Villagers from Simpang Kopi, Nagori Bandar Tinggi, and Nagori Bandar Rejo, now have greater peace of mind knowing they have access to their nearest hospital, which is located 30 minutes away. Thanks to UD Lestari, an RSPO certified smallholder group in the Batubara district of North Sumatra, who has invested in four ambulances through the allocation of their profits and donations, as well as the sale of RSPO Credits.

Supported by Unilever, UD Lestari is the pioneer of RSPO certification in the region. They have been members of RSPO since 2017 but had a tough time recruiting members in the early stages of their sustainability journey. 

“There was little knowledge of sustainable oil palm practices, on RSPO, and the subsequent benefits of certification amongst the local independent smallholder groups,” said UD Lestari Group Manager, Jumadi. 

To kick-start their awareness efforts, they adopted a door-to-door approach and met with UD Lestari that consisted of 63 independent smallholders who collectively managed 207 hectares. Their stories have since inspired the older members of the group who didn’t want to join the programme initially, and are now in the process of expanding their group membership tenfold – adding an additional 603 members. 

"It’s challenging to manage the spike!" said Jumadi. Nevertheless, they are fortunate to receive assistance from FORTASBI (Forum for Sustainable Oil Palm Smallholders Indonesia), who is also funded by Unilever, as a group facilitator. 

Today, Jumadi has become an RSPO ambassador who speaks about sustainability in a way that the smallholders in this region can best relate. In its second phase, the door-to-door approach aims to include the local government’s support in helping the smallholders to meet legality documentation as mandated by the RSPO Independent Smallholder (ISH) Standard.

Jumadi also noted other positive changes in the smallholders since becoming certified, stating that the group provides regular health checks to their members as part of their protection programme for their spray workers. Furthermore, the group also ensured that pregnant or breastfeeding women do not conduct any spraying activities. 

Discover more about RSPO Independent Smallholder Credits here

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