RLU named one of Indonesia’s greenest companies

The award recognises green business champions with strong leadership and commitment to sustainability

Chairman of the KEHATI Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Ismid Hadad, presented the Green Company Award to RLU Corporate Affairs Director, Meizani Irmadhiany. Photo: PT RLU

Last month, PT Royal Lestari Utama (RLU) had its environmental credentials honoured for a second year running after it was voted one of Indonesia’s top 10 Green Companies for 2019.

Presented by business magazine SWA, in partnership with the Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation (KEHATI), the award recognises green business champions with strong leadership and commitment to sustainability.

With one site in Jambi and another in East Kalimantan, RLU manages natural rubber production forests on severely deforested and degraded land. The panel – chaired by Indonesian economist and former environment minister Emil Salim – was impressed with RLU’s efforts to take a global lead in sustainable natural rubber production.

Partnerships for Forests (P4F) is supporting the award-winner to reach that goal. Backed by P4F, RLU has launched initiatives to protect natural forests near its rubber concessions and boost livelihoods for local communities.  

One is a 9,000-hectare Wildlife Conservation Area in Bukit Tigapuluh national park – a fragment of Sumatra’s disappearing lowland tropical forest. Next to RLU’s Jambi plantation, the Conservation Area creates a protective buffer for the forest and its vulnerable wildlife. In fact, Bukit Tigapuluh is one of six priority areas for saving critically endangered Sumatran tigers; around 30 are thought to live there, along with 120 similarly threatened Sumatran elephants and 160 Sumatran orangutans.

The recent award credits a strong environmental and social impact story. RLU will only plant rubber trees on half of its 88,000-hectare concessions and has set aside the remaining areas for Community Partnership Programs, conservation and restoration.

So far, RLU has set up programs with 23 villages, offering sustainable livelihood alternatives to help prevent illegal logging, land encroachment and wildlife poaching. Around 24,000 people are set to feel the benefits, which also include community housing, school and health clinic construction.

RLU is committed to making this impact last long-term, having had a strong sustainability focus from the beginning. As a joint venture between Michelin and Barito Pacific, Michelin gives RLU priority in supplying its natural rubber products – currently about 10% of its total needs. The tyre giant will continue paying top prices to ensure RLU’s longevity.

The Green Company Award comes in the wake of RLU’s success last year in becoming the first company in Asia to secure a Green Bond from the Tropical Landscape Finance Facility –  a testament to its impressive social and environmental performance.

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