Sustainable and high quality products set APRIL Group apart

“As sustainability interest rises among consumers, we need to provide products that share their values,” Wanyan Shaohua, business head at APRIL Group tells PrintWeek

28 Oct 2022 | By PrintWeek Team

PrintWeek (PW): Globally, including in India, there has been a growing interest in sustainable products, including for paper and other consumer goods. How does your company keep up with this interest?
Wanyan Shaohua (WS):
Our pulp and paper mill uses world-class engineering and technology to produce quality pulp and paper products sold globally. We adopt the principles of lean manufacturing in our mill operations, resulting in efficient practices, particularly in energy and water use; it has also helped us minimise our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Our flagship paper products under the PaperOne brand are PEFC certified and made from 100% renewable fibres from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources.

As a company, APRIL Group always look across our business to seek opportunities that can bring sustainability impacts. That is why we launched the APRIL2030 targets and commitments in 2020 in an effort to make a positive impact on climate, nature, and people. APRIL2030 comprises four commitments with 18 ambitious targets – climate positive, thriving landscape, inclusive progress, and sustainable growth. It is a bold and ambitious series of concrete, time-bound, science-based targets to make APRIL a more sustainable and circular business by 2030.

PaperOne manufacturing

PrintWeek (PW): Two years on, what are its progress?
Wanyan Shaohua (WS):
This is a decade- long process, but we are making steady progress. You can read detailed summaries of the progress achieved under each commitment in our sustainability report and APRIL2030 microsite but perhaps I could call out a few specific highlights:
• We have constructed a 1-MW solar panel installation, and are on track to complete another 20 MW at our Riau site by 2025. We will continue to increase the capacity to 10 MW this year, while doubling our target to 50 MW by 2030.
• A range of projects to reduce water use have been introduced to bring us closer to our target of reducing solid waste to landfill by 80%.
• The first of a fleet of electric buses were introduced at our Kerinci mill complex in September, supporting lower-carbon employee commuting. The incorporation of electric powered equipment in our mill operations is an ongoing priority on our journey to decarbonise our facility

There remains much work to do alongside our partners and communities, but we are pleased to report solid momentum under APRIL2030.

PrintWeek (PW): Brands and consumers now are asking more beyond product or service functions. How do we address this challenge?
Wanyan Shaohua (WS):
Keeping tabs on changing customer preferences and rapidly innovating to meet their needs and wants will be key. The recent pandemic has caused a shift in consumer purchase habits; a primary barometer of their customer experience will be how businesses meet their new needs with empathy, care, and concern.

It is with this spirit that we launched the PaperOne Ingredient marketing programme, which lets our publishers and convertors leverage on PaperOne’s globally renowned branding and exceptional quality to enhance their end product value differentiation and positioning.

Eucalyptus plantation

PrintWeek (PW): Technology and eCommerce provides great opportunity for print industry. How does APRIL utilise this opportunity?
Wanyan Shaohua (WS):
ECommerce acceleration is not slowing down. The pandemic has shifted consumers online and it looks to stay that way. In August this year, we launched PaperOne Market, an eCommerce platform designed to help B2B customers sell their products to a bigger pool of customers. We also launched APRIL Connect two years ago as part of our digitalisation strategy. The app lets customers view and track orders online, as well as stay abreast of market updates and marketing information. The main purpose of this digitalisation strategy is to bring more value to our customers.

PrintWeek (PW): With digitalisation and evolving customer demand, how do you think is the future of print?
Wanyan Shaohua (WS):
We believe that demand will continue to exist. Today, paper is still needed for many purposes, such as filing documents, legal certificates or contracts, printed reports, textbooks, and other means of communication. This will continue to grow and we will need to keep our customers engaged by understanding their needs, anticipating market trends, and improving customer experience to gain their trust.

PrintWeek (PW): And finally, what questions does every growth-seeking print CEO need to answer?
Wanyan Shaohua (WS):
Sustainability is the future, not only for the print industry but also for any industry globally. But at the same time, it is also dynamic, and there lies the opportunity to grow. We need to stay relevant by addressing this issue in every part of our business operations.

We also need to realise that it is always about our customers. We need to give them sustainable products that suit their values and needs. The print industry will continue to grow by focusing on these two things.