Hutan Harapan’s Rubber Agroforestry Farmers Receive Support from Pirelli and BMW Group

Hutan Harapan is an Ecosystem Restoration concession (ERC) managed by PT Restorasi Ekosistem Indonesia (REKI), a consortium by Burung Indonesia, BirdLife International and RSPB, covering an area of 98,555 ha located in the provinces of South Sumatra and Jambi. It is one of last remaining patches of lowland forests in Sumatra and former logging concession, however it is still rich of biodiversity.  Hutan Harapan has 1,300 species of flora and 620 fauna including the Sumatran Tiger, the Sumatran Elephant and a variety tropical lowland birds. PT REKI is developing sustainable business efforts to improve community welfare, giving environmental benefit for wider landscape in addition to forest restoration.

With the issuance of the Job Creation Law 11/2020 and its derivative policies such as Government Regulation 23/ 2021 and Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) Regulation 8/2021, the Ecosystem Restoration permits that form the basis of the ERC have been changed to ‘Forest Utilization Permits/PBPH’ that allows the company to develop multiple forestry businesses. As an ERC company, since the beginning PT REKI, has taken this approach in the form of forest area utilization, cultivation of non-timber forest products and provision of environmental services, including forest restoration. One of the area utilization activities is the development of an agroforestry-based rubber partnership business with the Batin Sembilan Indigenous People and other local communities who have signed a 'Forest Partnership Agreement' within the framework of the government’s Social Forestry program. The Social Forestry Program is a critical initiative by the government of Indonesia to support the livelilhoods of local communities whilst preserving the integrity of the forest.

In October 2021, Hutan Harapan and rubber farmers received support from Pirelli and the BMW Group with the goal of improving rubber farmers’ livelihoods in Hutan Harapan as part of efforts to develop a sustainable supply chain to ensure the long-term production of deforestation-free natural rubber.

This partnership program will contribute to improved community livelihoods and environment and is also in line with the goals of the Global Platform of Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) of which Pirelli, BMW Group and BirdLife International are founding members.

“We welcome the support from Pirelli and the BMW Group because the program can help improve community livelihoods, especially those who have partnered with us. In addition, the rubber agroforestry business partnership is part of PT REKI's ‘multi-business forestry’ development as mandated by Government Regulation 23/ 2021 and Ministry of Environment and Forestry Regulation 8/2021. The new regulations strengthen efforts to ensure the economic welfare of communities in Hutan Harapan. We expect this program will support a sustainable and deforestation-free natural rubber supply chain while improving people's welfare,” said Mangarah Silalahi- President Director of PT. REKI.

Apart from supporting GPSNR, the activities are also in line with the Indonesian government's programs to alleviate poverty and improve community livelihoods as well as sustainable forest management. This includes:

1. A natural rubber-based agroforestry approach is employed to optimize the quality and quantity of rubber, diversify community income, restore forests with communities, increase soil fertility and conserve biodiversity.

2. Involvement of indigenous and local communities including women and vulnerable people: involving farming families to identify, ensure respect for and protection of their customary rights and the rights of women and the vulnerable.

3. Empowerment of women and vulnerable people: education and training for women and vulnerable people to be actively involved and support activities related to rubber cultivation and sustainable natural rubber management, forest protection and biodiversity.

4. Management and control of forest and land fires through community-based fire prevention in the Forest Partnership areas and in surrounding areas.

5. Protection and security of forest areas and the biodiversity, carried out together with government agencies, communities, and other stakeholders. The location of rubber agroforestry and its surroundings is a habitat for several species of animals that are protected by Indonesian law, including the ivory hornbill, Sumatran tigers and elephants.

“The ERC concession also represents an important component in the Indonesian government’s firm commitment to address climate change and biodiversity in production forest, to address forest fires and to protect the most vulnerable Indonesians. The support from Pirelli and the BMW Group will help support the Indonesian government’s efforts in this regard,” continues Mangarah.

