Aviation history has just been made. Earlier this summer I told you about the record breaking solar plane flight, and now the solar eagle has landed again—this time at an airport in India that just became the first airport in the world to completely operate on solar power. Amazingly, the Cochin International airport in India’s state of Kerala actually produces more power than it uses. Inaugurated on August 18 of this year, over 46,000 solar panels laid across 45 acres near its cargo complex now produce 50,000 to 60,000 units of electricity per day, which is slightly more than it uses. The remainder is being contributed to the state’s power grid. Mr.V.J.Kurian IAS, Managing Director, Cochin International Airport Ltd. explains: “When we had realized that the power bill is on the higher side, we contemplated possibilities. Then the idea of tapping the green power came in. We consume around 48,000 unit (KWh) a day. So if we can produce the same, that too by strictly adhering to the green and sustainable development model of infrastructure development that we always follow, that would transcend a message to the world. Now this has become the world’s first airport fully operates on solar power.”
Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) and the Belantara Foundation last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with South Sumatra provincial government, as well as a declaration of commitment with the West Kalimantan provincial government, to support both provincial governments in sustainable landscape management to achieve green growth in their respective region. Both provinces are leaders in this space and have driven the push for integrating environmental protection and economic growth policy in Indonesia.
The agreement with the South Sumatra Provincial Government will run until 30 October 2018 and focuses on developing sustainable landscape management, with particular focus on forest fire prevention and protection of peatland. Both APP and Belantara Foundation also commit to be part of donor committee to fund landscape projects in South Sumatra, managed by the Partnership for Landscape Management (KELOLA) led by the Governor of South Sumatra and supported by Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
The MoU builds on a number of initiatives that APP and the Belantara Foundation have underway in South Sumatra, including an MOU with the Production Forest Management Unit – Unit IV Meranti in Musi Banyuasin District on Protected Forest Management through Community-based forest protection and restoration activities. The agreement was signed in April 2016 and will continue until April 2019, and covers 11,388 hectares of Meranti Sungai Merah protected forest.
The declaration with the West Kalimantan Provincial Government focuses on developing the province’s partnership program on commodity-based development. Launched by the Governor of West Kalimantan, this program aims to ensure that supply of commodity and natural resources is sustainable and beneficial to the livelihoods of local small-scale farmers.
APP and the Belantara Foundation are also active in West Kalimantan via a collaboration with IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative and three forestry companies – PT. Mayangkara Tanaman Industri, PT. Wana Subur Lestari, and PT. Mayawana Persada to promote sustainable landscape management in production forest in the Kubu-Ketapang landscape. Kemitraan Foundation, a local organisation, has been appointed to implement the program.
Aida Greenbury, Managing Director of Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement at APP said, “For there to be meaningful progress on Indonesia’s development agenda, we need strong conservation efforts and collaboration with all stakeholders, which is why APP has always encouraged multi-stakeholder collaboration to protect Indonesia’s forests and key species. We are committed to fully supporting the initiatives by the Provincial Governments of South Sumatra and West Kalimantan as part of wider efforts to support sustainable development in Indonesia.”
As a part of its Forest Conservation Policy, APP and its suppliers have implemented various forest protection initiatives, such as the implementation of Peatland Best Practice Management Plan in stages. As of April 2016, APP and its pulpwood suppliers have built more than 5,000 dams in the perimeter canals of the pulpwood supplier’s plantation area in four provinces in Indonesia.
APP also recognise the important role that local communities play in sustainable landscape management. As such, APP and its suppliers are implementing the Integrated Forestry & Farming System (IFFS) focusing on sustainable agroforestry with an aim to build capacity to improve community welfare and reduce dependency on forests. APP has committed USD$10 million to implement the programme in 500 villages in five provinces over the next five years.