Spurring Business by Implementing ESG, Pupuk Kaltim Participates in Improving Marine Ecosystems
The ocean is one of the ecosystems that holds a vast biodiversity. Indonesia is known for its marine richness and numerous islands. Located between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Indonesia is home to 8,500 species of fish, 555 species of algae, and 950 species of coral reefs. It's no wonder that Indonesia boasts the world's largest marine biodiversity.
In the modern era, marine ecosystems are increasingly vulnerable to damage due to human activities. From marine pollution to destructive fishing, threats to the sustainability of marine ecosystems are on the rise. If left unchecked, this not only endangers human life but also the marine life.
Moreover, Indonesia, being a maritime nation, sees the ocean not only as an economic resource but also as a source of life for many creatures within it. Therefore, it is essential for society to make efforts to preserve marine ecosystems to ensure they continue to function optimally and provide significant benefits to human life. Thus, efforts to preserve marine ecosystems should be a concern for all.
This Program Advocates Empowering Communities for the Improvement of Aquatic Ecosystems and Coral Reefs
PT Pupuk Kalimantan Timur (Pupuk Kaltim) continues to drive its business by applying the principles of Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG). One of these initiatives involves participating in the Marine Conservation and Coral Reef Media Facility program (Kilau Samudera).
This program also promotes self-reliance by extending its reach to the city of Bontang. Its primary goal is to change the mindset of fishermen to stop environmentally unfriendly fishing practices (Penangkapan Ikan Tidak Ramah Lingkungan or PITRAL).
Budi Wahju Soesilo, the CEO of Pupuk Kaltim, revealed that this program, initiated in 2017, stemmed from the company's concern about the rampant PITRAL activities in the waters of Bontang. These activities were severely affecting the ecosystem and marine life.
"Through this program, Pupuk Kaltim not only focuses on conserving and improving coral reefs in the waters of Bontang but also embraces the local community, initially PITRAL practitioners, to become the main drivers of the program through a group called Kimasea in the Loktuan Bontang Utara sub-district," Budi said, as quoted from his statement on Saturday, August 19, 2023.
He stated that this group also played a role in encouraging fishermen in the city of Bontang to solve the issue of damaged aquatic ecosystems. As a result, the community's awareness of their responsibility in preserving the waters also increased.
Playing an Active Role in Encouraging Bontang's Fishermen
Budi stated that the company provides intensive coaching, training, and empowerment, such as the creation of coral media and regular monitoring of the conservation area's progress, to raise awareness among fishermen about the importance of preserving the aquatic ecosystem. This is considered crucial because conservation programs will not achieve their goals if the public's awareness of the importance of preserving aquatic ecosystems is not formed.
Furthermore, according to him, Pupuk Kaltim's subsidiary has so far placed 6,822 coral media covering an area of 8,356 square meters and successfully generated a coral cover of 3,557 square meters. The conservation program is carried out using artificial coral media and transplantation in the waters of Tobok Batang, Bontang City.
The active participation of Kimasea gradually changes the mindset of fishermen who abandon environmentally unfriendly fishing practices and switch to more responsible fishing methods. This has also had a significant economic impact. Based on the 2022 Social Return on Investment (SROI) study, each member of the group can earn an additional income of IDR 70 million per year.
Seeing the benefits achieved, Pupuk Kaltim expanded the program by establishing a new group in 2022 called Karaka in the Bontang Kuala sub-district.
Until now, these two groups under Pupuk Kaltim's guidance have actively increased their participation and roles in reducing PITRAL activities in the waters of Bontang and developing the capacity of members to promote coral conservation in a sustainable manner.
"This is also a commitment from Pupuk Kaltim towards the four pillars of SDGs through the concept of sustainable coaching, considering community welfare is also the focus of the coral conservation program developed through the TJSL (Taman Jepara Samudera Lestari or Sustainable Ocean Park) benefits," said Budi.
Pupuk Kaltim's efforts have earned it four platinum awards (5 stars), the highest appreciation category at the TJSL and CSR Awards 2023 by BUMN Track magazine in collaboration with the Indonesia Shared Value Institute (ISVI).
Pupuk Kaltim is seen as optimizing its role in the four pillars of SDGs: Social, Economic, Environmental, and Legal and Governance, encompassed in the Marine Conservation and Coral Reef Media Facility (Kilau Samudera) program. This also represents the creation of added value realized by Pupuk Kaltim in promoting supply chain ecosystems, emphasizing community empowerment, which refers to the four pillars of SDGs," said Budi. (Nisa)