February 20, 2014
Indonesian pulp and paper giant talks forest conservation policy with critics
Lafcadio Cortesi, Rainforest Action Network (RAN); Scott Poynton, The Forest Trust (TFT); Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace; Rhett Butler, Mongabay; Aida Greenbury, APP; Aditya Bayunanda, WWF-Indonesia; and Neville Kemp, Ekologika. Photo by Aji Wihardandi of Mongabay-Indonesia.
Fast forward a year and Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) has invested millions of dollars developing and implementing its policy. Gone are the greenwashing consultants it once retained, now replaced by sustainability experts, implementers like The Forest Trust (TFT), and assessors like Ekologica. Even Greenpeace, an activist group that was once its harshest critic, is working with the forestry giant to ensure that its policies effectively protect forests across its sprawling network of suppliers and concessions.
While the shift represents a stark change from how APP used to conduct itself, the company still has determined critics, including Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and WWF. At the same time, APP is wrestling with some of the extremely deep-rooted operational, logistical, and political challenges of transforming its business model in a country where unclear laws, confusion over land rights, and poor law enforcement remain every day problems.
APP supplier concession in Riau, Sumatra
These issues were recently discussed at an event marking the one-year anniversary of APP's forest conservation policy. The event, held in Jakarta, was attended by a veritable who's who of NGO's working in Indonesia, government officials from both Indonesia and abroad (including several current and former ambassadors), industry representatives, former and current APP customers, and APP staff. I served as the moderator for the panel discussion between APP, TFT, RAN, WWF, Greenpeace, and Ekologica.
These were the participants:
- Scott Poynton, Executive Director, The Forest Trust (TFT)
- Bustar Maitar, Head of Indonesia Forest Campaign, Greenpeace
- Neville Kemp, Ekologika (one of the APP’s HCV Assessors)
- Aditya Bayunanda, Coordinator of the Global Forest and Trade Network (GTFN), WWF Indonesia
- Lafcadio Cortesi, Forest Campaign Director, Rainforest Action Network
- Aida Greenbury, Managing Director of Sustainability & Stakeholder Engagement, APP
The overview was followed by the forum. To ensure that a range of voices would be included, I solicited questions from Mongabay readers and social media as well as a variety experts and critics. By the start of the event, the list of questions topped 100 from nearly 50 different people and organizations. The discussion was also open to questions and comments from the floor.
Given the range of questions, a lot of territory was covered during the panel, but common themes were APP's progress to date; social conflict and working with communities; independent verification; APP's deforestation legacy and the possibility of restoration; market recognition: when would it be appropriate for customers to buy from APP again?; the role of the government in addressing deforestation and supporting companies that try to eliminate deforestation from their operations; peatland management to limit emissions; the challenges facing APP in implementing the policy; and what it would take to end deforestation in Indonesia.
Peatland encroachment and fire in Riau, Indonesia
The APP critics on stage — RAN and WWF — both noted the progress the company has made over the past year and expressed their approval of Rainforest Alliance's agreement to conduct an independent audit of APP's compliance to its policy to date, but said APP still has a long way to go to demonstrate it is a responsible actor. RAN and WWF are waiting for independent verification that forest cover is being preserved, want to see the methodology for determining HCS lands, and demand greater transparency. Both also want APP to address its "deforestation legacy" through a commitment to restore forests and peatlands. RAN asked APP to work more closely with communities in conflict cases. WWF said that community encroachment in some areas has been facilitated by infrastructure put into place by APP.
Greenpeace explained the background of its involvement and talked about why the APP deal is important for stopping deforestation in Indonesia. For example, since APP established the policy, its biggest competitor, APRIL has also announced a forest conservation policy, albeit a much weaker one.
TFT and Ekologica discussed the assessment process they've undertaken so far. Both said they have nothing to gain from greenwashing for APP — TFT noted that it has global operations with a number of companies, while Ekologica stressed that it has been in the business for nearly 30 years.
TFT expressed a belief that the time has come for APP's critics to "put the sword down" to work with the company as it implements the policy. APP's Greenbury added that APP has invested considerable resources in the policy so far and management would eventually need to see recognition from buyers in order to justify the investments to shareholders. RAN said a stronger carrot comes from withholding business rather than encouraging buyers to return to APP.
Representatives from three governments also contributed to the conversation. Hadi Daryanto, the general secretary of Indonesia's Forestry Ministry, talked about the government's role in resolving land conflict between communities and concession holders. Norwegian ambassador Stig Traavik asked about market recognition for companies that work to clean up their operations as well as cases where communities are encroaching in protected areas. British ambassador Mark Canning congratulated APP on its progress so far.
