"Change is now coming from Asia. Don't be arrogant. Reach out to Asia" - Erik Solheim. The themes of scale, change and dialogue were a common thread that ran through...
It started from an RGE Townhall in Jakarta in March 2019, where APRIL’s sustainability professionals raised the issue of single-use plastics and its adverse impact on the environment. The session saw the collaborative contribution of ideas by employees of different business groups, skills and portfolios.
This ground-up design and brainstorm later developed into a campaign called “The Plastic-Free Challenge”. Launched by the sustainability team to drive awareness, activation and behavioural change among colleagues across RGE companies situated in Jakarta, the Challenge was well-received and later extended to Apical’s office in Marunda.
More than half of the participants pledged to cut their use of plastics by half or more. Participants had to monitor their daily consumption of single-use plastics in the first week, and set self-determined reduction targets for the second.
Many activities and initiatives were organised to support and empower Plastic-Free Challenge participants to meaningfully achieve their goals. A series of videos was created in-house and published on the YouTube and social channels of RGE business groups APRIL, APR and Asian Agri, and philanthropic organisation Tanoto Foundation.
Reusable lunchboxes were given to participants as replacements for take-away boxes and bags. This targets what has been identified as the most prevalent waste stream for office workers.
Peer-sharing sessions were held in the second week to help participants overcome the challenges to reducing their daily plastic consumption. In addition to the sessions being lively and engaging, many have feedback that they would continue to reduce plastics usage outside the office and in their homes.
Participants received a scorecard to help them monitor their daily commitment to reducing plastics use. They were also held accountable as they had to submit their log sheet online.
To date, about 200 office staff from various RGE business groups and Tanoto Foundation have voluntarily pledged their support and participation in the Plastic-Free Challenge.
This employee-driven initiative not only captures and exemplifies the values and 5Cs principles of RGE companies, but also aligns with Indonesia’s concerted movement towards zero waste and battle against plastic pollution. For instance, Bali, Bogor and parts of Kalimantan have passed bans on single-use plastics, and the government is currently considering a plastics tax.
Check out the videos from Tanoto Foundation and two RGE business groups: