Supporting human and sustainable development

I recently had attended a high level roundtable luncheon hosted by leader of the United Nations Development Programme, Helen Clark, along with guests from the likes of KPMG, ANZ, Allens, Accenture and Westpac.

During the roundtable the significant issues facing developing countries were discussed along with how the United Nations is working to improve lives and how private partnerships and business can play a leading role in affecting change.

As one of the world’s largest pulp and paper companies employing more than 700,000 people, APP plays an important role in emerging economies such as Indonesia. Its responsibility to produce pulp and paper in a sustainable manner goes further than how it manages its forest concessions, APP has a critical role in helping to alleviate poverty, empower individuals and communities and grow the economies in which it operates.

In doing so, APP and Paper Force as signatories support the UNGC Ten Principles with respect to human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. APP is also a partner in supporting the Government of Indonesia in meeting its objectives when it comes to the Millennium Development Goals.

But how do these standards translate into actions you may ask? Within communities APP does a lot in the way of social investment on the ground. From establishing a school for mill employees to further their education and supporting other school programs, to providing the means for people in the local communities to eventually develop their own businesses and become self-sufficient (e.g. through a cattle farming program and rolling agricultural fund).

In regards to health, clean water is often taken for granted in the Western society, but in Indonesia it is a luxury in many communities. By drilling wells, building pump stations and constructing public washrooms in the communities where they operate, APP and its partner companies provide their neighbours with exactly what they covet: safe, clean and reliable sources of water.

APP also provides healthcare services for communities in remote locations.

As Indonesia continues to thrive, there is potential to make even greater contributions to human and sustainable development and with that development APP will continue support the growing needs of its communities.

Addressing the world’s development needs requires a collaborative approach where partnerships are formed and business takes a leading role in affecting change. The role of the private sector cannot be understated as addressed in Ms Clark’s 16 October lecture at the University of Sydney. “Its capacity to invest, employ, innovate, create space in value chains for micro-business and SMEs, and operate in environmentally responsible ways are of immense significance to global development.”