NGO's that asked questions from the floor included the European Environmental Paper Network (EEPN), Forest Peoples Programme, and Canopy. Chesapeake, a packaging giant, also asked a question.
Deforestation in Riau, Indonesia
There were several interesting revelations that emerged during the discussion.
- Greenpeace revealed it has not signed a non-disclosure agreement with APP. All of its interaction with APP is based on trust, according to Bustar. And answering a question from the audience — Bustar clarified that Greenpeace has not and will not receive any compensation from APP.
- APP said it has hired experts from Wageningen University, one of the world's leading institutions for research on peatlands, to work with it on peatland management. The team will survey the peatland in APP’s pulp wood suppliers’ concessions and make recommendations on how it should be managed.
- APP said it views the steps it has taken toward transparency as "radical": "no other companies in the world [have] posted a list of their suppliers and the maps of their suppliers on the web site for everybody to see". It noted that Rainforest Alliance will evaluate ownership and transparency of ownership of APP's suppliers.
- Overlapping licenses are a major concern for APP which has asked the Indonesian government for help on the issue.
I'll be doing a couple follow up stories based on this event, my time in the field, and discussions with various parties. Look for these on Mongabay.com in coming weeks.
UNOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT OF THE EVENT
Rhett: To start, the FCP began with the suspension of Greenpeace's very high profile campaign against APP. Since then, Greenpeace has been working closely with APP on implementation. So as such, I'd like to begin by asking Bustar to give his view on how the first year of working with APP has gone.
Bustar: Thank you Rhett. His Excellency, Ambassador of UK and Norway. So, yes, it's one year of the Greenpeace suspension of the APP campaign. I believe most of you also still remember how we did the campaign, I think the first time also I met Aida about two and a half years ago, or three years ago. Myself and my team were blocking all of the gates of APP, and then hanging the banner, really encouraging APP, not attacking APP, but encouraging APP to do something right, to stop deforestation, do something right to respect the social and the community rights on the ground. That time for us in Greenpeace and the majority of our teams, still thinking like this is something impossible, I mean, encouraging the big company like APP. But you know, we keep trying, and it happened. In a country like Indonesia, and especially from the born and you know, and grow up in Indonesia, is not easy. It's not easy to encourage a company like APP to doing something right. But we surprised that finally Linda come to us, we talking we discussed. We see some, you know, some willingness to start doing things right, and this is something is not in Greenpeace culture – talking with the company and helping the company implementing the policy, but in the case of Indonesia, we feel like we should be on the ground and helping the company to make this happen. And I would like to tell you also, in this Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), there is no single paper signed between Greenpeace and APP. Whatever trip we are doing to monitor what is going on the ground is paid by us, by Greenpeace, not APP. So the report that we released a couple of months ago, is really coming from the independent monitoring of Greenpeace, how we see on the ground. Yes there is a lot of change, a lot of challenges. Pak Hadi is here, I just meeting Pak Hadi a couple of weeks ago. We discuss about the overlapping concession between the palm oil, coal mining and pulp and paper, and seems like no one is taking care of this. But here I think we need to work together how to make this happen to protect our forest. So even that there is a lot of challenge, this year is election year, but with the commitment from APP, we still believe, we still confident, this commitment will deliver. And for Greenpeace, is nothing to lose. If in the end, APP is making something wrong, and we will criticize again. So we will doing something, you know, something balance here. But again, myself and my team is confident that APP will deliver this Forest Conservation Policy.
Rhett: So to follow up on that, one of the most common questions on social media, I would say, probably asked more than twenty times, is why should we believe APP is serious this time when it’s missed previous, some of those deadlines for essentially phasing deforestation out of its supply chain. So this question I’d like to start with you (gestures to Bustar) but I’d like all panel members including APP to respond.
Bustar: I think why it’s different, because when we meet first time between Greenpeace and APP, I think because Linda Wijaya is there. So, I put some, you know, I mean this is really something really different, I mean see someone who’s coming, if allow me to mention, coming from the family, to attend the meeting with the NGO who criticized them for many years, and coming, sit down, talking. I think this is something different. And the secondly I also you know, doing the meeting day by day, see Aida, Linda, Pak [?], Pak Robin the whole senior level management of APP is always there. So we see some really big change in terms of how to communicate and to receive input from stakeholder. So that is first. And the secondly, of course also that the there is no way to escape from the sustainability and the demand from the market if the product of the company would like to still stay in the international market. Again I would like to mention again this discussion with Pak Hadi a couple of weeks ago, I mean, many people saying Greenpeace is still doing a black campaign. And Pak Hadi himself telling me, no, what you’re doing is to helping us to create the product which is will be respected in the international market. And this is the way to go, to protect, you know, to protect the Indonesian interest, but at the same time to protect the Indonesian forest and the community here in Indonesia.
