Pacto’s local commitment

Discover how the travel pioneer is putting its best foot forward to give back, by leading community initiatives in the locations it is in

Pacto employees are encouraged to support the company’s community work

Having grown along with Indonesia’s tourism development since the formation of Pacto in 1967, the tourism and events specialist has witnessed the impact travel and tourism has had on the environment.

What struck Raty Ning, vice president director, Pacto Convex – a division of the bigger Pacto group, in particular, was seeing waste accumulate in the ocean, rivers and landfills as the destination grew in popularity.

Pacto employees are encouraged to support the company’s community work

And Raty wanted Pacto to be part of the solution. To combat this, the group began laying out its priorities. This eventually led to the company embarking on a plastic bottle-free initiative, and setting up a conservation project this year to give back to the community.
“In the last few years, each branch office (across the Pacto group) has actively carried out activities such as cleaning up the beach and tourist destinations. This year, we want to do something bigger and more comprehensive,” explained Raty.

The year’s project will be centred on Rote Ndao, a regency in the emerging Indonesian destination of East Nusa Tenggara province.

To maximise the benefits of the sea for humans while maintaining healthy marine habitats, Pacto decided to collaborate with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a global non-profit that takes a scientific approach to the conservation of sensitive ecosystems and threatened species.

“We are not experts in this area. It is better to work with institutions that have such expertise, such as TNC,” Raty explained.

TNC will provide training for Rote Ndao’s seaweed farmers on environmentally-friendly and sustainable methods of planting seaweed.

Following that, Pacto intends to set up a conservation kiosk. Women on the island will be trained at the kiosk to process the seaweed and make products such as soap, gelatin, lotions, syrup and candied seaweed.

Through incorporating seaweed processing innovations, it is expected that the initiative will be able to open up opportunities for the women to enhance their skill set and empower them with independence.

The women will also be given training in product processing, promotion and marketing. The kiosk will then be transformed into a cooperative.

“These initiatives are just the beginning,” commented Raty, who revealed that the ultimate goal is to help the communities be independent.

Recognising that conservation is a long-term commitment which requires heavy financial investment, Raty is also considering getting the Pacto family and the tourism industry at large involved in the project.

“Currently, we are setting aside a part of the company’s profits for this project. Eventually, we might raise funds from the industry to open more kiosks in other places, such as in Wakatobi (in Sulawesi Tenggara province),” shared Raty.

The company will start by encouraging Pacto’s staff, friends and families to join before approaching others. In fact, Pacto’s push for sustainability seems to have motivated employees to do likewise.

“I always tell my staff that when we gain our business from Indonesia, we must give back to the country, particularly to areas where visitors are drawn by natural beauty.
“A question comes to mind: how do we give back? First, we need to consider the community – the people who live there. Next, we should raise awareness of the need to preserve nature,” said Raty.

To ensure the relevance of its efforts, Pacto is tailoring its sustainability projects to the conditions of the region.

For instance, one of Pacto branches has taken to planting seedlings along the coast of North Jakarta.

Besides ensuring that Pacto branches become an integral part of the local community, these projects also provide a platform to bring locals together in meaningful ways.
Raty expressed that her priority is to achieve long-term impact – sustainabilty efforts today myst reap pay-offs down the road.

Her corporate sustainability beliefs are extended into her personal life; she takes public transportation whenever possible, carries a tumbler, and brings along a reusable bag during her grocery runs.

“Seeing what we have done to improve the lives of others is priceless. Even if we do something small, we can create a positive impact for people in the village,” she concluded.

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