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Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food accelerates use of technology to support sustainable production during COVID-19

Posted: Feb 23, 2021 4 minute read SMART

Jakarta, 23 February 2021 – COVID-19 has posed unprecedented challenges to companies committed to sustainability. The pandemic limited opportunities for stakeholder engagement and disrupted outreach campaigns. In response, global palm oil company, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food accelerated its digital transformation to ensure social distancing and safety without compromising its sustainability commitments.

The ongoing digital transformation at Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food is an important part of the company’s innovation drive. Smart use of technology allows the sustainability team to become more effective in implementing sustainability initiatives. Two principles guide the digital transformation:

  1. Fit-for-purpose: Select technology that is efficient and suitable for the company’s sustainability implementation.
  2. Future proof: The key is to understand the trends, anticipate the future and adopt technology that help to minimise disruption the implementation of sustainability initiatives.

“COVID-19 has made digital transformation within the agriculture sector a necessity. We are exploring and adopting different technology that can help minimise the disruption of COVID-19 on the company’s sustainability efforts,” said Agus Purnomo, Managing Director of Sustainability, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food.

SMART Reach (SMART Remote Engagement, Assessment and Conference (call) from Home), which was launched in 2020, is a good example of how the company’s two main principles of digital transformation were applied in practice.

SMART Reach is used to conduct remote assessments with third-party suppliers through Zoom video calls that are quick, easy to use and at low cost. The digital platform allowed the sustainability team to overcome the lack of field visits because of social distancing measures (fit-for-purpose) while ensuring that consultations on improving sustainability practices of suppliers can continue safely.

The SMART Reach innovation has also increased efficiency and effectiveness. Previously, it took three days to carry out a field visit, but currently it only takes 3 hours over 2 days for each supplier. SMART Reach has helped suppliers maintain their sustainability commitments amidst the current pandemic and the company’s commitment to achieve 100% Traceability to The Plantation (future proof).

The same principles were also applied for the implementation of the GAR Sustainability Information System (GSIS). Technology allows 24-hour access to the sustainability database via a corporate VPN connection, facilitates communication with operational teams, and supports the Internal Compliance Verification (ICV) process (fit-for-purpose).

In addition, GSIS is also used for automated alerts for the fire hazard rating system (FDRS) which sends notifications automatically via email every day to the unit. Through this system, operational teams can understand the potential of land and forest fire (karhutla) and take the necessary action.

To further strengthen the company’s use of technology to detect land-use changes like deforestation, the company recently signed an agreement with Agritech Satelligence, an ag-tech company, to monitor its supply chain throughout Indonesia. Using satellite imagery, the collaboration will enable more rapid identification of deforestation that may be linked to suppliers.

Satelligence’s technology tackles a number of hurdles in the drive to managing sustainable supply chains, such as buyers and financial institutions burdening suppliers, a rise in biased reporting, and incorrect deforestation alerts from monitoring services.

The digital transformation at Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food, while still an ongoing process, has already brought positive results, delivering sustainable palm production. COVID-19 has re-energised the shift to technology and innovation in the agriculture sector. Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food is leading these efforts in Indonesia and will continue in 2021 and beyond.



About Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food
In Indonesia, all Golden Agri-Resources’ (GAR’s) palm oil related businesses operate under the Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food brand. Outside of Indonesia, the majority of GAR-owned entities operate under the GAR brand. When talking about GAR’s total business interests in Indonesia, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food is used.

Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food operates with a total planting area in Indonesia reaching more than 495,247 hectares (including plasma smallholders) as at 30 September 2019, located in Indonesia. It has integrated operations focused on the production of palm-based edible oil and fat. Focus on sustainable palm oil production, its primary activities in Indonesia include cultivating and harvesting of oil palm trees; processing of fresh fruit bunch into crude palm oil (CPO) and palm kernel; refining CPO into value-added products such as cooking oil, margarine, shortening, biodiesel and oleo-chemicals; as well as merchandising palm products throughout the world. It also has operations in China and India including a deep-sea port, oilseeds crushing plant, production capabilities for refined edible oil products as well as other food products such as noodles.

Founded in 1996, GAR was listed on the Singapore Exchange in 1999 and has a market capitalisation of US$2.1 billion as at 30 September 2019. Flambo International Limited, an investment company, is currently GAR’s largest shareholder, with a 50.35 percent stake. GAR has several subsidiaries, including PT SMART Tbk which was listed on the Indonesia Stock Exchange in 1992.

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