Telapak: Creating Sustainability by Community Logging
- Shinya Nishina
- Yusaku Yamada
- My interest to Telapak has started 3 years ago. Meeting one of the leaders of the organization was one of the reasons why I choose Social Development and Welfare as my Master Study Program. It is amazing to know that one organization has a really good concept of business, community empowerment, and at the same time saving the earth from deforestation. It was an awesome experience for being able to meet my influencers and learn a lot more from them.
Indonesia has 94,430,000ha of forest area, which covers 50% of its total land. It is the 8th largest forest area all over the world. The country has also rich biodiversity and about 515 kinds of mammals are living in Indonesia. However, 1,210,000ha of forest has been lost per one year in Indonesia. Why it is gone so many of the forest? There are various reasons, and illegal logging is one of them. In Indonesia, 73% of logging is said to be illegal. Rich people invest to the company, and that company use local people to do the illegal logging. Illegal logging tends to clear out the forest, so it is not unsustainable. Because of this, the area of forest is decreasing. Many organization are trying to stop illegal logging. Some of you must have heard or seen the certification of FSC or PEFC. This mark is given by the third sector that proved the legal logging. Beside these, there is an organization that is trying to solve this problem from the unique perspective. That is Telapak, which solves social issues using business.
Telapak starts their activity in 1995. For example, they investigate the decrease of forest in Indonesia, do campaign through the media and do public advocacy. 300 members work in 19 territories they own in Indonesia. They start the new enterprise in 2002 and they are attacking illegal logging in their own unique way. This is “Community Logging”. Before introducing community logging, it needs to tell a little about the social business. Compared to the volunteer activity, social business solve the social issues through business. The advantage of social business is that it is sustainable. Of course, if the enterprise does not go well, it cannot solve the social issue, so it is hard to run the social business compared to the commercial company. Telapak is one of the social business that is trying to solve the forest issues through the business. Below is the explanation.
First, the current situation is illegal logging. It is the result from the clear-cutting of the company. The purpose of this is related to the plantation of palm oil and pulp, and the supply of cheap wood. For the plantation, it will need the factory to process the trees, which means more forest will be lost. In addition, low wage foreign workers take away the local people’s job. Even if their wage is cheap, they have no choice but to do illegal logging to make a living. In this unsustainable logging, local people become a victims.
With the business that Telepak does, the local people can gain enough money and at the same time, develop the forest in a more sustainable way. Local people cooperate each other and cut and plant the tree. Then they sell the tree to the company they invested. That company are owned by them, Telapak and private sector. Because the cooperation members cut the tree in the legal way, they are able to get the certification of FSC and sell the wood at good price. Furthermore, they can get dividends, so there are no incentive to do illegal logging. To get profit continuously, cooperation members have to develop the forest in a sustainable way. With the profit going directly to the local people, the development of forest becomes sustainable. This system is the ideal social business model.
Silverius Oscar Unggul, who works at Telapak, emphasizes “cooperation” as a key word for community logging. At first, local people do not accept their way of business so easily. In that case, Telapak enters the forest with the local people, and talks and listens with them in person. They tell them the benefit at that time. This business doesn’t force the local people to solve the problem, but cooperate with them to manage the forest. It cannot be forgotten that this business is a positive enterprise.
Find more their stories on:
Website : www.telapak.org
Facebook : Telapak
Twitter : @Telapak
YouTube : Telapak
Republic of Indonesia – global forest and the way of preserving – forest partnership platform. Retrieved August 24, 2016, from http://www.env.go.jp/nature/shinrin/fpp/worldforest/index4-2.html
Illegal logging and measures – forestry learning place. Retrieved August 24, 2016, from http://www.shinrin-ringyou.com/forest_world/ihou.php
Republic of Indonesia. Retrieved August 24, 2016,