Water Stewardship is on the move in Indonesia

Report by Basja Jantowski

The Alliance for Water Stewardship Asia-Pacific with support of the Australia Water Partnership, has successfully brought the concept of water stewardship to Indonesia with the first Forum and accredited Training on May 8, 9 and Bogor, West Java. The Forum and training were attended by more than 40 participants of which 22 participants continued into the training program. The participants came from multiple sectors: Indonesian national level government, multinational companies, NGOs, consultancies, certification bodies, and more.

Attendees heard from 7 speakers at the forum ‘Is Water Your Business?’ including Mr Noer Adi Wardojo, the Head of the Center for Standardisation from Ministry of Environment and Forestry. He gave a presentation on the high economic prospects of Indonesia, but also the challenges on water that come with this development. He stated that:

‘Water is very important for ecosystem services and functions, and water as part of the nexus. The challenges in Indonesia are cross-sector, cross-boundary, cross-actor and therefore about working together. It is the role of the Government as well to make companies stronger, and more sustainable. The water stewardship standard will progress how we do water governance in Indonesia, as it would improve competitiveness, access to international markets, not just a minimum compliance regulatory approach. [The] AWS Standard can be a way for companies to look beyond compliance, not just for government but also for their own business.’ He ended his speech welcoming the Alliance for Water Stewardship to Indonesia and he looked forward to continue to work in a constructive manner to integrate water stewardship in company and government activities in Indonesia.

Michael Spencer (CEO of AWS Asia-Pacific) and Zhenzhen Xu (Regional Manager of AWS Asia- Pacific) then presented the AWS Standard and System, and how it can provide a practical framework for action showcasing several leading examples from China. This was followed by 4 companies and consultancies who presented their experience on working in water management and the opportunities they foresee for good water stewardship and working with the AWS Standard in Indonesia. The speakers were:

  • Chew Boon Hee, Supply Chain Director MultiBintang (HEINEKEN), who has already included water stewardship as part of their company policy and is working at catchment level on reforestation and waste management. MultiBintang is interested to explore collaboration with AWS in Indonesia.
  • Stephen Nye, Executive Board Britmindo, who explained about the challenges in mining, the importance of stakeholder engagement and the opportunity the Standard would provide for the mining sector. Stephen sees large opportunities for multiple clients in the mining sector.
  • Hans van Poppel, Delegate Representative Water Indonesia RVO The Netherlands who shared some experiences from Mali and Vietnam and presented the opportunities for inclusion of water stewardship in Dutch water projects in Indonesia. Hans is working with AWS to identify key projects for potential collaboration.
  • Martin Mach, Sustainability and Legal Specialist at Bumitama Agri and Peter de Haan, Director Sustainable Landscape Management Aidenvironment. They presented the company risks that palm oil companies face due to floods and droughts and the tremendous impact (hundreds millions of dollars per year for 1 plantation only) these have on crop yield. The Standard already helped them to better assess these risks and this would surely help the company in future investments.

Many requested for follow-up meetings to explore how AWS could support them on water stewardship. AWS Indonesia was also invited to attend the member meeting of the Indonesian Association of Certification Bodies (ALSI), in order to explore market opportunities further.

22 participants attended the Foundation Training,  with 19 participants going on to attend Advanced Training and 17 participants successfully completed Specialist Training (the highest number of specialist participants in the region so far). Amongst the trainees included representatives from AidenvironmentGlobal Water Partnership-Southeast AsiaHalcyonHaskoningDHV IndonesiaIndustrial Sustainable Development Center of Cheng Kung University, PT Bogor Environment Resources Institute, PT Dharma Satya NusantaraPT Moya IndonesiaPT SMARTRVO / Dutch Enterprise AgencySimavi IndonesiaTropical Water Solutions Pty. LtdTUV Rheinland and WWF Indonesia.

All participants got a better understanding and awareness on water challenges at site and especially catchment level and how AWS standard can provide framework for action. They were also provided with lessons learned from the region in applying the AWS standard and other related standards. One of the participants, Mrs Watik, who works at a palm oil company in Indonesia, was very interested in how the standard can help companies to get a better understanding of the water balance and water quality assessment for self-verification of plantations of her company. WWF Indonesia were interested to learn how the Standard integrates the importance of biodiversity as part of Important Water Related Areas.

Chrisandini (Sustainable Energy Coordinator at WWF Indonesia) said, “I gained a lot of knowledge and got to know a lot of people with whom I look forward to continue working with. The group exercises were very good and by working on practical cases, I gained more confidence on how to use the Standard in my work.”

AWS Asia-Pacific is looking forward to continue working with the training participants to support the implementation of Water Stewardship in Indonesia, on the back of an exciting event which gave a tremendous boost to the engagement and network building for Water Stewardship in Indonesia.

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