Asia Pulp & Paper Launches Capacity Building Program for Forest Workers

Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) held a one-day National Workshop on Forest Sustainability Certification and Labor in Jakarta, Indonesia on 17 December 2015.

The workshop was designed to identify any gaps in working conditions at APP's forestry subsidiaries, suppliers and contractors. In parallel the workshop built further awareness of APP's sustainability commitments including improving labour conditions.

Attending the workshop were 80 participants including 40 Directors, Operational and Industrial Relation Managers of APP's forestry subsidiaries from 5 regions in Indonesia, 20 contractors and 20 trade union representatives.

Aida Greenbury, Managing Director APP stated: "Though we have had an Employee Welfare Policy since 2012, we acknowledge that there are still some challenges in complying with labour requirements by our suppliers and contractors, as identified by an independent audit evaluation last year. This is an area we need to address, to improve and we are therefore engaging in a dialogue with the Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) and its Indonesian affiliate Kahutindo, as one of the most credible workers organizations in our sectors. This will allow our stakeholders to provide input on how we as a business can enhance the skills of our workers to participate in improving working conditions for all in our system including suppliers and contractors. We need APP's commitment on social sustainability to be put in practice throughout our wider business supply chain."

Bro. Khoirul Anam, President of the Indonesian Forestry and Allied Workers Union (Kahutindo) who also chairs BWI Global Wood and Forestry Working Group, presented the importance of forest sustainability for employers and workers in the workshop. "Decent work refers to job creation, income protection, social protection and social dialogue based on the ILO Principles of Fundamental Rights at Work. Current challenges of industries in our sector that is very much depending on natural resources posed tremendous demand for accountable, responsible and sustainable businesses. An effective Industrial Relation to improve decent working conditions requires a strong participation of workers and management. APP's initiative for capacity program in improving working conditions needs to be responsive, dynamic and continuously outreaching all levels of workers," he emphasized.

BWI General Secretary, Ambet Yuson, applauded the initiatives and commitments of APP in improving labor conditions in its supply chain, "BWI has concerns particularly with health and safety issues within APP. With the company's willingness and commitment to improve the conditions, as international stakeholders, BWI will give inputs on the training program for its forest workers on health and safety, and continue to closely monitor the progress at APP."

The workshop was concluded with an action plan to commence the forest workers capacity building training program for Riau and Jambi pilot regions in January 2016, to close any gaps identified during the National Workshop.