In our continuing series on Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs and the GSEP, we’re taking a look this week at SDG 15: Life on Land – Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.
How we protect Life on Land in our plantation areas
Tropical rainforests support the greatest diversity of living organisms on Earth. Although they cover less than two percent of Earth’s surface, rainforests house an estimated 50 percent of all life on the planet’s land. As a major agribusiness operating in tropical areas, we take our role as a responsible steward of the surrounding environment and the biodiversity there seriously.
In earlier blogs, I have mentioned that we are committed to protecting and conserving High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests and High Conservation Value (HCV) areas. This is part of our response to tackling climate change. It also serves the goal of protecting Life on Land in our concession areas.
Through our HCV assessment, we have identified the rare and endangered species within our concessions and the surrounding landscape. Their habitats are classified as HCV areas to be conserved.
Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus), a threatened species found in our concessions.
We operate a Zero Tolerance Policy towards the injuring, possessing and killing of rare and endangered wildlife within our plantations. We run education programmes for employees, local communities and other relevant stakeholders on the importance of protecting rare and endangered species.
Support for orangutan conservation is a particular focus area for GAR
In November 2011, our subsidiary PT SMART Tbk, entered into a two-year partnership programme with Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) to support the protection of orangutans in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Founded by Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas in 1986, OFI is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the welfare of wild orangutans and their rainforest habitat.
Under this partnership programme, as of 2017, SMART has supported the release of 100 wild-born ex-captive orangutans into their natural habitat.
In 2018, SMART extended the partnership with OFI by three years. And we aim to release another 60 orangutans in total by 2018.
Two orangutans Tyson and Eka were released in December 2015, witnessed by representatives from OFI and GAR/SMART.
The partnership also includes:
- an orangutan conservation campaign and education programmes aimed at raising awareness of orangutan conservation among students and local communities in Central Kalimantan; and
- an orangutan enrichment programme and facility enhancements at OFI’s Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine facility in Central Kalimantan.
We will continue to train our employees in orangutan conservation with support from OFI. To date, over 1,000 of our employees have been trained under this partnership. In addition, we have designated 1,400 hectares of HCV forest in Sungai Rungau, Central Kalimantan as an orangutan sanctuary.
Aside from conserving and managing forests sustainably and doing our part to halt biodiversity loss, we also carry out R&D through the SMART Research Institute on how to reduce soil degradation. More about that in our next blog.