Rhett: So, Aida, why is it, why is it different this time in your perspective.
Aida: I think Bustar already answered everything. I mean, the strong commitment from the top shareholders, top management, everybody – the staff, the field staff, Elim our director for FCP implementation, well she has seen how our people in the field are just trying very hard to educate our staff and really try to implement it.
Rhett: Lafcadio, you’ve been in this business for a long time. What are your thoughts here?
Lafcadio: I just want to really, I mean, one of the things that I see that’s very different is I really want to congratulate APP on engaging Rainforest Alliance for independent verification, I think one of the real differences between past commitments and this one is that we’re going to try to measure it. And this independent verification is a critical tool. I think it’s going to be absolutely imperative that it remains independent and that its scope, maybe, gets broadened a little bit. So I’m hoping to hear some continued commitments so that we can verify it. But I think that that independent verification is one signal that this is moving along on the right track.
Rhett: Dito, do you have a perspective?
Dito: Thank you. I think our position is that we are skeptical of the commitments, and that is why our call is that we need to see your commitments and in that context, be verified, independently verified. So as I think Laf mentioned about the Rainforest Alliance verification, I think it’s a good step towards that. Because you have to understand that APP has that history, that history of making promises and breaking them. So this is, I think, one way to convince stakeholders like WWF who has been there in Riau for ten years, in that context, looking at all of the problems that the company has created in the deforestation. So I think it’s fair for us that we would need that assurance, that independent assurance before we can say otherwise.
Rhett: Scott, do you have a perspective on this?
Scott: Yeah I echo what Bustar said. TFT’s been going for fifteen years now, and we work around the world. We interact with hundreds if not thousands of companies, so we have a strong sense of watching companies go through a changed journey. And we’ve seen companies make commitments and fail in those commitments, where clearly they weren’t serious. I started talking to APP in January 2011, so had a long journey with them up to February 2013 when the commitment was made. And I would say possibly the unique perspective of sitting inside the room, with the senior management team lead by Linda with Robert and Aida and the team. To see them deal with issues in a very very serious way, and one of the key things was that APP said to themselves, we’re not going to make any commitments that we can’t deliver. So let’s understand what the commitment means before we make it. So we worked through all of the issues that were being raised by the various NGOs and the communities. We road-tested them. The TFT field staff went out into the field with the APP field staff, and we looked at things and said can we do that? We tested it, we thought about it, we talked to communities, we talked to the NGOs and we found that we could. So the commitments were made with that knowledge behind it – that they could be implemented, and with the senior stakeholder group, as Bustar mentioned, right behind them. So I would say the policy came out, we were very pleased, but the proof is in the pudding, as we say, and the real, I think, the demonstration is that since the policy came out, there has been no backtracking, at all, by the company. There’s been some issues out in the field, but I would say minor ones. There’s been accusations of APP dropping its commitment, but we’ve found that those accusations have actually been involving overlapping concessions, not being done by APP. So I think there are things said that are proven to be not the company, and I just say, my sense is the company is one hundred percent committed on implementing the policy. It’s put a huge team involved, making the resources available for our team to work. I’m one hundred percent convinced that they’re definitely committed and this is going to be a success story for years to come.
Rhett: Nev, do you have a perspective on this?
Nev: Yeah thanks Rhett. I look from the perspective of HCV. Ekologica is doing HCV for twenty-seven of the supplier concessions, and the implementation of HCV is a global standard, which involves a transparent and public consultation process. Through the HCV, we’d be talking to hundreds of thousands of stakeholders, and getting their recommendations and input on how to actually manage HCVs. I think that’s a very bold step in really opening the door to transparency. And so, yeah, that’s almost verifying from our point of view, with the data we’re finding, and having public consultations, talking to local stakeholders, local NGOs who are often very critical, is an important part of the process. And I think it’s a new process for APP and for the suppliers. So hopefully this time it’s going to be different. Thank you.
Rhett: Thank you. And so I’d like to direct a couple of questions to the two major critics of APP up here, so RAN and WWF, and this question would be, what is your view on APP’s progress during the past year on the Forest Conservation Policy, and what do you view as the single biggest shortcoming or gap in the policy that now stands?
Dito: I think we are cautiously looking, I think there has been some discrepancies, there’s been some cutting that is done, and we’re still cautious. We’re still cautious of this. One thing that we do see as a gap in this is that the FCP is about deforestation, about stopping the deforestation. It is still not addressing, while I hear Aida saying some positive things about restoration and conservation, but in the FCP itself, addressing that legacy of deforestation where you have done over the decades, 2.6 million hectares of natural forest, is somewhere that is still missing in the FCP. And I think that needs to be well-addressed, your statements needs to be qualified and what does that actually mean. And see whether that is significant, so that your legacy of deforestation can be addressed, so that APP becomes a truly responsible player in the global market. So that’s basically where we see that the main gap are still there.
