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On 24 September 2018, the United Nations Global Compact announced ten SDG Pioneers for 2018. Each year, the UN Global Compact celebrates a group of SDG Pioneers — individuals from around the world as who are championing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through their own companies and inspiring others to join the movement. Among the SDG Pioneers selected this year is Dr. (H.C.) Martha Tilaar, founder and Chairman of PT Martina Berto Tbk. from Indonesia.

Hundreds of nominations were received from diverse regions of the world, from which ten finalists were selected through a rigorous committee, exemplifying how business can be a force for good in addressing the challenges we face as a global society. The SDG Pioneers will be recognized during the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2018 on 24 September at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York.

“These ten outstanding individuals are demonstrating how business can unlock economic, social and environmental gains for the world by advancing the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. “Showcasing the pioneering actions and progress of these leaders will help mobilize others in this exciting movement to create the world we all want.”

As a local network of UN Global Compact, Global Compact Network Indonesia (IGCN) is very delightful to have the first SDG Pioneer from Indonesia. It was a remarkable momentum for Indonesia to finally have someone from business to be recognized for their effort in making a sustainable future. Dr. (H.C.) Martha Tilaar deserves the recognition for helping thousands of women for decades to be financially sustain, and to protect them from human trafficking ring. “We hope her recognition will inspire other members to share their stories to the world on how they contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while also contributing to business the success of their business.” said Y.W. Junardy, IGCN's President.

With an ever-growing cosmetic and traditional herb company that H.C. Martha Tilaar built namely PT Martina Berto Tbk., she has empowered women through her business where thousands of women were taught to gain their skills, hence prevented them from being an object of human trafficking that often disguised as job opportunity provider. This effort has changed many of these women’s life through job and business creation for them. She is also introduced Indonesia’s traditional herb to the international market through her products that are used for women and a green field called Kampoeng Djamoe Organik (Organic Herbal Village), as her effort to preserve the medical & cosmetic herbs organically.

The women empowerment program has been their strong commitment since the beginning in building the company due to negative issues of women trafficking in Indonesia. She believes that by giving more skill through education to Indonesian women and involving them in their business line, she can contribute in reducing women trafficking as well as rising gender equality in the community. Currently, she employs more women in her companies (about 70%), producing herbal products and cosmetics with the tagline “beautifying Indonesian women – Inner and outer Beauty”.

In implementing women empowerment program, she set up Training Center for Spa therapist with the concept of full scholarship including stays, allowance, and free training for 3-6 months for young women 

from the low-income family in the villages. They trained these women to have special skills in beauty such manicure pedicure, meditation, hospitality, maintaining inner and outer beauty, etc. Currently they have trained more than 6,000 Indonesian women and now become skilled women working in and out of the country and some of them being entrepreneurs setting up their own business in beauty services.


“I believe that we shouldn't ignore the power of indigenous women. To this day, I still see women with great ability haven't gotten a chance to fully realize their potentials. To accelerate Global Goals, we need to have more women to be involved in every aspect of life.” Says Dr. (H.C.) Martha Tilaar

The world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, the UN Global Compact calls on companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals. In Indonesia, over seventy-seven companies and non-business organization have joined the initiative, and the Global Compact Network Indonesia has supported their efforts to advance sustainable business practices since 2006

Watch the recorded broadcast of SDG Pioneers Remark