Award-winning, sustainable plantation management company, Asia Plantation Capital Berhad (APCB), has launched a ‘Green School Programme’ as part of its ongoing commitment to holistic sustainability and its corporate social responsibility programme.
The initial four-day programme aims to educate students about sustainable living and the dangers of global warming. Formed in collaboration with Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Pasir Gudang, the programme ran from the 1st to the 4th of August 2016, at APCB’s agarwood distillery and factory – the largest of its kind in the region – and was attended by the guest of honour, Yb Pn Hajjah Normala Abdul Samad, Member of Parliament for Pasir Gudang.
The groundbreaking event signified the beginning of a long-term collaboration between APCB and the Johor State School, and, as well as teaching students about recycling and green practices, the programme also aims to educate the wider community on the dangers of flora extinction (in particular the Aquilaria tree species) and one of its many end products, agarwood.
Steve Watts, CEO of Asia Plantation Capital Berhad, commented, “We believe that it is imperative to educate the younger generation, and pave the way for them to take their place as future custodians of the environment. We all have a role to play, and responsibility to take, especially in terms of the communities and the practices that will shape the future. Investing in local communities has always been a part of our ethos, and we feel that it is vital for sustainability and environmental awareness to be instilled in these students from a very young age.”
“I am pleased to announce that this programme is only the beginning,” Watts concluded. “We hope to have many more opportunities to educate and inspire the next generation in our combined efforts to secure a sustainable future. We would also like to thank Yb Pn Hajjah Normala Abdul Samad for being our most gracious Guest of Honour. ”
Apart from the teaching aspects of the initiative, APCB will also be contributing a significant number of Aquilaria tree saplings to the school. These saplings are extremely valuable, as species of the Aquilaria tree have been on the CITES’ (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) endangered list since the end of the 20th Century, but are now flourishing, thanks to the intervention of Asia Plantation Capital. As part of the agreement, the monitoring of growth will be the responsibility of the school, while APCB’s forestry management team will carry out inspections on a regular basis.
When the cultivated trees reach the age of four years, they will be ready for fungal inoculation – the process by which the production of the tree’s inner, resinous heartwood, that ultimately produces the essential oil, is accelerated. For the Green School Programme, however, the trees will not be inoculated in order to allow the resin to be stimulated naturally.
The following schools; Sekolah Seni Bandar Seri Alam; SMK Dato Penggawa Timur; SK Johor Jaya 1 and SK Seri Kota Puteri 4; will also be involved in the programme over the next few months.