Lafcadio: And I think we support that, I think that we need to get more clear on what the commitment to restoration looks like and get APP to really put that out there. The other kind of, we’re still wondering if there is a commitment – I heard it from Dewi earlier that the goal is to not have used any natural forest fiber – so have a hundred percent plantation fiber and I think that we just want to make sure that that remains the goal, and in fact is the goal, and there’s no kind of, natural forest fiber going into the supply chain – tropical forest fiber. Also I think there’s another important challenge for the company and challenge for us all, we have to work together on this, is regarding the peat commitment, because I think there’s a real need for APP to go beyond, to have peat protection, and I saw that peat protection was up there, but as we’ve discussed before, we’re really encouraging APP to not only protect forested peat, but also look at the areas that have been recently cleared, and see about restoring that peat. And that goes hand in hand with a need to really measure APP’s current emissions, and be able to get a baseline so the company can actually set emissions targets. We don’t have any emissions targets, there’s no specificity around the commitments. And so, those are a couple of areas that I think we could call gaps or shortcomings.
Rhett: So Aida, do you have response to either the restoration issue and also the potential emissions targets that Lafcadio mentioned?
Aida: Sure. Let’s start with the restoration. I said earlier that restoration has been a very key element in our FCP. Our Forest Conservation Policy is just a set of principles, we cannot really outline everything one by one. Our commitment to high conservation value forest is, correct me if I’m wrong, but clearly outlines restoration initiative once it’s already completed. So once assessment is completed, we’re going to have a look at which area we need to concentrate on protection and enhancement of the value itself. So it’s not only just identification, but it’s also enhancement. And also we need to prioritize which area that we need to prioritize, and using the landscape approach as well. So restoration has been in the picture, it’s never been off the table. Right now, we’re still assessing of where and when, and it’s also part of our discussion with FSC in the compliance of the policy for associations to address the previous deforestation. So that’s also already on the table.
Regarding one hundred percent plantation fibre, yes that’s always our goal, I mean, our machines, they are designed to process plantation fibre. We don’t really want to use natural forest fibre in our operations. But again, we really, what we’re trying to do right now is stopping deforestation. Stopping deforestation and taking care of what natural forest left behind, protect it and manage it and enhance the values. What we can say to our customers is we can assure you that our products will not contain any fibre which is linked to any deforestation activities.
Regarding peat commitment, I totally agree with you, Laf, it is true that we need to establish a baseline, and it is part of the conversations that I’ve had with the peat experts. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so we have to adopt what is the baseline for current emissions created from forestry industry. It has been established and we’re going to have a look at it, and with the peat experts from Wageningen University, we’re going to come up with a proper mapping of how much area in our operations are actually covered by peat, using the baseline, how much emissions. The most important thing is basically to identify what is the best practice that can be implemented to support responsible peat land management, because there’s no such thing until now. We have best practice in forest management but there is no specifically on peat land management itself.
Regarding restorations, of course we have to wait until the assessment by our peat experts and HCVs are completed, and then we’re going to go from there. Yes, so that’s basically our plan that we’re going to establish the baseline for emissions with our peat experts and try to adopt best practice so we can measure how much greenhouse gas emissions that we can actually reduce by implementing the best practice in plantation management. But do not forget, for forested peatland, we are already committed to fully protect it.
Rhett: So to follow up on the point, Wetlands International asked whether it’s possible to use methods that require less drainage of peatlands, and also whether there is any possibility of producing fiber on non-drained peatlands generally.
Aida: That’s also part of our works that we’re going to do with the peat experts. We are also doing some kind of programs to identify alternative species. They’re going to have a look at the alternative species that we have been researching on and probably try this species if it’s suitable for a plantation. And regarding undrained, we discussed this initially with the experts last week. We believe that some kind of control is still required in order for the plantation to be sustainable and economically viable.
Neville: I can explain what we’re doing in the field at the moment. We’ve got peat teams having the field to verify secondary data. We’re doing a one percent sampling of the smaller concessions, for larger concessions we’re doing a lesser sampling rate. Just to verify how much peat is there, how deep it is, what the water table is like that the moment. And that information is going to be passed to the peat experts, I’m not a peat expert, so I can’t really comment on whether fiber can be produced from undrained peatlands. But in general the improved peat management involves water management. Just to add to the restoration question earlier, restoration is always one of the recommendations and ecologists trying to identify the priority areas which need to be restored and which need to be conserved. There’s a lot of encouragement going on at the moment, in all concessions, a lot of illegal logging as well come up across this, and to restore the areas which are vital for maintenance and enhancement of HCV are our priority. I can’t really answer about the legacy from APP, but the first priority is to maintain and enhance HCVs which we’re identifying in the supplying concessions.
