Held on 21 Feb 2020, the historic occasion in Pangkalan Kerinci saw the esteemed President sign a plaque, in addition to performing a symbolic sealing and flagging off an export container carrying 10,190 tonnes of viscose rayon fibre for shipment to Turkey – one of many markets that include 14 other countries with key textile centres, such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Brazil, and various parts of Europe.
A Nation’s Boost: Indonesia’s Largest Integrated Viscose Producer
An investment worth IDR 15 trillion (USD 1.1 billion), Asia Pacific Rayon’s facility is co-located with pulp and paper producer APRIL Group’s operations in Pangkalan Kerinci, Riau, Sumatra. This allows APRIL’s renewable plantation pulp to directly feed APR’s viscose rayon production.
Speaking at the inauguration, President Widodo welcomed APR’s investment in the development of the national textile industry. He said the role of the private sector was influential in driving economic growth, alongside the stimulus provided by the Government, adding that “our garment industry should be greater than Vietnam. We already have our own raw materials here, such as viscose rayon, to support the industry.”
APR’s inauguration presents an opportunity for value-added products like viscose rayon to be created in Indonesia. This will help reduce the nation’s dependence on textile raw material imports. The first viscose rayon manufacturer in Indonesia to receive STeP certification from OEKO-TEX®, APR is estimated to generate foreign exchange revenues exceeding IDR 1.77 trillion (USD 130 million) annually, while reducing dependence on imported raw materials by about IDR 2.01 trillion (USD 149 million) annually.
Flying the #EverythingIndonesia banner, APR’s made-in-Indonesia viscose production will also provide a biodegradable alternative to the resource-intensive, wasteful and waste-generating fast fashion model. Minister for Industry Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita said, “By optimising the availability and use of raw materials originating from Indonesia, we can boost the performance of our textile sector. This is just one of several steps we are taking to continue to improve the performance and competitiveness of the labour-intensive industry.”
In his speech, President Widodo, also affectionately known as “Jokowi”, paid tribute to RGE Director Anderson Tanoto and lauded the efforts and potential contribution of APR to the nation’s economic growth. President Jokowi addressed hundreds of APR and APRIL Group’s Indonesia operations PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (PT RAPP) employees and warmly welcomed the investment made by APR in the Pelalawan Regency.
President Jokowi presides over APR’s inauguration with RGE Chairman Sukanto Tanoto and RGE Director Anderson Tanoto.
There have been significant strides and investments made by the RGE group of companies towards enhancing their positions in efficient and responsible manufacturing. RGE announced on 15 Oct 2019 a 10-year USD 200 million investment in cellulosic textile fibre research and development, 70% of which would go into scaling proven clean technology in fibre manufacturing.
RGE Director Anderson Tanoto also spoke at the ceremony, expressing his gratitude to the President for inaugurating APR. He highlighted that APR had created 1,200 job opportunities and brought in an annual USD 130 million in export revenue, reducing Indonesia’s reliance on imported textile raw materials. Mr Tanoto added that APR’s capacity would also expand to 600,000 tonnes.
APR’s Other Contribution And Milestones
In addition to its Follow Our Fibre blockchain project launched mid-2019 and TrusTrace partnership in October 2019, APR will be contributing to Phase 2 of a blockchain initiative that provides visualisation of supply chain data from multiple sources and companies. This is done is collaboration with the World Economic Forum, Everledger, Lenzing Group, TextileGenesis, and the International Trade Centre.
In its mission to revitalise the national textile industry and raise awareness on sustainable fashion, APR’s contribution also extends beyond the economic, but also to fashion. The producer of biodegradable viscose rayon is a key supporter and sponsor of Muffest, the Muslim Fashion Festival, which seeks to build on Indonesia’s position as world’s third largest consumer of Muslim Fashion. APR’s role in increasing exports will help position Indonesia as the world’s centre for modest fashion.
Received by RGE Chairman Sukanto Tanoto and his wife Tinah Bingei Tanoto, as well as RGE Director Anderson Tanoto, the President marvelled at the APRIL’s large nursery and state-of-the-art tissue culture facility, as well as the fact that fabric could be derived from trees. He highlighted the world-class technologies available in the operations in Pelalawan Regency in Riau and that the home-grown and developed raw materials would add to the nation’s competitive advantage.
APR’s inauguration marks a major milestone in RGE companies’ pursuit of creating value for the community, country, climate, customer and company. It was only less than three decades ago when APRIL first started operations in Pangkalan Kerinci, which soon grew, prospered and transformed from a humble 200-household community to a bustling town of over 100,000 residents.
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