RGE Supports Eco-Business’ Sustainability Leadership A-List Awards 2023

RGE recently supported Eco-Business’ Sustainability Leadership A-List Awards 2023 that was held in conjunction with the EB Impact Gala Dinner in Singapore.

Eco-Business is Asia Pacific’s media and business intelligence organisation dedicated to sustainable development and ESG performance, and EB Impact is the sister non-profit organisation to Eco-Business.

Themed ‘Onwards: Sustainability Leadership in a Time of Urgency’, the event celebrated the achievements of sustainability leaders across the Asia Pacific region and was graced by Singapore’s Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment, and Ministry of Manpower, Dr. Koh Poh Koon.

Lucita Jasmin, Director for Sustainability and External Affairs at APRIL, represented RGE as a Strategic Partner to speak at the event, where she spoke about RGE’s role as a key player in the rapidly developing global bioeconomy and APRIL’s commitment to sustainability.

Lucita Jasmin, Director for Sustainability and External Affairs at APRIL Group, speaking at the Eco-Business Sustainability Leadership A-List Awards 2023

A holistic approach to addressing climate issues

Addressing a crowd of more than 200 sustainability professionals and industry partners, Lucita spoke about APRIL’s dedication to environmental responsibility, from having a ‘no-burn policy’ since 1994 to being a member of the UN Global Compact since 2006. She also shared APRIL’s ‘no deforestation’ commitment as part of the company’s broader Sustainable Forest Management Policy 2.0, which is subject to independent oversight and annual third-party assurance.

Reflecting on the twin crises of climate and nature loss facing the global community, Lucita underscored the necessity of adopting a holistic approach in addressing climate issues in the Asia Pacific region. “When operating in a developing economy, we’ve long learned that social is always the other side of the environmental coin,” Lucita said.

This belief gave birth to APRIL2030, APRIL’s long term sustainability commitments comprised of 18 ambitious targets across four pillars – climate positive, thriving landscapes, inclusive progress and sustainable growth. Key climate targets include achieving net-zero emissions from land use and increasing the share of renewables in the company’s energy balance to 90% in its manufacturing facilities, and 50% in forest operations.

Recognising that there are around 120 million people in ASEAN who are still living below the poverty line, out of which 26 million are in Indonesia, Lucita also highlighted the importance of providing sustainable livelihood opportunities and making conservation a viable livelihood proposition for the local communities, as part of APRIL’s biodiversity protection and conservation efforts. “If we do not provide sustainable livelihood opportunities, we are not addressing the root drivers of biodiversity loss,” Lucita said.

APRIL currently manages 361,234 hectares of conservation and restoration areas – roughly five times the area of Singapore. A key element of this is Restorasi Ekosistem Riau, the company’s flagship forest restoration programme, which covers a landscape of 150,693 hectares on the Kampar Peninsula and Padang Island in Indonesia.

Going further, together

“We are fond of the saying: if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” said Lucita. RGE is proud of its numerous collaborative initiatives aimed at furthering sustainable causes. These programmes, such as conservation partnerships with local villages and collaborations with academic institutions, highlight the importance of partnerships in achieving impactful sustainability outcomes.

Lucita quoted some notable examples of RGE’s partnerships, such as with the National University of Singapore’s Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions to develop remote sensing technologies to generate carbon-flux data in a fast and efficient manner, and with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore to develop first-of-its-kind recycling solutions to turn textile waste into sustainable fibre.

Lucita also shared insights into RGE’s work in Indonesia, such as its partnerships with NGOs including Fauna & Flora International and Wildlife Conservation Society, as well as community-based conservation partnerships with the local villages in Riau province, Indonesia.

Expanding the focus to the broader Asian context, Lucita expressed her confidence in Asia’s potential to lead the sustainability agenda, given its significant share of global GDP and population. However, she acknowledged the slow progress towards Sustainable Development Goals in the region, and urged the audience to take urgent collective efforts to accelerate progress needed to achieve the 17 goals.

 A call to action to accelerate sustainability progress

Concluding her speech, Lucita reminded the audience of the urgency to act while keeping in mind a great opportunity to shape our growth path on a more sustainable trajectory. She highlighted RGE’s strategic approach, utilising sustainability as a catalyst for business expansion and transformation. This includes transitioning to sustainable aviation fuel derived from oil palm by-products, entering the renewable energy sector, and securing all financing through sustainability-linked loans to bolster its sustainability endeavours.

In a final call to action, Lucita encouraged the audience to reflect on the words of Theodore Roosevelt – “It is not the critic who counts… The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena… and who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again… and who spends himself in a worthy cause. . .” – acknowledging those who strive valiantly in the pursuit of worthy causes. She emphasised the importance of continued collaboration and perseverance within the industry, commending both the Sustainability Leadership A-List winners and the audience for their unwavering dedication to sustainability.