Rhett: I wanted to ask WWF whether in your view, APP’s approach for determining HCV and HCS is sufficient.
Laf: I can’t comment on HCS, and on HCV, we can’t say yet because we haven’t seen the copies of the HCV report. We had an agreement that we would be able to see those, they’ve been delayed, and you know, I think that transparency at that level will be important, and we haven’t seen it yet. That’s one kind of challenge. I also just wanted to ask a follow up question on the peat, which is does the terms of reference for, I mean I think sharing the terms of reference, I guess I’ll just ask, does the terms of reference for the peat group include identification of areas to be protected and does it include actual measurement of APP’s carbon footprint from land use?
Aida: Does it include footprint, carbon footprint, yes it will. It’s part of the baseline. What was your second question?
Laf: I think that one of the challenges we’re finding in terms of working with the company through criticism help to find solutions, and also through collaboration find solutions. But is the ability to have access to information such as the terms of reference for the independent verification, the terms of reference for the peat working group, we’d like to be able to give some input on those. And so we’re looking forward to working on those together.
Aida: Yeah, sure.
Rhett: So just a general question that’s come up a few times. Does APP know, or its partners know how much forest will be conserved as a result of the FCP yet? And there’s a question about the fate of the high conservation value, or high carbon stock forest within the concessions in Kalimantan.
Scott: She’s made the high carbon stock assessment designed to use satellite photos and ground checking to verify what forest is left out there. So, that work is ongoing, as Dewi mentioned, the first phase of that gathered a lot of data, a lot of measurements, but we needed more data. So, that’s happening, and the aim is to have that done by June. And when we’ve got those maps, it will produce a set of maps that’ll highlight what areas of forest are there. This work has been done on the ground before with the ? company, just a company of APP, it’s been peer-reviewed by globally respected scientists, including Indonesian scientists, so we’re very confident in the robustness of that method. So that work’s ongoing. Once it’s done, we’ll have a very clear picture of how much forest is left. In terms of the subsequent conservation, Nev’s just mentioned quickly in his comment there that there is illegal logging happening out there. It’s going to be one thing for the company to set these areas aside, it’s another thing to manage them in perpetuity as forests, so there’s a lot of encroachment, and this is where I think coming back to Aida’s initial comment when she made her presentation was this is something people need to work together. We have to work with the communities, we have to work with the local civil society, international civil society, to see what we can do to bring strong protection into those forest areas, but the key is going to be working with people who live out there, look after those forests. So it’s not certain, but I think the intention of the company is clear to protect those areas.
Rhett: So it’s been touched on here a bit and just now, encroachment is a huge issue in Indonesia, and it’s a big issue for APP. So this is a question from a group of NGOs in Riau, where there’s a lot of deforestation and the APP has a lot of operations. So the question is, what is the responsibility of APP and Sinar Mars Group to the GSK Biosphere Reserve which is currently widely encroached by illegal loggers, and I guess looking at the question a little bit more broadly, what is APP’s role generally in supporting conservation areas even when they’re outside their direct control? I’ll just open that question up to the panel.
Aida: Our role is to make sure that the conservation area in our concession, or inside our suppliers’ concessions stays intact. If there is any encroachment by the local community, we need to be able to engage them, try to educate them, try to stop their action. But our action is also very limited, we can report it to the authority but that’s about it. We have no rights to arrest them or relocate them or something like that so that’s one thing we’ve been doing in our concessions. And secondly, what I touched before with landscape approach, that’s something that we also are planning to do. We need to design some kind of management plan to manage our concessions based on the landscape approach. But again the landscape approach level requires much wider collaborations from the relevant stakeholders, including the concession holders next to our concessions and also the local government and also the central government to help support them.
Dito: The way that encroach illegal logging is moving is that they use infrastructure that is built by companies. APP has several corridors, I think one that I am most familiar is the corridor south of the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, where that corridor is under control of APP, but is basically used indiscriminately by encroachers to encroach, to build palm oil and things on forest areas. I think this also falls within the regulations, building this kind of corridors throughout forest estates has its consequences, and one of the responsibilities of the company, which at this point was APP on that particular corridor road, was to ensure that that sort of traffic, or that kind of use is not being used for that encroachment or illegal activity. So I think that there is a major role for APP in the context of protecting landscapes or protecting areas outside of the concessions, which are directly or indirectly affected by their development, by the infrastructure that they have built. So the answer to that question, I think yes, there is a big role, and I think that responsibility somehow must be picked up if you want to do that conservation at a landscape base.
