APRIL Group Launches Long Term Sustainability Commitments, in Line with UNSDGs

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Singhavi : Our APRIL2030 strategy has four commitment areas, 18 targets and 35 indicators

Praveen Singhavi, President, APRILGroup,talks about the company’s APRIL2030 commitments, in conversation with Venkat Raghavan

 

In November 2020, APRIL Group, a leading global producer of sustainable fiber and bio-based products, announced a set of progressive targets to 2030 that will have a positive impact on climate, nature and people while transforming its business.

 

Supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)  in Indonesia, APRIL2030 will drive inclusive progress in Indonesia’s developing economy through transformative initiatives in livelihoods, education, healthcare and championing equal opportunity for women. The company has also committed to embracing circularity in its business and the use of recycled textiles as an alternative fiber source.

 

Why are you announcing your APRIL2030 commitments at this time?

We started this process in early 2019. Responding to the pandemic has taken our time and focus understandably, as we needed to secure the health and safety of our employees and our communities. While Covid-19 remains a global concern, we also need to keep a long-term view. In addition, a strong recovery from the pandemic can only be founded on even bolder investments in nature, climate and sustainable development.

 

How did you arrive at your targets?

We started with the recognition of the global imperatives for achieving the APRIL2030 development agenda, meeting climate targets of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees C, and supporting the call for greater protection for nature. These were the bases for the key commitment pillars: Climate Positive, Thriving Landscapes, Inclusive Progress, and Sustainable Growth.

 

We then reviewed industry benchmarks and discussed very closely with our management team so we could define the level of ambition for the targets. These targets need to be on par or better with global and national ambitions, are stretched and challenging for our company, while also achievable. Finally, we conferred with our advisors and key stakeholders for their inputs.

 

Once the targets were set, we then identified the key metrics and established the baselines using 2019 data for assurance by KPMG PRI. All in all, we have four commitment pillars, 18 targets and 35 indicators.

 

Are your APRIL2030 commitments aligned with the goals of the Indonesian Government?

APRIL2030 aims to support the Indonesian government in achieving its climate, biodiversity conservation and development goals. Given our operational presence, our support will be mainly through implementation on the ground at the district and village levels.

 

How do APRIL’s targets align with the SDGs?

APRIL2030 supports the achievement of the SDGs at the national level in Indonesia and more importantly at the village level in the province of Riau. Since 2018, we have been working with PwC Singapore on a process to identify our priority SDGs and have selected three as Core (SDGs 12, 13, 15) and four as Catalytic (SDGs 3, 4, 6, and 17) priorities.

 

We identified Responsible Production and Consumption (Goal 12), Climate Action (Goal 13) and Life on Land (Goal 15) as Core Goals, or those that have the strongest alignment to our operations and sustainability commitments and where we can continue to have the greatest impact at local, national and International levels.

 

These are supported by what we call Catalytic Goals, through which we can have an exponential impact on surrounding communities. These are Good Health and Wellbeing (Goal 3), Quality of Education (Goal 4), Clean Water and Sanitation (Goal 6), and Partnerships for the Goals (Goal 17).

 

The alignment of our targets against relevant SDG targets is presented here: https://april2030.aprilasia.com/alignment-sdgs/

 

Does APRIL2030 replace SFMP 2.0?

APRIL2030 builds on our Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP) 2.0 and on the progress made in its implementation over the last five years. We will continue to adhere to these commitments, with our performance reviewed and reported on by the Stakeholder Advisory Committee and an independent assurance party.

 

How is APRIL establishing baselines for your targets?

For each of the 18 targets under the four commitment pillars, we have defined performance indicators, resulting in 35 performance metrics for the whole of APRIL2030. In order to measure the progress against the targets, we have established the baseline for most of the indicators using 2019 data. These baselines have been independently verified by KPMG PRI Canada

 

We’ve all seen companies set ambitious targets and then some fail to meet them. As President of APRIL Group, what gives you confidence you’ll be able to meet these targets on the ground?

APRIL2030 is really differentiated because we have already taken concrete initiatives to implement our commitments even before the vision is announced. For example: our Tropical Peatland Science Hub is in place; we are in advanced discussion with Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) on cooperation on wildlife protection; and we will begin generating energy from solar power. In addition, other discussions are ongoing with other partners on conservation and restoration.

 

There are three things that give me confidence and should give our stakeholders confidence too.

Firstly, we have an audited and verified track record of making commitments and delivering on the ground through our SFMP commitments. For example, we’ve demonstrated, especially over the last five years, our commitments to no deforestation and no new development on forested peatland.

 

Secondly, as a privately owned company, it is much easier for us to deploy resources, funding, expertise and innovation that will bring these commitments to reality

 

Thirdly, we recognise we cannot get there completely on our own. So we are working hard to cooperate with outside expertise, for example with WCS and Fauna and Flora International. We will also be part of important global conversations in the area of sustainability

 

As President of APRIL, I can tell you achieving these goals is absolutely fundamental to our business success and sustainability is an integral part of our business strategy.

 

Who is responsible for achieving these targets? Where does accountability lie within the company?

APRIL2030 is owned at all levels of APRIL. It is about the personal commitment and passion of our management team and thousands of APRIL employees who want to be part of a company that’s working to make a difference. It is really a company-wide commitment where every one of us has a role to play.

 

Each commitment pillar has a Champion who is a senior member of management and each Champion has formed working groups for the key targets. These working groups have developed action plans that will be part of the operational and management plan starting in 2021. This means APRIL2030 targets will already be embedded in the individual KPIs and in the regular monitoring and reporting done within our company.

 

Our company culture is very much focused on action on the ground. We have learnt over many years that action on the ground counts much more than just making bold statements

 

What is your plan to achieve your mill emissions reduction targets?

We will reduce our product carbon emissions by using more biomass and cleaner fuel and reducing energy consumption per tonne of product manufactured. We are targeting 90% of mill energy from renewable and clean energy sources.

 

We will source 50% of our fiber operations energy needs from renewables and cleaner energy sources. We are already implementing B30 diesel, which is 30% biomass, and we are converting some of our log transport trucks to natural gas engines as a test towards a lower emission future.

Achieving our mill emission targets involves using a higher percentage of biomass and reducing the mill’s energy needs to become more efficient.

 

Is APRIL2030 binding on long-term and short-term or open market suppliers?

APRIL2030 covers our own operations and our supply partners. We will also engage our entire value chain in support of our 2030 targets, and we hope to encourage and influence others to pursue the same level of ambition.

 

Why haven’t you addressed the fire prevention in your APRIL2030 targets?

Fire prevention and management is already embedded in our operations. Our Fire Free Village Program has proven its effectiveness over the past five years and continues to be scaled through the Fire Free Alliance. With this operational infrastructure firmly in place, we can focus on other areas of importance through APRIL2030.

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