Indonesia is one of the most biologically diverse nations on Earth. Along with the pride that such high biodiversity values impart on the nation comes a huge responsibility to protect this natural capital by avoiding and minimizing the impacts of our activities on biodiversity. Our company is committed to prioritizing the protection of the beautiful, yet fragile, ecosystems throughout the Indonesian archipelago. This is achieved not only through our direct action as a company but also through our community programs which socialize the importance of protecting the environment and nurturing a sense of ownership of biodiversity and environmental issues.
Our Sustainability Policy commits to the total protection and conservation of independently identified HCV-HCS areas following RSPO protocols, including a commitment to not operate in areas with the highest biodiversity values such as primary forests and conservation areas. Additionally, we are also committed to zero conversion of all natural ecosystems, which, in the case of our operations, consist of peat ecosystems, riparian zones and hilly areas with a slope grade higher than 40%, as well as nationally and internationally designated protected areas. To meet our conservation commitments, we have developed a Conservation Policy and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on the management of HCV-HCS area that provide further guidance for protecting and conserving the environment. This includes the determination of HCV areas and other areas of conservation importance, as well as formulating the management and monitoring plan for these areas to achieve our target of at least maintaining the biodiversity (no net loss) or, when possible, having a net positive impact on biodiversity. In our area in Kalimantan, we have increased the population of orangutans from 150 to 200 based on the latest scientific research by an external party.
In every area where we start to operate, we have targets to stop illegal logging, stop poaching, and implement patrolling as well as environmental awareness program within three years of operation, a deadline that is not easy to achieve. To date, we have achieved these targets in all our operation areas. However, as new development and opportunities come up, we will implement our system to manage the potential issues and opportunities. We are also exploring the potential of carbon sequestration certification within our conservation area, which are voluntarily conserved. A target will be determined as soon as we complete our study.
To ensure no deforestation in our area (especially in our conservation area) as well as in our suppliers’ area, we implement the following monitoring system:
We recorded no illegal or non-compliant deforestation in our own area and our suppliers’ area of operation in 2021. Our GIS, Security, and Conservation Departments are obligated to report and document any evidence of deforestation (such as logs in illegal logging, fire happening in our supplier plantation, etc.).
ANJ performs routine socialization and training sessions targeting all employees, suppliers, contractors, and surrounding communities, to build understanding about the potential dangers of forest fire. These sessions were organized and held by our own staff, working together with the related stakeholders or community leaders.
Many of our plantations and estates are close to or adjacent to nature conservation areas designated within the Protected Area System of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF). Some of these areas are also categorized under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) protected area management categories (World Database on Protected Areas/WDPA) website. For this reason, the management of biodiversity risks and conservation of biodiversity has been a long-standing commitment of ANJ.
To conserve protected flora and fauna, our conservation procedures require that all staff, employees, suppliers and other third parties working or visiting ANJ’s operation area to take responsibility for our impacts by not keeping, trapping, harming, hurting, hunting or killing flora and fauna because of our operations. Breaching this procedure will be subject to strict repercussions ranging from warning letters (which will affect their annual performance bonus) to employment contract termination, and will be reported to law enforcement authorities for violating conservation laws and regulations.
As per our Sustainability Policy Implementation Guidance, we strictly prohibit harvesting, poaching, and hunting of protected flora and fauna and all rare, threatened, and endangered species. Only sustainable hunting of unprotected and unthreatened species are allowed. This is further clarified in our company procedure on the protection of flora and fauna that was updated in 2022. This updated procedure prohibits the harvesting or the hunting of unprotected flora and fauna species in our concessions and in our suppliers’ concession except when sustainable use or sustainable hunting principles are applied. Our suppliers must strictly adhere to this procedure.
As a company that relies heavily on natural resources, it is paramount that our employees and communities engage with the environment in a sustainable way. By encouraging the protection of all flora and fauna, we are promoting the conservation of some of the world's richest and more diverse ecosystems. In adapting to local cultures and environments, as well as the constantly evolving climate situation, we strive to make a difference whose legacy will be seen for generations to come.