Scott: I think this is a really important and critical issue, and it’s touching on fundamental rights of people as well. And I think one of the things that our work on HCS, the high carbon stock work, and HCV has done is open an opportunity that is not very well explored in Indonesia or anywhere else.
Scott: Well I think this is a really important and critical issue and it's touching on fundamental rights of people as well. And I think one of the things that our work on HCS, the high carbon stock work and HCV and peatland has done has opened an opportunity to explore an issue that's not very well-explored, I think, in Indonesia or anywhere else. And that is the conflict in a way between a possible conflict, not guaranteed conflict, but a possible conflict between the customary rights of local indigenous communities to the land that they consider their own and the objective of forest conservation because what we see as illegal logging may be 100% genuine illegal logging done by illegal loggers but it could also be logging done by communities clearing land to develop the palm oil plantation on land that they consider to be their customary right. So one of the challenges that we have to, I think it's always been a problem, but that we've really touched on it now, we've put our finger on this challenge as we've tried to look at how we can conserve this forest is that there is a conflict between, it could be a conflict between a situation where a community would like to clear a forest that we consider HCS or HCV and it's their customary right to do so, and the company's policy that says actually you can't do that because that's in our concession and we want to protect it, so I think APP is starting to grapple with a number of these issues and I think the company is grappling with them in a very positive way, a very open-minded way. It’s trying to work with communities to discuss these things, but it’s not easy. And again, we come back to this notion, a notion and need to work collaboratively with communities, with local civil society to try and find solutions to these situations. But I think it’s an opportunity because if we don’t resolve it and we don’t work through it, we’re never going to get anywhere and these forests will disappear, so we have an opportunity here. And the last I would say about the illegal logging is I think Dito is correct about the corridors but I think we have to also really look at ourselves and say encroachment is happening everywhere in Indonesia. Illegal logging is happening everywhere in Indonesia, and that includes places like Tesso Nilo National Park and not just roads where APP is made, so I think this is a great opportunity to actually work on these issues collaboratively and say, ok it’s happening in Tesso Nilo, it’s happening in this national park, yes, it’s happening on APP concessions as well, so rather than sort of saying APP is evil, let’s look at how we can work and solve these problems in a deeper way. So I think this is a critical thing; it’s an opportunity. Let’s look at this as an opportunity to deal with some key issues.
Rhett: I wanted to follow up on something Scott said there. It’s actually a question that the forest Peoples program asked and that is how will these proposals to set aside these lands as for high carbon stocks accommodate the rights and livelihoods of local communities and indigenous people? So this is a question from FPP that’s exactly what we were talking about and that is, how will proposals to set aside these HCS areas accommodate the rights and livelihoods of local communities and indigenous people?
Nev: I can best comment on the high conservation values. To the high conservation value, there’s obviously high conservation value number five and six, which looks at the basic needs of local communities, not just adat communities but all communities, and the cultural identity that natural resources, which Scott touched on earlier, that local communities have an identity with and regard as their traditional lands. Through our assessment, we try to define the difference between basic needs, where forests provide fiber, food, water, and other services which are vital for a community’s basic needs, and try to differentiate where values are just the area of land, which communities wish to convert into oil palm. We’re dealing with a case at the moment which is really testing us and pushing us outside our normal comfort zone with HCV and that’s a good thing for Indonesia because we need to tackle this. I wholeheartedly support Scott's comments. It's not easy. Earlier there was a question about is HCS and HCV enough? And the answer is it's never enough. We're in the field for a limited amount of time a lot of time, but a limited amount of time. The management and monitoring is pushing us more and more towards a multi-stakeholder approach where it's not just one organization setting recommendations, but a number of stakeholders within the landscapes where APP is working to identify the problems and manage and monitor them in a cooperative way. So, does HCS HCV impinge on the rights? I would hope that they are synchronous and they can work together with two approaches. HCV certainly should not. A lot of the HCV and HCS areas aren’t always going to be the same, but we're really trying to identify what the basic needs of these communities are and differentiate between claims which are aimed at expansion and development of oil palm not for basic needs. Again, we are not the only voice in the HCV process. It's an open transparent process where we have stakeholder consultations. The various cases which we got at the moment and we haven't taken to stakeholder consultation yet because we haven't finalized the report. But these points are going to be raised. They are difficult to answer and difficult to resolve. But I hope with a collaborative and multi-stakeholder approach it will be clearer and easier to be managed in the future. HCV, is it enough? No, it's never enough. That's why you have monitoring and recommendations. It's not just APP that should be monitoring. I really firmly believe that there’s a place for universities for local international NGOs to help with the monitoring process and to get familiar with these complex issues which are happening throughout Indonesia.
