As the saying goes, “charity begins at home”; one’s first responsibility should always be those closest to them. For Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) Sinar Mas, this means the beloved tribe of workers supporting the businesses and communities tied to the forests.
With a firm belief in achieving longevity of prosperous business through sustainable workforce and resource management practices, Asia Pulp and Paper has advocated for ethical business decisions that support the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) even before joining the Indonesia Global Compact Network (IGCN) in 2012. Through dedicated practice over time, the company achieved many encouraging results in environmental conservation and increasing multi-stakeholder engagement as the company continues to grow and bolster operational resilience.
Asia Pulp and Paper’s efforts to Improve Gender Equality
Amongst the top priorities of these goals lie the Asia Pulp and Paper’s aim to create a nurturing and progressive workplace that attracts capable employees, irrespective of gender. While gender diversity has always been a prevailing challenge across the pulp and paper sector, the company dedicates effort to ensuring equal opportunities, competitive wages, and supportive working conditions for all employees.
In this spirit of betterment, the company signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) commitment to encourage women’s participation in business activities, eliminate discrimination or biases, and empower their growth. In Sustainability Roadmap Vision 2030, Asia Pulp and Paper stood by its intentions and pledged to incorporate more women to hold at least 30% of senior management positions in headquarters. Following the principles below, Asia Pulp and Paper hopes to build a healthy environment that supports every employee in reaching their full potential:
- High-level corporate leadership
- Treat all women and men fairly at work without discrimination
- Employee health, well-being, and safety
- Education and training for career advancement
- Enterprise development, supply chain, and marketing practices
- Community initiatives and advocacy
- Measurement and reporting
Desa Makmur Peduli Api (DMPA) Programme
Furthermore, Asia Pulp and Paper acknowledges its ethical duties to staff, local communities, and indigenous people living within areas of business operations. Through the DMPA Programme, the company has helped small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 386 villages build income resilience, improve local economic situations and ultimately bolster business agility. Under DMPA, Asia Pulp and Paper collaborated with locals around their concessions and mill operations to advance sustainable agriculture practices that promoted enduring benefits for individual SMEs and communities.
In partnership with Indonesia’s leading cosmetic company, Martha Tilaar Group (MTG), DMPA launched a women empowerment programme in 2018 where women were encouraged to join the workforce as trained professionals. Through this programme, local women were groomed to be entrepreneurs and taught the art of manufacturing natural herbal cosmetics, health supplements, and food preserves for sale. This intervention enabled Asia Pulp and Paper to help women contribute to the economy, boosting overall economic growth for their communities and diversifying domestic income streams for long-term business continuity.
Ethical Workforce Management Systems at Asia Pulp and Paper
Beyond closing the gender divide, Asia Pulp and Paper believes in maintaining high standards of ethical practices to sustain long-term business growth. Through the newly enhanced communication platform, the Integrated Call Centre (ICC), company employees and external stakeholders can obtain quick responses to their concerns and queries. Moving forward, this allows more transparency on the company’s methods of emergency handling and commitment to protecting employee safety, privacy, labour rights and well-being.
Aligning with Asia Pulp and Paper’s Vision 2030, HR efforts focused on recruiting across genders and extending more potent employment benefits, including recognition schemes and specific development reviews for permanent staff. Implementing Succession Planning, Competency Management, and System-based Talent Pool Management systems helped Asia Pulp and Paper streamline and fortify the company’s adaptability, encouraging more holistic career development for the workforce. In May 2022, Asia Pulp and Paper launched the Performance & Goal Management (PMGM) module to support a more objective evaluation of staff performance and encourage self-responsibility of professional growth. Lastly, the continuous search for high-potential talents remains a pillar of the company’s long-term sustainability strategy as more work is put into place to cultivate a thriving workforce and dynamic working culture.
While the company is proud of these achievements thus far, as a people-focused organisation, Asia Pulp and Paper will continue to increase accountability on all fronts as women empowerment across stakeholder communities and capacity-building for humane business practices remain fundamental to the company’s sustainable development.