Proximity of Operational Sites to Protected Areas
We recognize that our operations could, either directly or indirectly, have an adverse impact on the flora and fauna in our development areas as well as in areas we have set aside for protection (HCV areas, buffer zones, river systems, and any areas in the vicinity that are inhabited or traversed by wildlife). These potential impacts are identified, managed, and mitigated continuously. An HCV assessment and approval per the High Conservation Value Resource Network (HCVRN) is a mandatory prerequisite before clearing land and planting. If an area does not have a satisfactory assessment we will not develop that area. A case in point, an area of our scheme smallholder plantation at PT ANJ Agri Kebun Kemitraan Binanga, North Sumatra, has obtained an unsatisfactory assessment and, consequently, we commit to not develop that area.
To ensure that HCV areas are assessed in an objective and professional manner using a uniform standard, we only use independent HCV assessors accredited by the Assessor Licensed Scheme (ALS) of the HCVRN as stated in our SOP on the Management of HCV-HCS areas. This SOP also state that we should never clear any land or plant oil palm before we complete an HCV assessment and obtain approval with satisfactory results in accordance with HCVRN requirements. This commitment is in accordance with RSPO requirements. Considering that we plan to have 100% RSPO certified FFB source, this requirement to only use independent assessor accredit by the ALS HCVRN also applies to all our suppliers.
The total area of HCV forest which we have set aside for the protection of flora, fauna and their habitats is 60,985.27 ha. We manage the HCV areas in a collaborative way with external stakeholders such as local communities, government, conservation experts, and NGOs, such as Conservation International (CI) and Tropenbos Indonesia.
We actively engage in a landscape/jurisdictional approach called Essential Ecosystem Area (Kawasan Ekosistem Esensial/KEE) in Ketapang Regency, where PT Kayung Agro Lestari (KAL), ANJ's subsidiary in West Kalimantan, partners with the Government, NGO’s, and other private sector companies to protect the habitat of orangutans. In 2021, we have started to implement initial activities at the KEE with our private sector partners while awaiting the finalization of the action plan with the local government.
As a part of our effort to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions, we carry out reforestation initiatives to recover forests and ecosystems and increase biodiversity values in both HCV areas and degraded areas. In 2021, these efforts included reforestation in river buffer zones related to replanting activities in ANJA (estimated at 16.73-ha area) and SMM (estimated at 17.96-ha area). We have also reforested degraded areas and village forests with a total area of 29.61 ha around our KAL operations to enrich forests with fruit trees. At ANJAS, we reforested about 20 ha of degraded land at the Binasari village in collaboration with the local government, local communities, and Conservation International. In West Papua, we reforested a 13-ha area in the Remu Ransiki protected forest, North Sorong district. This reforestation is an obligation as part of the Borrow Use Forest Permit to compensate for the clearing of 12.6 ha of land to build access roads. Our reforestation activities were executed with the involvement of local communities, the government, and NGOs to nurture a sense of ownership of biodiversity and environmental issues.
We are committed to restore non-compliant deforestation or land use conversions occurring after 31 October 2019 in our area. We advocate and expect our FFB suppliers to also apply the same commitment and the same cut-off date of 31 October 2019 in their areas, especially for corporate suppliers. We receive FFB supply from third-parties to produce CPO in our mills and we do not buy any CPO from third-party mills. However, we realize that it may not be feasible for our third-party FFB smallholder suppliers to carry out restoration of non-compliant deforestation/land use conversion because of their limited capabilities in financial and other resources. We promote and expect our third-party FFB smallholder suppliers to stop any non-compliant deforestation and land use conversion. We will cease from purchasing their FFB if they fail to comply with this requirement.
We carry out reforestation by planting various native vegetation species that provide economic value to the communities in the form of non-timber forest products (Conservation Policy of ANJ 2018). Throughout 2021, we monitored the growth of vegetations in areas that previously experienced forest fires within our area, our suppliers’ area, and, to a lesser extent as we do not have control over those areas, in the surrounding areas of our plantation.
This commitment applies to all our suppliers, and we supervise of reforestation programs in our smallholder suppliers’ areas. We work with our smallholder suppliers to ensure that they understand sustainable plantation management, which includes reforestation, and are able to implement it in practice. The success of this program is evidenced by the fact that eight out of thirteen of our scheme/kemitraan smallholder cooperatives received RSPO certification.