Bringing goodness through innovations, healthy hydration and conserving our nature and the planet.
Continuing our collaborative partnerships, this issue is honoured to feature the newly-elected Chairwoman of EuroCham Indonesia and President Director of Danone Aqua Indonesia, Corine Tap. In our interview, Corine shares her vision on working with the pioneer of bottled water in Indonesia and her role in the business advocacy association EuroCham who represent and strengthen the voice of European business interests in Indonesia. Here is what she had to say.
AQUA have been the pioneers of the bottled water industry in Indonesia for over 45 years, offering healthy hydration to millions of Indonesians through a wide range of products. AQUA was also the first to introduce drinking water in reusable and recyclable jug/gallon packaging in 1983 and today is still Indonesia’s most preferred brand of bottled water.
The history of AQUA dates back to 1973 when Tirto Utomo established a company producing bottled water with AQUA as its first brand before going on to establish PT Golden Mississippi (GM) in 1973. In 1989, the name 'Golden Mississippi' became 'Aqua Golden Mississippi (AGM) and the first factory, located in Pondok Ungu, Bekasi, was built.
In 1998, the company established a partnership with the Danone Group, a multinational business entity based in Paris, France. This partnership was based on a shared vision and values between Danone’s founder, Antoine Riboud, and Tirto Utomo. They believed in the so-called “Dual Commitment”, finding a balance between business and social success. They believed that businesses must make social contributions and have a positive impact within the society in which it operates.
AQUA has continually striven to bring goodness to the community by innovating the way the company promotes water consumption while, at the same time, conserving nature and the planet, especially in this modern industrial era. To preserve that legacy, AQUA believes that business should be used as a force for good. Therefore, last year, Danone-AQUA became the first FMCG company in Indonesia to achieve a B Corp certification. With this certification, Danone-AQUA has also agreed to undertake various initiatives to meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance. This aligns with the Danone corporate vision “One Planet One Health”, which includes promoting sustainability of the planet and an aim to implement circularity in water, energy and packaging. Among the successful sustainability initiatives are water resource protection and conservation programs that includes planting more than 2.5 million trees. AQUA has developed a carbon footprint reduction program and uses renewable energy and pioneered the first recycling program called “AQUA Peduli” in 1993 as an initial step towards a more circular packaging model. The company are consistently growing and just last year launched the #BijakBerplastik movement for a cleaner Indonesia, supporting the Indonesian government goal to reduce marine debris.
“This is very personal for us and myself, there is no planet B, and if we want our children and their children to live healthy lives we must step up and use business as a force for good” Corine was at pains to stress. Therefore, it is essential to have strategies and a breakthrough, to encourage people towards a better lifestyle and choice, as consumers are searching for options that are healthier for them and their families. People are reinventing how to eat, drink and socialize. They want to know where the product they consumed comes from, how it was grown, how it arrived and how it impacts health and the health of the planet. The health of people and the health of the planet are interconnected. “Gen Z is not accepting marketing stories so easily anymore, they trust companies and brands based on what they do, not what they say.” In this context the company is committed to ensure the highest quality in food safety standards. “We also stand for sustainable source and operations. Supported by strong innovation capabilities, we believe these are key fundamentals to create superior food experiences for people, as this will remain the first driver of healthier and more sustainable choices.”
The #BijakBerplastik movement, and AQUALIFE - the first water bottle in Indonesia made of 100 percent recycled plastic are just two of the innovative breakthroughs shown by the company who, at the same time, are trying to align and be relevant with daily consumers’ lifestyles through collaboration, for example, in the AQUA Reflections ‘Reflections of You’ campaign. This campaign hopes to build a collaboration as part of an appreciation for inspirational figures in fashion and lifestyle such as Eko Nugroho, Tex Saverio, and Sebastian Gunawan. “We also always strive to expand our product portfolio, for example by developing AQUA on the go for people with active daily lives, AQUA kids, and other products.”
Corine was recently elected Chair of EuroCham Indonesia and Danone is a long time member of this group. In this role, Corine is aiming for better cooperation and collaboration among stakeholders from Europe and Indonesia. “We hope that we could further pave the way for better investment climate that creates a positive and sustainable impact on the Indonesian economic condition while creating values to our shareholders.”
Based on her professional experience and the various initiatives that have been carried out by Danone and AQUA so far, Corine sees opportunities to contribute and share best practices by developing joint cooperation programs on three main issues; plastic waste management; WASH (water access, sanitation, and conservation); and health and nutrition. “Together with EuroCham Indonesia, we hope we could expand the program coverage and bring a greater positive impact. We are consistently encouraging other members of EuroCham Indonesia to contribute more on sustainability programs because we understand that many corporate members have the know-how and technology that Indonesia needs which can bring mutual benefits to both parties. We launched last year the sustainable development working group and will soon launch the first EuroCham sustainable business report for Indonesia.”
These actions will hopefully inspire and motivate members and non-members to support global policies as well as the Indonesian government SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). Recently, Danone-AQUA along with companies incorporated in EuroCham Indonesia began developing a working group related to the achievement of these SDGs. This will give further opportunities for EuroCham to foster relationships with Indonesia, particularly in the trade and investment sectors.