At Holland Colours, responsibility is one of our core values. To that end, our locations are encouraged to annually participate in a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) event in communities near the HCA locations.
Last year, the employees of the Surabaya location used a weekend to paint and renovate a primary school in Sidoarjo. Another year, they planted mangrove trees to prevent soil erosion, according to Sony Okfianto, HR Manager Asia.
This year, Holland Colours Surabaya was approached by Sea Soldier Surabaya, an Indonesian group aiming for protection and conservation of the oceans and the environment by active ocean cleanup at beaches and by increasing waste awareness - especially with young people. For this event, Sea Soldier proposed a beach cleanup near the Holland Colours location and, taking it one step further, also proposed help from the children at a local primary school. Active participation of school children helps increase awareness with them and also provides Sea Soldier a platform to educate the participants regarding plastic pollution and handling of the waste stream.
Asked about the environmental impact of plastic versus other materials, Henri Jacobs, Director Division Asia, says “I truly believe that plastic is a good alternative for other types of packaging like metal or paper cartons and offers advantages in usage. However, the same goes for plastics as for other materials we're using and all actions we take. If you don't oversee the consequences, such as plastic in the ocean, or don't care about the impact, the advantages will turn into disadvantages. Seeing the volume of waste that had reached this beach last Saturday and what we have seen at other places in Indonesia, we need to take action. Even simple actions like separating your plastic waste for recycling and using reusable bags & straws already contribute to the ocean plastic cleanup and the reduction of plastic soup.”
Holland Colours plays a role in the recycling of plastic materials and as a co-developer of sustainable solutions. For example, Holland Colours Asia is currently in discussions with a producer of bio-degradable plastics to color their recycled PET (rPET). Additionally, there are already a number of recyclers using Holland Colours’ Tintmask, a color enhancer for rPET, to color new products created from recycled land and ocean plastic.
Beyond activities for the day of the event itself, Sea Soldier also asked that Holland Colours supply waste bins for long term use at the beach. HCA was happy to fulfill this request and, in return, was provided a delicious lunch on event day, prepared by citizens of the beach community. So, on February 1, there was a total of nearly 200 people from Holland Colours, the primary school, and the beach area that helped in some way.
“There is a lot of added value created with our event last Saturday. First, we actively cleaned a good stretch of beach, even with the very hot weather! Looking at the volume of waste collected, it made a lot of sense to go there and the people of the nearby area were happy with the results. Secondly, one of the core values of Holland Colours is responsibility which includes taking care of the environment we're living in. We're good at coloring plastics but with ocean pollution becoming an issue, we have to take responsibility for our part, step in, and contribute to a better environment. A third, and very important element, is that we increased awareness of the ocean trash issue with our employees and the school children that participated. For me, that is perhaps the most important element, “ says Okfianto.
Overall, there was tremendous teamwork between Holland Colours colleagues from different departments, Sea Soldier Surabaya, the school children and the local community. It was a very fun day, finished with an excellent lunch and a great feeling of responsibly caring for our world.