective CSR plan often experience increased customer loyalty, enhanced revenue and employee commitment. As more consumers in Hong Kong and around the globe want to support businesses that aren’t solely driven by profit, creating and delivering a meaningful CSR strategy can help your organisation stand out from its competition in the pulp and paper industry.
Awards, certifications, and other third-party assessments are easy ways for companies to ensure that their sustainability goals are feasible, traceable, and transparent.
At the Top CSR Awards 2022, three Asia Pulp and Paper business units received awards for their commitment to corporate social responsibility. Based on implementing ISO 2600 – an international standard for social responsibility – PT OKI Pulp & Paper Mills and PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper received the “Excellent” four-star award. Meanwhile, PT Paper Factory Tjiwi Kimia received the “Very Excellent” five-star designation.
Achieving such accomplishments not only enables you to assess your own progress via impartial third-party criteria, but holds you accountable to a wider group of stakeholders as well.
Deliver sustainability targets
Adopting sustainability targets is only the beginning when building a better and more responsible business. You also have to show stakeholders how your efforts have delivered tangible change. With a transparent and mindful approach, you can set measurable targets that give internal and external stakeholders a way to assess your performance.
Four of Asia Pulp and Paper’s business units were recognised at the recent 2022 Indonesia Asia Green Awards for their dedication to sustainability. In the Water Resources Savings category, PT OKI Pulp & Paper Mills received an award for its work in South Sumatra. Here, the company used reverse osmosis to process peat water into ready-to-drink water for 21 remote villages, reducing local spending on drinking water by up to 50%.
In the Pollution Prevention Pioneering category, PT Kertas Tjiwi Kimia Tbk transformed coal waste into paving blocks for local infrastructure, including roads, mosques and school facilities. Elsewhere, PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper repurposed waste from paper rope machines to provide the women of Tegal Maja village with extra materials to increase their craft-making income.
These initiatives reflect that business growth, sustainability, and community development can be interconnected, rather than disparate and disconnected. In fact, it’s when organisations are able to address all three considerations simultaneously that they are able to see the biggest payoffs in terms of long-term sustainable change.
With a dedicated approach to sustainable development, empowering local communities while increasing business outcomes is more than possible. Asia Pulp & Paper is just one such organisation in the pulp and paper industry taking a forward-thinking approach to its sustainability targets, making them a possible blueprint for other companies in Hong Kong and beyond looking to strengthen their sustainability goals.