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I believe that when companies want to get serious about making a difference, they have to look not at only making an impact outside their walls, but also seek to spur a culture of positive change from within. Thus, I was encouraged by the recent opportunity to help launch a campaign to spark meaningful behavioural change among staff in the Royal Golden Eagle Jakarta office.

RGE Plastic Free Challenge 2019

With the support of management, a small team from sustainability came together to craft an initiative to raise awareness on the issues surrounding single-use plastics.

Following a meaningful process of co-creation with our target audience, we launched the ‘Plastic-Free Challenge’ - a two-week campaign meant to impart knowledge and spur action in a participatory manner. During week one of the Challenge, participants monitored their daily consumption of single-use plastics in an easy to use scoresheet. At the end of the week, every participant committed to a self-determined reduction target for week two, and received a complementary lunch box to help them as they worked to achieve their targets.

In the end, more than 130 participants from APRIL Group and other RGE business groups participated in the challenge, with many committing to ambitious reductions in their plastics-use. The team appreciated that the issue became a common topic in daily conversation, and how people were readily sharing about their attempts to change their habits; we even had some friendly competition going on!

On top of supportive colleagues, supportive leaders were key to the campaign’s success. We received plenty of support and advice during the planning process, and were even invited to bring the Plastic-Free Challenge to our sister company Apical, at their site in Marunda, Jakarta.

Plastic Free Challenge 2019 Jakarta, Indonesia

New challenges in sustainability

The ‘Plastic-Free Challenge’ is but one of the many exciting things going on. Having concluded my first rotation in APR, I am now back at APRIL for my second rotation of the programme. My current project has me reviewing our conservation management framework, part of our drive to ensure that we are managing our conservation areas for the best possible ecological and social outcomes.

It is an especially exciting project as I am able to apply my background in ecology and the environmental sciences, though I have been again reminded of the complex social and operational considerations that are always present.

Thankfully, there exists a strong network of expertise and organisational capability to build on top of. For example, our team at Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER) has made great strides in pioneering a deeper understanding of the Kampar’s rich and previous biodiversity.

For social aspects, our community development programmes, community engagement activities, and other platforms like the Fire Free Village Programme continue to be important touchstones to the communities around our area of operations. I am definitely looking forward to working with these professionals with a wealth of experience in their fields, and incorporating their on-the-ground experience as part of our on-going adaptive management process.


James Chang joined APRIL’s Sustainability Professional Development Programme in 2018 after completing a Bachelor’s of Environmental Studies at the National University of Singapore. For more information on APRIL’s Sustainability Professional Development Programme click here

You can read his previous blog post, ‘My Experience As Part Of APRIL’s Sustainability Professional Development Programme’, here

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