SINGAPORE, Aug. 6, 2021 (Press Release) -APRIL Group has published its 2020 Sustainability Report, detailing the company’s progress and its performance against its sustainability commitments. The following is an abridged version of APRIL President Praveen Singhavi’s message from the Report.
While 2020 was a year like no other as communities, companies and countries wrestled with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, APRIL Group joined others in the global community in doubling down on its commitments to sustainable business to achieve a positive impact on climate, nature and people over the next decade.
The launch of our APRIL2030 commitments to be climate positive, champion thriving landscapes, ensure inclusive progress and grow sustainably as a business marked another major step forward for our company. It demonstrates that Asia-based, bio economy companies can be at the vanguard of global efforts to move the planet toward more sustainable outcomes for the benefit of generations to come.
While APRIL2030 was an important milestone, our key priority in 2020 was the health and welfare of our employees and their dependents, as well as the people and communities we interact with, in the face of the pandemic. In March, we adopted a number of precautionary safety and wellbeing measures and implemented our business continuity plan to keep people safe. This included travel restrictions, contact tracing and quarantine protocols, health checks, distribution of masks and employee and community education campaigns.
More positively, the launch of our APRIL2030 commitments was followed by reports from the Indonesian Government that the deforestation rate in Indonesia in 2020 decreased by 75% over the 2019 rate, reaching a historic low since government monitoring began in 1990. We believe this is another positive signal that development and growth can be decoupled from deforestation.
Importantly, the 18 targets set under APRIL2030 are each supported by clear roadmaps for implementation and indicators that can be tracked to monitor and report on progress. The development of the targets was undertaken through a whole-of-company effort over two years to ensure they will be impactful.
While in-person meetings were curtailed due to the pandemic, APRIL Group continued to benefit from the guidance and oversight of our independent Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC), which gained two new expert members during the year, and the Independent Peat Expert Working Group (IPEWG), both of which were consulted on our APRIL2030 commitments.
As in previous years, the SAC appointed KPMG Performance Registrar Inc. to conduct a limited assurance engagement over APRIL’s implementation of our Sustainable Forest Management Policy 2.0 (SFMP). This policy continues to be a key pillar of the company’s sustainability approach in committing to no deforestation, no new developments on forested peatland and the adoption of Free, Prior, Informed Consent principles in our dealings with communities.
Despite the unique challenges and risks posed by the pandemic, in many respects 2020 was a milestone year for APRIL, one where we built on continued implementation of our SFMP 2.0 by defining our business and sustainability agenda for the next decade through our APRIL2030 commitments. It is my sincere hope that our people and our stakeholders remain safe in the year ahead as we work hard to turn our ambitious sustainability targets into reality.