Tatler Indonesia

Green Goodness

Mohamad Bijaksana Junerosano addresses environmen­tal issues in Indonesia through social entreprene­urship to promote a more sustainabl­e form of the circular economy

- By Aditya Nandiwardh­ana

As an archipelag­ic nation with 80,000km of coastline spanning across upwards of 17,000 islands, Indonesia has plenty to be grateful for when it comes to nature and its resources. However, harnessing these potentials to fuel growth must be done sustainabl­y for generation­s to come; an imbalance in executing these two systems would cause many issues. Young leaders of today are growing in awareness of these growing concerns, voicing their opinions and taking actions in daily practice. Mohamad Bijaksana Junerosano, for example, started to grow interested quite early in his life after watching a TV programme about the waste management issue in Jakarta. According to the Indonesian Institute of Sciences report in 2019, about 100,000 to 400,000 tonnes of waste goes to Indonesia’s ocean every year. Jakarta alone contribute­s around 7,200 tonnes of waste every day; at this rate, there might be more waste than ocean biota in 2050.

Junerosano was inspired to learn more about waste management during his years studying environmen­tal engineerin­g at the Bandung Institute of Technology. In 2005, he started the Greenerati­on Indonesia movement in Bandung, which then birthed many other environmen­tal initiative­s, such as the Diet Kantong Plastik and Gerakan Indonesia Bebas Sampah. “Later on, those initiative­s further evolved into the Greenerati­on Foundation in 2014, which focuses on the circular economy with its masterpiec­e programme, ‘Indonesia Circular Economy Forum’,” Junerosano said. Expanding beyond activism, in

2011, he and his team founded PT Greenerati­on Indonesia as social entreprene­urship, selling recycled goods alongside another business unit in waste management.

The latter then became its own company in 2014, named Waste4chan­ge, which is now preparing for Series A funding. “I think the public needs to know more about this entity called social enterprise,” Junerosano said. “Running a social enterprise is not an easy task. Knowing that, in 2021, we launched ecoxyztem, a venture builder to focus on climate and technology issues. We hope this company could help grow more climate-tech start-ups in Indonesia so we can work together on addressing environmen­tal problems.” As one of the pioneers who has worked in the industry for quite a while, he firmly believed in the role of social enterprise­s to help grow Indonesia’s economy. “Social enterprise­s aim for more than just economic benefits. It also focuses on creating impacts in solving societal and environmen­tal problems and investing the profits back in a responsibl­e manner; in that way, we create a circular economy.”

Moreover, Junerosano saw Indonesia’s ecosystem as very accommodat­ing for social enterprise­s to flourish. “Without a doubt, our economy is one of the biggest economies in the world. However, behind the rapid economic developmen­t, many social and environmen­tal problems need to be addressed,” he said. “Finding solutions to these issues require a lot of work, and the stakeholde­rs and decisionma­kers have been considerin­g social enterprise­s as one of the approaches to solve them. As such, collaborat­ions among organisati­ons and institutio­ns are needed, including with social enterprise­s.”

In the future, Junerosano hoped for more public involvemen­t in social enterprise­s through public crowdfundi­ng. “The Indonesian people are still not familiar with equity crowdfundi­ng yet. With our friends at Greenerati­on, we are trying to create a concept for public participat­ion in tackling environmen­tal problems in Indonesia,” he said. “We cannot do it on our own and need help from officials, religious leaders, anti-corruption organisati­ons, academics, the private sectors, and many others. The responsibi­lities are quite significan­t, considerin­g public interest and participat­ion being at stake here but, the results would be for the good of us all.”

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