Many of our own employees and the communities surrounding our plantations are adversely affected by the haze. This is why we are channelling resources towards the prevention, management and suppression of fires.
Zero Burning Policy
We do not tolerate the use of fire in land preparation or development. We have adopted a Zero Burning Policy in 1997 and a policy of not developing on peat since 2010. These policies also apply to all of our subsidiaries. Since November 2014, we have also voluntarily stopped all new plantings in our nucleus estates.
As part of its existing Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) for fire management, GAR has put in place a wide range of measures to prevent fires in our plantations.
More than 10,000 Emergency Response Team personnel have been trained and are stationed across all our plantations, ready to be deployed in a fire emergency.
Multi-Pronged Approach to Fire Management
Prevention and Education
We focus on prevention through education. We have consistently engaged farmers and the community in areas where we operate to advocate no-burning. This preventive approach also involves ensuring all illegal fires are reported to the authorities to enable them to take appropriate actions.
We have set up a Fire Command Post at HQ in Jakarta to coordinate fire management and suppression with the teams on the ground. The teams work together to verify information about fire incidents. This enables the management and suppression of fires to proceed swiftly.
On the ground, we have put in place numerous measures to counter burning and to put out fires including:
- Keeping the peat areas moist by re-wetting the areas with water from rivers and ponds, which were constructed for that purpose
- Utilising fire-monitoring towers
- Preparing Emergency Response Teams consisting of about 30 to 40 personnel per team to handle fire suppression
- Preparing water reservoirs around conservation areas to ensure adequate supply of water during a fire
- Stationing fire engines at the plantation
- Transferring 6-ton water container tanks to areas that are burning
- Ensuring adequate number portable pumps to be used for fire suppression
- Using high-capacity pumps to pump water from the nearest river/ stream to put out fires
- Increasing the frequency of fire patrols and involving the community in fire monitoring
- Carrying out coordinated fire suppression with local authorities. A police report is also lodged for every incident.
Working with Our Supply Chain
We engage pro-actively with suppliers in high-risk areas to help them build capacity in fire management, prevention and suppression.
Finding Long-Term Solutions
To prevent fires in the long run, GAR is stepping up efforts to encourage and help the community to stop using fire to clear land.
We plan to launch programmes that offer the community sustainable alternatives when clearing land. Such programmes will involve building up community awareness and involving the community in fire management and prevention. We also plan to align our CSR objectives to focus on poverty alleviation to help tackle the economic causes of fire.
In November 2015, we announced a Peat Ecosystem Rehabilitation Project in PT AMNL in West Kalimantan. This will focus on rehabilitating a peat conservation area of around 2,600 hectares and involving the community in joint conservation efforts. It is in line with the Indonesian Government focus on protecting and restoring peat areas.
We also launched the Desa Siaga Api pilot programme in villages in West Kalimantan and Jambi to help train and equip the local community to prevent and rapidly suppress fires as well as to advocate sustainable land-clearing methods. We are offering CSR support to villages that remain fire-free at the end of the dry season. In addition, we are helping our suppliers comply with our Zero Burning Policy.