Asia Pacific Rayon (APR), a vertically integrated producer of viscose rayon, says it has made a “good start” in its sustainability progress during the first 18 months of its operations but more work remains to raise the bar for sustainable textile production across its supply chain and industry.

APR is a subsidiary of Singapore-based viscose major Royal Golden Eagle (RGE), which claims to be the world’s largest viscose producer. 

Its inaugural sustainability progress report ‘Creating Sustainable Value, From Plantation to Fashion’, covers the first 18 months of its operations from January 2019 to June 2020. It details APR’s sustainability efforts which are focused on clean manufacturing, sustainable sourcing, and initiatives in support of employees and communities.

“In our first 18 months of business, we focused on laying a strong foundation by embedding sustainability in the way we operate – whether as a manufacturer, an employer, a member of the local community or a global corporate citizen. Our operations are guided by our sustainability policy. We sought to actively monitor our performance so as to develop a baseline from which to improve on, and to benchmark ourselves against industry peers, with the aim to be a top quartile viscose producer,” director Basrie Kamba says.

“Innovation and collaboration will underpin the next stage of our efforts to advance sustainability in our industry.”

As a newcomer to the man-made cellulosic fibre (MMCF) industry, the company has attained a string of industry-related certifications, including being the first viscose manufacturer in Indonesia to receive STeP by Oeko-Tex certification. 

Further, in September, APR updated its sustainability policy, strengthening its clean manufacturing commitment to the ZDHC Roadmap and adopting a time-bound roadmap to meet the emissions and consumption levels set out in the European Union Best Available Techniques (EU BAT) standards.

Other highlights in the report include launching the ‘Everything Indonesia’ campaign as a catalyst to revitalise Indonesia to become a global centre for textile manufacturing and supporting the grown of the local fashion industry, and the development of a traceability platform, ‘Follow our Fibre’, which is powered by blockchain technology.

APR recently updated the solution to include information of its suppliers’ conservation and biodiversity efforts.

Meanwhile, the firm has also been in active engagement with its community stakeholders with programmes aimed at improving rural education standards and empowering women. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the company provided 15,000 PPE gowns, 150,000 medical face masks, and pairs of surgical gloves to Riau’s Covid-19 taskforce, and produced 88,000 fabric masks and distributed them to employees, their families, and households in surrounding communities.

“While we have made a good start, we have much more to do to raise the bar for sustainable textile production across our supply chain and industry,” Kamba says.

Looking ahead, it plans to build on an exercise conducted last year to identify the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are most relevant to its business, operations, and involvement in the textile industry. Other factors considered were Indonesia’s development needs at the national and provincial levels as well as peer benchmarking.

The next phase will involve mapping the goals and targets to material topics and business activities, and incorporating the outcome into a 2030 Vision for APR.