Engagement with The Responsible Business Forum Jakarta 2018

On 27 and 28 March, the 5th Responsible Business Forum on Food & Agriculture was held in Jakarta. More than 500 decision-makers from business, government, investors and the development community met to discuss challenges facing the region and agree on scaling collaborative action.

The theme for this year’s Responsible Business Forum was ‘Scaling Collaboration to Deliver the SDGs.’ During this event, delegates shared partnerships, projects and new initiatives designed to transform the food and agriculture value chain.

Decent Work & Human Rights For All

Solidaridad is actively engaged with the Responsible Business Forum and is an official partner. This year, Kulbir Mehta, Country Manager of Solidaridad Indonesia moderated a session on ‘Decent Work, Human Rights and The SDGs.’

Below is the opening slide from Kulbir’s presentation. These sustainable development goals address issues related to decent work and human rights. Framing the session in this way set the tone for the session’s discussion.  


Collaboration Is Key

Shinta Kamdani, President of Indonesian Business Council for Sustainable Development and Vice Chair of Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry asked stakeholders to work together in the same direction to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. She said:

“As the largest economy in South-East Asia, Indonesia is a major agricultural producer, and a bridge between Asia and Australia. Business as usual is no longer an option, we need leadership skills and a new mindset to solve sustainability challenges.”

Franky O. Widjaja, Co-Chairman of PISAsgro, and the Chief Executive Officer of Golden-Agri Resources, emphasized the need for multi-stakeholder collaboration to transform the food and agriculture value chain. He challenged the forum to ‘produce results’ with actionable recommendations to increase yields and improve livelihoods for farmers.

The Need to Go Beyond Compliance

During the event, Senior Sustainability Strategist Cynthia Morel discussed the UN Global Compact Poverty Footprint Indicators and the International Labour Organization’s definition of precarious work and how this disproportionately affects women and migrants, not just in palm oil but beyond. Cynthia spoke about competitive collaboration and how the industry is tackling this issue. She drew on experience from collaborative work conducted for UNICEF and Sime Darby.

Dr. Simon Lord, Chief Sustainability Officer at Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd spoke about the need to go ‘beyond compliance.’ He shared the story of Sime Darby and their global operations that are all ISPO, MSPO and RSPO certified. He explained that this was not only to ensure compliance to national, but also international standards. He said this provided greater market access for their products across geographies and ensured continuous investment in meeting relevant Sustainable Development Goals beyond national and international compliance.

Shared Lessons to Address Global Food Challenges

Solidaridad fully supports the Responsible Business Forum as it continues to demonstrate drive from both international and Indonesian companies to address global food challenges and support diverse, sustainable and nutritious agricultural systems. Over the two-day forum, organizations such as Global Agri Business Alliance, Grow Asia, USAID and Croplife Asia shared examples of projects and initiatives. They highlighted their work with private sector and government players to help to realize the sustainable development goals.

The session was designed to enable panelists to share best practices and to highlight the role of partnerships in addressing issues across South and South-East Asia related to decent work and human rights. It is hoped that delegates take back these success stories and apply lessons learned to future interventions.