Indonesia: An island nation of superlatives

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Indonesia has the world’s fourth-largest population—almost 270 million, and growing rapidly. This country, which is characterized by its many volcanoes, encompasses more than 17,000 islands and has the highest biodiversity worldwide. Some insights into the world’s biggest island nation and its path to the future



Between rain forests and the open ocean: Indonesia’s natural environment is characterized by a humid climate, extensive mountains, and the ever-present Indian Ocean. Idyllic beaches such as this one on the island of Lombok are normally popular tourist destinations—but this year’s restrictions on travel mean they are populated exclusively by locals. Evonik has operated in Indonesia for more than 20 years. Through its sustainable products and solutions, the company wants to help maintain a balance between the rising consumer demands of the country’s growing population and its sensitive ecosystems.

Traditions and rituals are fixed components of the multifaceted cultures of Indonesia. One example is the Legong dance on the island of Bali. At the moment the opportunities to stage such performances have been greatly limited by the pandemic—but the hope remains that they can soon be resumed. Under normal conditions, the dancers perform in venerable temples and palaces, decked in colorful costumes and elaborate makeup. Even robust cosmetics like these can be removed with products that are gentle to the skin. Evonik produces high-quality surfactants for applications such as skin cleansers right here in Indonesia, at the plant in Bekasi near the country’s capital, Jakarta.

How to safeguard reliable, sustainable, and affordable nutrition for Indonesia’s rapidly growing population? A strong agricultural sector is necessary in order to supply food for all of the 300 million people who are expected to be living in Indonesia in 2030. Indonesia has more Muslims than any other country on earth. One reason why chicken farming is very important in Indonesia is that its Muslim inhabitants do not eat pork. In poultry barns like this one in Sukabumi, great care is taken to keep the birds healthy. It’s essential to provide the chickens with good nutrition. For example, amino acids from Evonik help them optimally metabolize their feed. As a result, less protein has to be added to the feed. In this way, Evonik products and expertise in precision livestock farming help to considerably reduce the ecological footprint of feed production.

In the Mitsubishi production hall in Cikarang, workers assemble vehicles that will soon transport people from A to B, even at the outer edges of this island nation. For international automakers, Indonesia is not only a production location but also an interesting consumer market. In megacities that are struggling with severe air pollution, such as Jakarta, electric vehicles could be a major source of relief in the future. The heart of an electric vehicle is its battery. Metal oxides from Evonik make batteries more efficient, longer-lasting, and safer because they help to prevent short circuits.

A sea of brightly colored containers: The harbor of Jakarta, Tanjung Priok Port, is a hub for the shipping trade. About half of Indonesia’s cargo handling takes place here. A new terminal covering 32 hectares was built for the harbor in 2016. The terminal’s warehouses are protected from the weather with Protectosil® BHN from Evonik. This product offers many advantages: Even under tropical climatic conditions, it prevents water from penetrating concrete and offers optimal protection from corrosion. However, a huge problem still remains: The entire city of Jakarta has been subsiding for years.


Evonik’s predecessor companies established footholds in Indonesia over 20 years ago. Since then, high-quality surfactants and esters for manufacturers of household cleansers and body care products have been produced in Bekasi. The plant was expanded in 2013. Evonik also operates a sales office in Jakarta, the capital, and a production plant in Cikarang, where it produces hydrogen peroxide for the cellulose, paper, and textile industry. Cikarang and Bekasi are both located in the Jakarta metropolitan region.



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photos: iStockphoto, Cedric Arnold / laif, AFP via Getty Images, Bloomberg via Getty Images, Overview source imagery: Maxar Technologies


11th February 2021

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