On 7 December 2017, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food held its third annual SMART SEED (Social and Environmental Excellence Development) themed “Ensuring Traceability and Responsible Employment in Palm Oil Industry”, in Pullman Jakarta. Aimed at raising GAR suppliers’ understanding of key issues impacting the industry, this edition was focused on the importance of traceability to plantation as well as strengthening labour rights. The event was attended by approximately 200 participants comprising GAR suppliers, buyers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government representatives and multilateral organisations .
Gianto Widjaja, Director, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food, opened the event, “We need to keep improving, looking for the best strategy to achieve our sustainability commitments. This event is not only about starting a discussion, but also provides an opportunity for various parties to collaborate, share success stories regarding the implementation of sustainable palm oil principles on the ground, and work together to find solutions to problems facing the sector. This way, both consumers and policymakers can put their trust in our commitment to sustainable palm oil.”
The first half of the day focused on traceability with speakers from GAR, IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative, SNV, Neste and one of our suppliers, PT Agricinal. Questions included:
“How do I begin implementing traceability and what are the necessary steps I need to take after this event?” – Kristiani Debora Tampubolon, PT Bangkit Giat Usaha Mandiri
“What should palm oil mill companies do when they learn that there are fresh fruit brunches in their supply chain sourced from protected forest?” – Rusman Sudaya, Provident Agro Group
In response, Agus Purnomo, Managing Director of Sustainability and Strategic Stakeholder Engagement, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food shared, “GAR sees sustainability as a journey where we continue to make improvement efforts. If there is an issue with GAR’s supply chain, in cases of violation for example, we’ll contact the supplier, inquire about the system they implement and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Discussions are encouraged to strengthen the capacity of our suppliers, and taking corrective actions along with the deadlines set for their implementation. We’re committed to assisting suppliers through training support, field trips, discussions, and events like SMART SEED.”
The second part of the day shifted the attention to responsible labour practices, with speakers from Indonesia’s Ministry of Labour and Transmigration, Labour Union (KSPSI), International Labour Organisation, Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (GAPKI) and Cargill. With this issue under scrutiny at the moment, Head of Sub Directorate for the Ministry of Labour and Transmigration, Ibu Sumondang’s key message was for businesses to be aware of the changing landscape of employment practices and ensure compliance with existing law. “We need to improve our employment agreement, so that labour rights can be ensured and satisfied. Indonesia has ratified the conventions 138 and 182 with regard to the issue of child labour, and I urge all businesses to register their workers with the social security programme.”
Reuben Blackie, Programme Officer, IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative, shared his appreciation of being able to connect with the many different stakeholders of the industry’s supply chain at this single event, “SMART SEED has provided practical and useful steps toward building the palm oil sector both in GAR’s own supply chain and the entire palm oil supply chain.”
SMART SEED is held annually to continuously improve the social and environmental practices of palm oil production through the active engagement of suppliers. For GAR, collaboration with suppliers and multiple stakeholders is the best way to facilitate sustainable transformation in the palm oil industry.
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Audy J. Kalangi is a supply chain development specialist working at GAR. He develops programmes and tools for GAR supplier transformations. He has previously worked as an education specialist for World Education and graduated from the Gadjah Mada University with a degree in food technology and processing.