Success Story – Mohammad Bijaksana Junerosano, founder of Greeneration Foundation

Mr. Junerosano is founder of Greeneration Foundation (or Yayasan Greeneration Indonesia), an environmental NGO focusing on sustainable consumption and production in Indonesia. Greeneration Foundation joined ACTAsia’s Compassionate Choices Network in 2023.

When asked how Greeneration Foundation came into being, Mr. Junerosano has a simple response: divine inspiration. 

Around two decades ago, as he was contemplating what to study after high school, Mr. Junerosano turned to prayer for guidance. “Because I’m Muslim,” he said, “I asked in my prayers: ‘where is my future?’” 

“After that, I turned on the television and there was news about waste in Jakarta. Something inside me thought, this is the clue from my prayers.” Mr. Junerosano then discovered there was a waste management and environmental engineering degree course at university, and promptly enrolled. “Since then, my life has been all about environmental sustainability … I want to be part of the solution and create harmony between the environment, society and the economy.” he said.

Raising awareness through ACTAsia’s Compassionate Choices Network

Partnerships have been a significant driver of Greeneration Foundation’s growth since its was founded in 2006. Last year, ACTAsia invited Greeneration Foundation to join the Compassionate Choices Network (CCN), which focuses on issues affecting animals, people and the environment and brings together selected Asian non-governmental organisations to promote a shift in behaviour patterns amongst consumers in Asia

Thanks to the CCN’s Plant Forward campaign, which highlights initiatives to promote plant-based diets, Greeneration Foundation created Zero Food Waste, a social media campaign to raise awareness of food waste issues in Indonesia. The partnership highlights CCN’s focus on strong localised partnerships where aligning cultural preferences are core to the network. Joining ACTAsia’s Compassionate Choices Network allowed Greeneration Foundation to collaborate with 10 CCN member organisations spanning nine Asian countries last year, as well as benefit from the Plant Forward recipe book.  

Greeneration created the Zero Food Waste campaign for ACTAsia’s Compassionate Choices Network & the Plant Forward initiative

Collaboration as a key to growth  

“I believe collaboration is the key because we cannot solve it alone. It’s a complex problem,” Mr. Junerosano said.

“Food waste issues in Indonesia are a big problem, because as an agricultural society, an agribusiness country, we are producing food, and also a lot of food loss and food waste,” Mr. Junerosano said. 

This year, Greeneration Foundation plans to continue running a social media campaign to spread awareness of plant-based diets and the issue of food waste, in partnership with the CCN and Plant Forward. One challenge, however, remains the public perception in Indonesia that plant-based diets are exclusively for higher-income classes. 

“The challenge is, Indonesia’s GDP per capita is 4000 US dollars .. so a [large part] of society in Indonesia is still at poverty level. Talking about plant-based diets, sometimes the perception of this kind of campaign is very exclusive and they think that this is a [middle-class] campaign.” 

On the contrary, Mr. Junerosano says – Indonesia has a long and rich local tradition of plant-based eating, accessible to everyone. Joining Plant Forward gave Greeneration Foundation the opportunity to showcase local plant-based wisdom and share them with the wider public.

“Before we had this kind of fancy term, ‘plant-based diet’ … people in Indonesia already had an original plant-based diet. It’s local wisdom,” he said, noting that Indonesia’s government continues to promote meat consumption, trying to bring it on a par with Western countries.  

“Collaboration is the key, because we can’t solve it alone.”says founder Mr Junerosano

From strength to strength

Since its foundation in 2006, Greeneration Foundation has acted as a catalyst in Indonesia’s environmental ecosystem, driving community empowerment, educational activities and collaborations. Greeneration Foundation also creates multi-stakeholder partnerships with government agencies, the private sector, NGOs and civil society organisations, academics, the media, as well as individuals such as students and homemakers. The NGO focuses mainly on river waste management, reducing food waste and single-use plastic, sustainable tourism and circular economy training. 

Notable milestones include Greeneration’s Zero Waste movement, which every year brings together leaders in every city to discuss the challenges facing a Zero Waste future. 

Since 2016, Greeneration Foundation has also been a leading proponent of the circular economy, and has brought together advocates and stakeholders and ultimately led Indonesia’s government to embrace the concept. Similarly, Greeneration Foundation’s River Plastic Pollution Initiative has also received much attention for its efforts to combat river plastic pollution. 

River waste management
Greeneration Foundation focuses on river waste management, reducing food waste and single-use plastic, sustainable tourism and circular economy training

Nevertheless, rapid growth means that Greeneration Foundation has an increasing need for sustainable funding, Mr. Junerosano said.

“We already feel [that] as an organisation without sustainable financing, it’s pretty hard to continue,” he said. Greeneration Foundation’s funding comes from a range of sources, including international development agencies, local philanthropists and the private sector, as well as Indonesia’s government. However, Mr. Junerosano is trying to increase funding from individual donors by convincing at least 4% of Indonesia’s population to donate to them every month. Greeneration Foundation also launched a green fund digital philanthropy initiative in 2022, to support many programmes in Indonesia through the NGO’s environmental partnerships.

“There are a lot of initiatives, a lot of key players, a lot of activities, a lot of change makers, technology and innovation,” Mr. Junerosano said. “But what we are lacking is the resources – how to finance the idea, replicate it, and then make sure that the speed of the solution is faster than the speed of the problem.”

Envionment restoration through education
Greeneration Foundation creates environment restoration programmes

Looking ahead 

When asked about the future, Mr. Junerosano strikes a positive note.

“I’m also only a human being who has emotions and gets exhausted,” he admits. During difficult moments, however, he leans on his belief that success lies in taking positive action, no matter the outcome.

“If activists like us focus only on success, we will be very disappointed, we will be very exhausted. So I just focus on what I have in my hands. I just plan, and be positive about it. I think that’s what makes me keep going.” 

Greeneration Foundation’s programmes are based on education, community empowerment, and strategic engagement