Rhett: So, to follow up on that, there are two questions. One from Forest Peoples Program and Riau NGOs. Let's start with APP on this. APP concessions often overlap these communities, so what's the process for airing complaints, resolving disputes and compensation? Then the other question is will APP restitute lands to communities whose lands were taken without their consent either due to APP or government, and if so what tenures will give them security over those lands in the future once they are returned. And will it be an unencumbered title to land that’s held by the previous inhabitants, will those rights be restored? I think I’ll start with you Aida.
Aida: We are committed to FPIC, Free and Prior Informed Consent, but the implementation of FPIC itself we have split into two. We implemented Free and Prior Informed Consent for a new development area, and for the existing areas we are implementing social conflict resolution procedure. You touched on the compensation side. We will not eliminate compensation as one of the possible solutions, but what we're trying to do right now is I think we already finalized the social conflict mapping where we identify each issue what stakeholder is involved and prioritize which conflicts that we need to address first. We have successfully done this in Jambi Province in Senyerang area and we will also try to resolve other property areas in Sumatra. If you ask me if this conversation is on the table, possibly, because we have to follow through the social conflict procedures properly and it could be one of the solutions identified. And then regarding land tenure and customary rights, it's really in the hands of the government.
COMMENTS FROM HADI DARYANTO, Secretary General of the Ministry of Forestry
I guess I'll become the translator now. There are several solutions for tenure conflicts. Number one basically to enclave the area that the indigenous community has claimed and will give them the guarantee for the tenure. Secondly, to develop a partnership program with license holders. And then thirdly, if this community is operating on unmanaged forest, then the government provide them the rights to manage the area as community forests and our other solution is basically to revise the special planning policy to suit the need for the community.
Rhett: So I was curious in asking the other panel members here about these community issues as far as overlapping claims are concerned. Do Greenpeace or RAN have thoughts on that?
Bustar: I'm glad that Pak Haki gave thoughts about this and us because I think in this conversation since the beginning it seems like it's only about APP, community, and forests. It seems like no government is regulating this whole area, which is, from my perspective, government playing a very key role here. Not only ministry of forestry, not only this national government, but what is most important is the local government in the kabupaten level. It is something that we have been facing a lot of challenge, especially after reformation, after autonomy that the power that the bupati have, for example, that something needs to be fixed. But, what is good here, company is already making a commitment. I think this is something that is good. For many years, I think Aida, including myself, also have been fighting how to make sure companies have strong commitment. And now there is a company like APP making this commitment and the challenge now is figuring out how the government official, the government people, local people are sitting together how to find solutions. So, I think this is something that is really important. And the second thing is, of course also special planning here is really important. As we mentioned here I think APP is only one thing. What we are thinking here is not only about APP, not stopping APP, but how to, what you call it, how to apply these formulas for as many companies as we can. If we found this model is good enough to find a good solution with the local people, but the most of the key thing is applying free prior and informed concern since the first time that the operation is start, something is must to be done before the operation is really, really happening.
Rhett: So we have about fifteen minutes left of this session so we should just try to keep our responses short at this point, if possible.
Lafcadio: I really value the input and also what everyone said on these issues. They are very, very challenging and I think that, I just wanted to add one thing about what's happening in Sinuating. Last time we talked with PPJ and some of the community representatives was back in November. We learned that just like with APP's commitments, when you reach an agreement with a community, you're just in the beginning of a process and so implementing those agreements once you get there is also going to be very challenging and it's going to require the type of cooperation that Bustar was talking about. I think it's between government, between local communities, civil society, and the company. So I just wanted to say that it's an achievement that there was an agreement reached and we have a lot more work to do.
Scott: Just a short input, if this is going to be an issue that confronts us more and more, we have now globally outside of Indonesia, more and more companies that are buying products from Indonesia, and other countries, making these no deforestation commitments buyers of the products so they're asking the suppliers like APP and other companies to do these things and I think it's coming more and more. And what we have with APP is an opportunity with the seriousness that the company is taking on this issue to get out there and try and grapple with these issues with the government, with the communities, with the civil society. The traditional view has been that communities want to protect the forest and a company comes in and chops it down. Not always the case. Often the communities do want to see the land made available into a cash crop like palm oil or like pulp and paper plantation. Often the companies want that too but they don't respect the rights of the people. APP's policies and the policies of companies like Gar, the sister company, Wilmar, who now buys a lot of palm oil from Indonesia, buyers like Nestle, Neste Oil, many other companies are asking for these things and I think, again what I keep coming back to is, the grueling work that's ahead, but the exciting opportunity that's presented by companies like APP leading on saying, we want to recognize the rights of the communities and we want to protect the forest. Those two things are often in conflict, but by working together as Bustar has mentioned, and with the involvement of the government, the communities and the NGOs, we will find a way. It might not protect all the forest because the communities may want some areas to be converted but hopefully we'll find a balance that's a good result for the forests, the communities, and Indonesia.
