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Learning to manage high conservation value areas through SMARTSPOT East Kutai


The East Kutai Regency in East Kalimantan is home to Kutai National Park, a natural orangutan habitat with a well maintained population of this endangered species. The Regency is also the location for a number of Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food suppliers, so it made the perfect venue for a SMART Sustainable Palm Oil Training (SMARTSPOT) focused on High Conservation Value (HCV) areas, traceability and labour.

SMART SPOT speakers and participants. A total of 19 participants from six supplier companies attended the training.

Nur Patria, Head of Kutai National Park, and Edy Sudiono, Partnership Manager of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), were guest speakers on the topics of HCV management and orangutan conservation – important aspects of environmental protection in the palm oil supply chain, sharing their expertise and answering questions the suppliers had about managing orangutans found in HCV areas.

Up close with orangutan habitats at the Kutai National Park

Participants were invited to see first-hand how orangutans and their habitat in the Kutai National Park were managed. This activity was extremely well-received by the participants, as they got to see the orangutans up close, and receive detailed information on how to manage the creatures should employees come across them in their operations. At the National Park, the orangutan habitat is left in its natural state while keeping their food sources safe (which are the fruits of forest plants). The location is often used as a place for research studies related to orangutan habitats and their populations by local and international independent researchers. Orangutan habitats and populations are under threat. As responsible palm oil producers, we want our suppliers to also understand why and how endangered animals like orangutans should be protected, and make an effort to implement such measures.

“My hope in the long term, is for oil palm industry players in East Kutai to be able to add value to such conservation areas, and learn to coexist with these protected animals,” said Nur Patria.

Learning about Traceability to Plantation (TTP)

In addition, we organised a practical session regarding one of the stages in the TTP process – data collection – for participants to get hands-on experience. We visited a few farmers who supply our palm oil mill. Here, participants were taught how to fill out a tally sheet which we use as basic traceability data. These tally sheets are collected and included in the overall Traceability Declaration Document for the mill.

Participants in the Kutai National Park.

Participants interviewed the farmers to build up each of their profiles, and also marked out the estate coordinates to complete the tally sheets. The practice and experience helps suppliers to improve communication with their dealers, agents and farmers, and implement such traceability within their own operations.

Participants draw up a joint action plan.

Preparing a joint action plan

SMART SPOT’s series of activities concluded with participants developing an action plan using the Progress Assistant Tool (PAT). This is a tool used to identify our supplier’s next steps and priority needs, such as putting together traceability systems and writing TTP procedures, drafting or reviewing HCV management procedures, and improving labour aspects. At the end of the session, participants also took some time to share their company’s successes and learnings so far in the transformation journey. Our next steps are to use the PAT to conduct more in-depth coaching and site visits with selected suppliers, to help them achieve their action plans.

Interested to learn what programmes we offer our suppliers? Click here

Fauzan Kurniawan is part of the Supply Chain Sustainability team at Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food. He is responsible for developing support programs for suppliers and implementing a supplier performance appraisal system based on GAR’s Social and Environmental Policy (GSEP). Previously he worked in a forestry company with Sustainable Forest Management, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification, Chain of Custody, and had experience as a forestry certification consultant. He earned a Masters in Science from the Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB) in the field of Natural Resource and Environmental Management.

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