Jakarta, Indonesia – Greenpeace hailed the commitment from Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) to end deforestation as a major breakthrough in efforts to save Indonesia’s rainforests, after a decade of public pressure and recent negotiations with Greenpeace.
APP, one of the world’s largest producers of paper and packaging, has published a new ‘Forest Conservation Policy’, which, if implemented, could spell the end of its long and controversial history of rainforest destruction.
“We commend APP for making this commitment to end deforestation, but it’s what happens in the forest that counts and we will be monitoring progress closely. If APP fully implements its new policies, it will mark a dramatic change in direction, after years of deforestation in Indonesia,” said Bustar Maitar, Head of Greenpeace’s Forest Campaign in Indonesia.
Indonesia’s rainforests are a vital habitat for endangered species including the Sumatran tiger and home to thousands of forest communities. The Indonesian government has identified the pulp and paper sector as a lead driver of deforestation in Indonesia, along with the palm oil sector.
This move by APP is the result of years of pressure from Indonesian and international NGOs challenging its role in large-scale rainforest clearance, including vital wildlife habitat and areas claimed by local communities.
Greenpeace’s campaign to transform Indonesia’s pulp and paper sector has seen ground-breaking investigations of APP’s operations and high profile campaigns around the world exposing the global brands whose paper and packaging is supplied from APP.
Many global brands suspended contracts with APP and introduced policies removing deforestation from their supply chains after a wave of public pressure inspired by Greenpeace. Over 100 companies have taken action, including Adidas, Kraft, Mattel, Hasbro, Nestlé, Carrefour, Staples and Unilever.
APP’s new commitment comes at a crucial time for Indonesia’s forests. The two-year moratorium on deforestation decreed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2011 expires in May this year.
“We urge Indonesia’s government to use the momentum of APP’s move to strengthen and extend the moratorium, starting with a review of all existing forest concessions. As a matter of urgency, the government should improve enforcement of forestry laws to help companies like APP implement their conservation policies. Only concerted action from government, industry and Indonesian civil society can finally turn the tide of extinction facing Sumatra’s tigers,” said Maitar.
APP, part of the Sinar Mas Group, is one of just two global pulp and paper producers in Indonesia that has relied on rainforest fibre for its products used by household brands across the world. Greenpeace has written on February 5 to the CEO of APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources International), Indonesia’s second-largest pulp and paper producer, to ask when his company plans to make a similar commitment to end deforestation.
Largely as a result of the rapid expansion of the palm oil and pulp and paper sector into Indonesia’s rainforests, by 2005 Indonesia ranked as the world’s third-highest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Loss of its forest habitat to pulp and palm oil concessions has driven endangered wildlife species such as Sumatran tiger and the orangutan closer to extinction.
In 2010, following earlier Greenpeace campaigns, the palm oil division of the Sinar Mas Group (GAR) agreed to a new Forest Conservation Policy to end any further rainforest clearance, including development of peatland.
APP and APRIL together account for approximately 80% of Indonesian pulp production. These companies are currently the only large-scale producers of pulp using rainforest fibre. The other pulp companies either use plantation acacia only, or produce very small volumes of pulp.
Summary of APP’s Forest Conservation Policy commitments
- An end to further development of any forested land, including peat forests.
- Best practice peatland management at landscape level to reduce and avoid greenhouse gas emissions.
- New protocols to ensure the principle of free prior and informed consent is implemented in any new plantation development, and for conflict resolution with communities affected by current operations.
- Monitoring of commitments by The Forest Trust, with independent observers from the NGO community.
- Additional measures to support responsible forest management throughout APP’s global supply chain.