Jakarta. Riau-based viscose rayon producer Asia Pacific Rayon, also known as APR, recently unveiled its 2021 Sustainability Report, which documents the company's efforts in turning its APR2030, a decade-long set of targets for a more sustainable future, into a reality.
The APR2030 commitments revolve around four pillars, among others, inclusive prosperity. APR aims to build a thriving textile hub in Riau by 2030, and this goal becomes the centerpiece of the company’s inclusive prosperity commitments.
"APR is paving the way for a vibrant and sustainable textile hub —or center of excellence— in Riau. Our goal is to give the people of Riau a self-sustaining space and the tools to prosper in a world that is increasingly online, entrepreneurial, and driven by innovation," APR director Basrie Kamba said.
The 2021 sustainability report shows that APR's efforts for this regional textile hub put high emphasis on empowering local artisans and entrepreneurs, many of whom are women. This includes giving them access to resources and a wider market.
Melayu Merindu — a campaign aimed to promote the Riau traditional batik motifs and the province's wastra industry— became one of APR's most significant initiatives.
Launched in 2021, Melayu Merindu empowers local fashion small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to sell their clothing online. Participating SMEs receive training to create patterns that appeal to youth in a bid to promote batik and wastra, which many young people perceive as "outdated".
"One of our goals is to bridge the old and the new. We see an opportunity to revive traditional batik and kain, or cloth, and bring it into the 21st century by creating bold new patterns that appeal to fashion-conscious youth," Basrie said.
The Melayu Merindu program is in partnership with Wiyasa The Fashion Accelerator and the Riau branch of the Indonesian Textile Association (API Riau).
According to the report, APR’s strategic leadership role in many key associations is crucial to the company’s efforts to drive the textile industry transformation.
APR director Basrie Kamba currently chairs API Riau. He is also the advisor to the Indonesian Fiber and Filament Yarn Producers (APSyFI). Basrie is the first chairman of Rantai Tekstil Lestari, an association focusing on advancing a sustainable ecosystem along Indonesia’s textile value chain.
APR’s partnership with API Riau proves to be pivotal to help women entrepreneurs unlock new markets. APR has connected 28 women with API Riau, which bridges them to mills and textile producers in Java, and also access to that market.
The report also highlighted APR’s batik-making and songket-weaving training programs for local women. At Rumah Batik, APR trains women to grow their batik skills and create unique, patentable designs. Twelve women have participated in two Rumah Batik training sessions which have resulted in five patented motifs. The songket-weaving program last year trialed weaving traditional sarongs with full motifs incorporating yarn starching and blending, according to the report.
Most, if not all, APR’s textile-related programs help introduce the artisans and weavers to viscose blends —in particular locally and sustainably produced viscose— as an alternative fabric. Most garment makers source their fibers outside Sumatra, primarily from Java. Having access to these viscose blends will undoubtedly give artisans convenience. Viscose also works well for a variety of textile and clothing applications.
Talents are also key to nurturing the textile industry's growth. APR has teamed up with a local vocational school in Pangkalan Kerinci to promote textile-related career opportunities for high school graduates.
A Better Planet
The APR2030 vision also encompasses environment-related targets, among others, 50 percent less product carbon emission and more than 95 percent sulfur recovery. The report showed that APR’s sulfur recovery rate increased from 90.7 percent in 2020 to 92.9 percent in 2021.
APR aims to have a 20 percent recycled textile composition in its viscose staple fiber (VSF) production. To this end, the company is ramping up its R&D on recycled textiles.
In 2021, APR commissioned a study on pre-consumer textile waste supply from garment and textile factories in three major textile-producing countries, namely Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. The study finds that Indonesia is an excellent source of recyclable material.