APRIL is renown amongst customers and suppliers as one of the world’s leading pulp and paper players—one that leverages on technology and innovation to continually improve its operations. What most consumers rarely see, however, is the process by which trees are cultivated from seedlings to paper, the entire spectrum of community development programmes that APRIL provides to its workforce, their families, and the villages surrounding its operations. On a bright and breezy June morning, a group of volunteers and youths from the Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS) and Yale-NUS got to see just that and more, when they visited Pangkalan Kerinci, the heart of APRIL’s operations in Riau, Indonesia.
The natural resource-rich hinterlands and expansive plantations— sights unfamiliar to most Singaporeans—provided the perfect starting point from which to learn about the fascinating world of forestry.
The visitors—all of whom were avid enthusiasts of the environment—started their visit at RGE's technology centre, a world-class research facility symbolic of APRIL’s commitment to sustainable growth through science. Here, the youths were brought on a tour of the company’s history, and were provided with a primer on the paper-making process from start to finish.
A showcase by APRIL’s resident fire expert Craig Tribolet on how the company is changing its approach to fire management today, from combating fire to preventing fire, through the Fire Free Village Programme, as well as a candid discussion on some of the challenges faced provided much food for thought, while a demonstration by APRIL's highly-skilled fire fighting team showcased just a sliver of the courage the men had in facing down fire under the most challenging conditions.
Other highlights of the tour included a visit to Kerinci Central Nursery and APRIL’s paper mill. At the nursery, the visitors witnessed first-hand the vast amounts of resources and research invested into producing high-yielding seedlings and sustainable growing methods. At the mill, the visitors gasped in awe at the immensity of APRIL’s paper operations.
The day trip was not just confined to APRIL’s business operations either. Our guests were also hosted by student leaders from the APRIL-supported Sekolah Mutiara Harapan—Sumatra’s third International Baccalaureate academy—and brought to APRIL’s community development centre, which supports members of the community with skills that improve their livelihoods.
“Seeing the entire process, the amount of effort, technique, and science that goes into making the paper is really quite interesting. As consumers, we rarely think about how things are made, but to see the effort that a company such as APRIL has made to run its operations in a sustainable manner and to include the community in its growth, is encouraging” Mayshan Mashita, Assistant Manager at GCNS.