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Leverage on Shifting Consumer Demands to Elevate Supply Chain Sustainability in Southeast Asia

27 Oct Leverage on Shifting Consumer Demands to Elevate Supply Chain Sustainability in Southeast Asia

Leverage on Shifting Consumer Demands to Elevate
Supply Chain Sustainability in Southeast Asia
While actors across the supply chain have taken positive steps in recent years,
more can be done to bridge gaps from both demand- and supply- sides

Singapore, 27 October 2021 – To elevate supply chain sustainability in Southeast Asia’s agribusiness sector, the industry must leverage on shifting consumer demands and also upscale smallholder engagement. These were the key recommendations from the “Indonesia Focus”, an event co-organised by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) and World Resources Institute (WRI) Indonesia. Held annually since 2016, the dialogue engages stakeholders to examine various sustainability practices impacting the agribusiness and forestry sector in Indonesia and the region.

 “Indonesia has made great strides in reducing deforestation and improving various environmental, social and governance standards. Given the extensive rainforest and peatland ecosystems within our region, and the economic contributions of its agribusiness and forestry sectors, we must continue to take action on driving Southeast Asia towards a higher standard of sustainability,” said Associate Professor Simon Tay, Chairman, SIIA.

“With the moratorium on palm oil expiring, supply chain actors need to step up their game to ensure that no-deforestation commitment becomes the mainstream for all commodities. This requires consumer-facing businesses such as brands and retailers to actively play their part in providing consumers with more sustainable products. Moving forward, we believe that the next critical phase is to increase the demand for more sustainable products, rewarding the good supply chain actors, and raising awareness of consumers in major market such as Indonesia and China,“ said Dr. Nirarta Samadhi, Country Director, WRI Indonesia.

Held on 27 October 2021, the Indonesia Focus examined the theme, “Elevating Sustainability in Agribusiness: Bridging Supply & Demand Gaps”, with speakers from Indonesia’s Sustainable Palm Farmers Forum (FORTASBI), Louis Dreyfus Company Indonesia, Musim Mas, Super Indo, The Nature Conservancy and WRI Indonesia.

Given growing consumer demand for sustainability, companies are finding ways to leverage this trend to improve sustainability across the supply chain. This was discussed in the first panel of the Indonesia Focus, “Leveraging Consumer Interest to Drive Conservation to the Next Level”.

 “As part of Ahold Delhaize, Super Indo recognised that eco-labels are important for consumers, industry, governments and also retailers itself. What this means is that as consumers, eco-labels guide purchasing decisions by providing information about how the product is sourced. For businesses, eco-labels are a means of measuring performance and also communicating and marketing the environmental credentials of a given product. And for governments, crucially these tools encourage the behavioural change of producers and consumers towards long-term sustainability,” said Ms. D. Yuvlinda Susanta, General Manager of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability, PT. Lion Super Indo.

 In the second panel, “Scaling Up Smallholder Support for Sustainability”, speakers discussed persisting barriers smallholders face in achieving higher sustainability standards and ways for the industry to support them.

“At Musim Mas, we dedicate ourselves to going beyond our supply chain and transforming the palm oil industry into a more sustainable one. We extend our training to local government agricultural officers in Indonesia, who then share their expertise with smallholders and equip them with skills needed for responsible farming. This is our proven Smallholders Hub approach, where we want to reach out to more smallholders and impact more lives,” said Mr. Rob Nicholls, General Manager, Programs and Projects, Musim Mas.

Held virtually for the second time, the Indonesia Focus saw almost 70 participants from private sector firms – including plantation companies, suppliers, traders, offtakers, and financial institutions – as well as government bodies, academic institutes, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

This year’s edition of the Indonesia Focus was made possible with the support of Musim Mas.

Media Contact

Siti Bazilah
Senior Executive (Policy & Media), Sustainability

About the Singapore Institute of International Affairs

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Established in 1962, the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) is a non-profit and independent think tank committed to producing policy analysis, fostering in-depth dialogues and bridging gaps between policymakers, private sector decision-makers and experts to shape public policy and social responses. Centred around ASEAN focused themes, the institute aims to deliver policy analysis in international affairs and on issues driving environmental sustainability. The SIIA has been consistently ranked as one of the leading think tanks in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, in the Global Go To Think Tank Index by the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2017, the SIIA was ranked the No. 1 independent think tank in Asia. It was also recognised as one of the top 50 think tanks globally, excluding the United States of America. For two consecutive years since 2019, it was recognised as the No. 1 think tank in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific (excluding India). In 2020, it was also recognised as one of the think tanks with the best policy and institutional response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the SIIA’s Sustainability Programme

The SIIA’s Sustainability Programme was established in 1997 when it organised Singapore’s first haze dialogue with the Singapore Environment Council. Since then, the Sustainability Programme has evolved to address a range of sustainability issues ASEAN faces. The Programme continues to focus on the haze and resource sector, as well as using green finance and carbon financing as levers to advance supply chain sustainability and drive Southeast Asia’s “green recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of its Sustainability Programme, the SIIA facilitates dialogues between governments, private sector, academia and NGOs. One of the SIIA’s key platforms is its flagship event, the Singapore Dialogue on Sustainable World Resources (SDSWR), launched in 2014. The annual event attracts about 300 high-level participants to discuss best practices, new commitments and noteworthy cross-sector collaborations in ASEAN’s resource sector, to prevent and mitigate the recurrence of transboundary haze. A key research output by the Institute is the SIIA Haze Outlook report. Launched in 2019, the report serves as a risk assessment and predictive tool for countries in the region to determine the likelihood of a severe transboundary haze incident. In 2020, the SIIA released the report “ESG in Practice: A Closer Look at Sustainability in ASEAN’s Palm Oil and Pulpwood Sectors”, providing recommendations to align agribusiness and forestry stakeholders on environmental, social, and governance factors towards a long-term vision of sustainable production.

About the World Resources Institute (WRI) Indonesia

WRI Indonesia is an independent research organisation dedicated to contributing to the socioeconomic development of Indonesia in an inclusive and sustainable way. Our work is focused on six main areas: forests, climate, energy, cities and transportation, governance, as well as ocean. We turn big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity, and human well-being.

Established in January 2014 with its headquarter in Jakarta, WRI Indonesia is a non-profit research organisation affiliated with the World Resources Institute, a global environmental think tank based in Washington D.C. WRI has a research network of over 450 experts and staff in more than 50 countries with offices in China, India, Indonesia, Europe and the United States. In Indonesia, we have run projects with partners for over 20 years, and WRI Indonesia was formally launched to build a robust in-country presence, to formalise existing partnerships, as well as strengthen our research on the ground.