Indonesian Business Leaders Hopeful at Rio+20
Muhamad Al Azhari
Indonesian business leaders expect the world’s leaders to establish policy frameworks that would encourage private-sector businesses to preserve the planet by employing more “green economic” practices.
Suryo Bambang Sulisto, chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), was among the business leaders attending the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as the Rio+20 conference, held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, which wraps up three days of discussions and talks today.
“We are pleased that the discussions at Rio+20 have emphasized the need for the public and private sectors to work more closely in order to develop sustainable development,” Suryo said in a statement sent to the Jakarta Globe on Thursday.
“We hope that as a result of Rio+20, governments will be more able to put in place the policy frameworks that will enable businesses to scale-up the best practices and innovative technologies that will help reach sustainability goals,” he added.
The conference invited 135 heads of state and government and up to 50,000 participants, including executives from businesses and civil society representatives. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was quoted by international media as saying it is “one of the most important conferences in UN history.”
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who gave remarks at the conference on Wednesday, called on world leaders to maintain commitments in mobilizing the people to preserve the planet despite a difficult economic situation due to fears over how the euro zone crisis will develop.
“We are now in the midst of a difficult world economic situation. It remains uncertain how the euro zone crisis will turn out, and we hope that the crisis will end sooner rather than later,” he said during his speech.
“Our challenge is how to ensure that world economic problems do not detract or distract us from sustainability goals and climate change objectives. It is important for us to maintain focus on our national commitments and global responsibilities.”
Shinta Kamdani, vice chair on environment and climate change at Kadin, told the Globe that the private sector delegation from Indonesia saw its key priority as maintaining focus on four primary sustainability issues.
Those are sustainable forest management under REDD+ implementation, which refers to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, a mechanism in which countries will be paid for keeping their forests intact; “green banking”, under which financial institutions seek to ensure social and environmental responsibility in their practices; sustainable fisheries to help strengthen the country’s food security; and growth in eco-tourism.
Some of Indonesia’s biggest companies have come under repeated attack from environmental activists critical of the way they do business.
A report by environmental watchdog Greenpeace alleged Asia Pulp & Paper, a company affiliated with Jakarta-based Sinar Mas Group, of using harvested timber from virgin rainforests in its paper-making operations.
APP lashed out at Greenpeace and defended its logging practices, saying the company has a strict policy in not sourcing timber from virgin tropical rainforests.