Giovanni Tronchetti Provera, Pirelli’s Senior Vice President Sustainability and Future Mobility, said: “The development of this project is based on the principles of transparency and tangibility which have always guided Pirelli’s actions. Together with BMW Group, in support of the goals of BirdLife we intend to be an active part of a project that aims to have a sustainable impact all round on natural rubber, in the belief that community, biodiversity and business must grow by supporting each other, creating a shared socio-environmental value”.

“As a premium manufacturer, our goal is to lead the way on sustainability and actively take responsibility within our supply chains. In the fight against climate change, we are rolling out targeted measures to support biodiversity and tropical rainforest conservation,” said Dr Andreas Wendt, BMW AG Board Member for Purchasing and Supplier Network. “Our project in Indonesia will help people and the local economy to work in greater harmony with nature. At the same time, it will also support local communities by professionalizing their traditional cultivation methods for natural rubber.”

Patricia Zurita, CEO, BirdLife International, commented: “BirdLife works beyond species and sites to address systemic drivers of the biodiversity and climate crisis, and promote a nature positive and carbon neutral world. This is why we joined the GPSNR and welcome this collaboration with Pirelli and BMW to embed practices to safeguard nature within the rubber value chain”.

PT. RESTORASI EKOSISTEM INDONESIA (REKI)

PT. Restorasi Ekosistem Indonesia (REKI) is the holder of the first Ecosystem Restoration business license in Indonesia. Known as “Hutan Harapan”, it covers an area of ​​98,555 ha in South Sumatra and Jambi.  The company aims to restore forest productivity, develop multiple forestry businesses, improve community livelihoods and protect the biodiversity which will contribute to sustainably managing Sumatra's remaining lowland forests.

BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL

BirdLife International is the world’s largest nature conservation partnership, with 117 Partners. Our purpose is to conserve global biodiversity, habitats and birds, working with people and business in the sustainable use of natures’ resources. To inform and advance evidence-based business policy and practice, we offer a wealth of proprietary data and tools, provide science-based consultation and have boots on the ground in 115 countries. Globally, our science and biodiversity data inform international policy dialogue, and in the field of ‘environment & ecology’, BirdLife is ranked #1 in the UK for high impact research. Locally, our Partners provide acute insight at both a landscape and community level of issues and solutions and have the legitimacy to engage and advocate at all levels of government.

BirdLife’s work on engaging with the rubber sector including the GPSR has been as part of Trillion Trees – a collaboration between BirdLife, WWF-UK, WCS and Restore our Planet.

PIRELLI

With 18 plants in 12 countries and a commercial presence in 160, Pirelli is among the world’s principle tyre producers and the only one to be fully focused on the Consumer market which consists of tyres for cars, motorcycles and bicycles. Pirelli has a distinctive position at the high and very high end – the “High Value” segment – and is a global brand with deep Italian roots. The Company is known for its cutting edge technology, production excellence, passion for innovation and constant commitment to reducing environmental impacts, as well as attention to new forms of mobility. Pirelli, in fact, puts sustainable development at the heart of its own growth strategies, along the entire value chain. With regard to the sustainable management of the natural rubber supply chain, in particular, Pirelli has for years been committed to a roadmap of activities based on training and the sharing of good practices in the countries where the material originates. This is in line with the principles and values of the Company’s Policy for the Sustainable Management of Natural Rubber which was launched in 2017 and updated in 2021. Bringing together sustainability and innovation, Pirelli was the first company in the world to produce a line of tyres using natural rubber and rayon with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.

THE BMW GROUP

With its four brands BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. The BMW Group production network comprises 31 production and assembly facilities in 15 countries; the company has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.

In 2020, the BMW Group sold over 2.3 million passenger vehicles and more than 169,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax in the financial year 2020 was € 5.222 billion on revenues amounting to € 98.990 billion. As of 31 December 2020, the BMW Group had a workforce of 120,726 employees.

The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company set the course for the future at an early stage and consistently makes sustainability and efficient resource management central to its strategic direction, from the supply chain through production to the end of the use phase of all products.

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