Couple days ago, some of us from TruClimate had the opportunity to meet the BOD of an Indonesian agriculture company that has been operating for more than 50 years.
We admired how their business is really conducted in sustainable manners, from taking care of their farmers’ wellbeing, educating the communities to preserving the environment. They simply said, “If we are not doing it sustainably, our business won’t be exist”
That sentence was not exaggerated. The director explained to us how they need to implement sustainable pricing (not only fair pricing) to ensure the farmers are compensated well and the young locals to be educated thus being a farmer will still be a promising job for them. How they need to build the canal system and concern about waste management so it won’t affect their yields.
The company’s relationship with the local communities and environment are codependent, and I think how they develop their sustainability strategy as part of their business-as-usual is the main reason they can be the only company which exists in that remote area while 30 other mills were closing down years ago.
We joked that the website is not doing the justice since it only tells a small part of their story. They said they don’t need a story.
We asked why they didn’t become a listed company. They answered, they were afraid they will risk their farmers because shareholder pressure will change how they operate.
It is kind of unfortunate that they choose to be a low profile company since they are very inspiring. But the director said that he is open to anyone that wants to copy their business model, since it will benefit many people and the planet in the long run.
Benefit many people and the planet in the long run, I think that’s basically how we define sustainability, right?
In the midst of the meeting, I decided to go to Mushalla since I hadn’t done my prayer. With curiosity, I talked with the random employees in the prayer room. And more or less, they gave me a similar answer on how they are proud working there because of the value that the director explained to us in the meeting room.
I am speechless.