Most Valued Business (MVB) Indonesia has introduced five companies deemed as having genuine concern for their employees and surrounding communities, the environment and the country as a whole. The practice is in line with the core beliefs of MVB, an independent organisation established in Singapore two years ago to empower sustainability and best business practices through highlighting, encouraging and publicising businesses that are trying to do the right thing.

“Many companies in Indonesia still do not know how to convey this good message to the public. This is what inspired us to act as a communication channel to the concerned audience. Through our campaigns with Daniel Mananta as our ambassador, we encourage businesses in Indonesia to put ethics ahead of profits and we also invite people in Indonesia to be smart consumers who choose to consume things from responsible companies,” the Chairman of MVB Indonesia Alistair Speirs said during a ceremony at Raffles Hotel in South Jakarta.

The five companies are: Bali-based winery Sababay Industry, represented by its CEO Evy Gozali; green technology social enterprise start-up Nirwana Alam Hijau (Avani), represented by its CEO and cofounder Kevin Kumalaputra; travel and tour agency Panorama JTB Tours, represented by its CEO Royanto Handaya; Indonesia-themed clothing line Damn! I Love Indonesia, represented by its founder Daniel Mananta; as well as office supplies and sewing machines company Brother Indonesia, represented by its HR Manager Nila Maharani.

Each of the company representatives delivered a presentation showcasing what they have done to achieve a better world.

“Business has to start from a sense of frustration which is later developed into a solution and business idea. Indonesia is the second country after China that has big issues with plastic waste in the world. According to a research in 2011, there were eight tons of plastic waste in the world, and 23 per cent came from Indonesia,” said Kevin Kumalaputra, Nirwana Alam Hijau CEO and cofounder.

“So I came up with plastics made of cassava starch that can safely degrade within 180 days into natural compost, unlike most plastic bags that take 50 to 1,000 years to degrade, which makes it harmful for the earth. These starch-based plastic bags also dissolve in lukewarm or hot water within 30 seconds, and it’s safe to drink,” he continued, chugging the water in front of the audience.

As for Evy Gozali, her presentation centred on how the business she and her mother established back in 2009 has helped many poor grape farmers in Bali.

“That year, my mom and I went to Bali and she was looking for something to work on as she was about to retire soon. We stumbled upon grapes sold very cheaply there, only IDR 500 per kilogram. The farmers were not happy, because they didn’t know what to do with them. So we cooperated with the local government and the farmers, facilitated technology transfer to make quality wine. We did it, and three years later, we got the official winery license,” Gozali said.

Instead of conducting Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) programs, as is common in most companies, the clothing line Damn! I Love Indonesia runs a program called CSV or Creating Social Values.

“The company is built on social values. We want to remind Indonesian youth that we are rich in cultural heritage. We also work with Habitat for Humanity to provide proper housing for those in need,” said Daniel Mananta, a successful entrepreneur and entertainer.

Panorama JTB Tours shares a similar vision.

“In Panorama, we have a foundation called Yayasan Panorama Anugerah, established in 2010, which has three platforms of activities. There’s ‘movement’, through which we create movement for the public to explore tourism through photography exhibitions and travel writing workshops. There’s also ‘sustainability’, for which we work with local small and medium handicraft centres, batik makers, etc. And ‘philanthropy’, through which we help victims and survivors of natural disasters as well as create social events,” said Royanto Handaya, CEO of Panorama JTB Tours.

“In our company, our employees must engage in 5Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Reform and Refuse. We encourage them to turn off the tap when they’re brushing their teeth, not use plastic bags when shopping for groceries. It’s so satisfying when they come to us and say, ‘I’ve done all those. What else can I do for the environment?’” said Brother Indonesia HR Manager Nila Maharani.

In summing up, MVB Indonesia Chairman Alistair Speirs invited both companies and customers to be more aware of their roles in raising the standards of best business practices.

“Today’s consumers are smarter as they only want to use products that have social impacts. The companies joining MVB are not only making money but are also helping people. We all have to do this from the heart,” Alistair concluded.