Susan Slabbert: A Voice for the Environment

"To operate, we must comply with the local Government regulations. However, we also aim to perform beyond compliance by using international industry-specific standards to provide the best guidance to become a world-class company," Susan says.

For Susan, what made APRIL Group's environmental vision so unique compared to other companies is how future-oriented its approach is.

"APRIL has a vision to be one of the most sustainable resource based companies in the world, and that means planning pro-actively and forward-looking thinking".

In particular, the group’s core business philosophy stood out for her.

"APRIL is one of the largest, most advanced and efficient pulp and paper producers in the world, but it’s the company’s ‘5Cs’ business philosophy that made me chose them," says Susan. For APRIL, good business is about what is good for community, country, climate, customer and company - only then will it be sustainable.

This ‘5Cs’ approach is an essential aspect of APRIL Group's operations. As part of this vision, Susan has recently been tasked to support the achievement of APRIL Group’s APRIL2030 commitments for meeting the challenges of the next decade.

APRIL2030 is a strategy comprised of four broad commitment areas – Climate Positive, Thriving Landscapes, Inclusive Progress and Sustainable Growth - with 18 ambitious targets.

Two of these 18 targets involve advancing equal opportunities and participation for women as well as achieving a 50 percent reduction in the rate of stunting among children in the area. As part of these targets,  with local clinics, known as Posyandu, in APRIL's operations areas in Riau to fight stunting in children below five years of age. She also teaches local mothers to increase their awareness on infant nutrition.

The community experience is what draws her the most about working in APRIL. Susan certainly has gone a long way in the two years since she started working in APRIL Group in Indonesia. At first, she could not even speak the local language.

"When I first joined the company, language was my biggest challenge. Now that I am more confident with my Bahasa Indonesia, I am able to work with employees at all levels of the organization," she says.

Now, Susan has become fully accustomed to life in Indonesia.

"I am obsessed with jengkol and tahu kress. I also enjoy going to pasar  [farmer’s markets] to get fresh produce every Sunday," says Susan, who spends her free time exercising and hopping between different coffee shops in Pangkalan Kerinci – APRIL’s operational area.

To this day, Susan continues to stay on top of the latest developments in sustainability. She recently completed two courses, including one from the University of Cambridge in the UK, to advance her goals of protecting the environment and helping to realize APRIL Group’s sustainability strategy.

"I have been here for just over two years, and I’m looking forward to working for APRIL and living in beautiful Indonesia for many years to come."