Rhett: Since Scott touched on a couple of issues here, the fact that this is an international issue and also the role of governments here so we do have a number of government representatives in the audience and I'd like to give an opportunity for them to give their perspective so specifically I would like to invite the ambassadors of the UK and Norway to give their perspectives on what's happening here so I'll start with Your Excellency from the UK if you're interested in saying a few things
H.E. Mark Canning (Ambassador of the UK): Thank you very much. The first thing I want to do is congratulate Linda [Wijaya] for her leadership on this. It shows what can happen when you put these things in the hands of women. I think this is such a big issue, it requires the government, it requires the private sector to work together. Neither of them could solve this on their own. They need to work together and I was very happy to be here a year ago when this initiative was being launched and I'm very happy to be here again because I think this is so important. It does not surprise me at all to hear the diversity of the opinion of the panel. I think this just reflects first, that this is the start of a long journey. It's going to take some time. It reflects the complexity on the ground, that we will have good and bad happening alongside each other. It’s going to take a long time to play out, but I think it’s so important for Indonesia, but I also think it’s so important for the rest of the world because increasingly companies like APP are starting to go into Africa and to other parts of the world, into Liberia for example. If you can get your practices right, if you can make them sustainable you become ambassadors for sustainability. So well done, keep that up, I’m very happy to be here to show that I’m behind you.
Rhett: Thank you very much. Your Excellency from Norway, would you like to say something?
H.E. Stig Traavik (Ambassador of Norway): Sometimes it’s easy to put a plan together. The problem is afterwards to remember where you put it. I think the important part, this is not only about the policy as such, as it’s about the implementation. You have shown that there is a willingness to address problems as they arise so well done on that. There’s openness to outside review and a track record of implementation. I think as Mark eluded to you’re playing in the world championship of sustainability. It’s not only about being best here but showing the way. And you’re doing an important job in that. I agree with Aida’s points about what important, but I’d like to touch on one of them and that is market recognition. One important part of market recognition is financial markets. And one interesting development last week was that one of Northern Europe’s biggest institutional investors divested from all oil palm companies except for one. That is something we’ve seen: increasing in institutional investors will choose to go sustainable because it is not sustainable to invest in unsustainable companies. Maybe I will ask two questions since you gave me the microphone. One is to what extent do you see that you’re getting recognition from the financial markets already, if any? And when you say market recognition what do you think are the important developments? Then specifically to civil society representatives, with regard to conflicts between with traditional rights and concession permits. The other issue is when you have encroachment on national parks and conservation areas where the encroachers don’t have traditional rights in the traditional sense of the word. How should these issues be addressed? Thank you.
Rhett: I’d just like to add that the Ambassador had an excellent op-ed today on these issues in the Jakarta Globe.
Aida: Yes, for the financial institutions. Recognition from the financial institutions has been very, very good. We had had issues in the past, possibly about a year ago because Greenpeace was very dedicated in launching reports of the reports every month. Since they stopped doing that last September they released a report commending our FCP implementation. These decision makers and financial institutions look at that as a really good improvement on the sustainability requirement that they asked us to comply. But just touching on the financial institutions, I think, yes I did say about market but I think both market and financial institutions need to develop a certain standard on sustainability. We don't want one financial institutions or other markets in other regions develop their different standards for sustainability. So if we all can get together and work together to develop the certain standard that is implemented for everybody, not just APP, not just companies in developing countries but also implemented to all natural resource based companies all over the world. That would be an ideal situation, thanks.
Rhett: So we only have about five minutes left of this session so we're quickly running out of time. I'd like to follow up, though, on this marketing question. So major customers haven't quite started coming back, yet, to APP and so, my question for the panel here is what needs to happen in order for customers to come back? What's really appropriate for that? So I guess I'll start with Lafcadio. What would it take for you to say it's okay for customers to come back to APP, given that you're still campaigning.
Lafcadio: We don't endorse companies for buying, really, but what we recommend what are the conditions under which they should consider it. And I think that we're really committed to APP, given the track record that's been mentioned, we think that commitment is not compliance. So we need to see verification. So we really are waiting for the results of the independent verification and I think that without having those results and given the, perhaps hundreds of land conflicts that may be in APP's concession, given the fact that management plans have not been developed and agreed with stakeholders for moving forward and we haven't seen the implementation of those plans yet, that it's really too soon, until we have verification on those issues, to tell. So I think that that's kind of the threshold that we're looking at and what I will say is that there has been a lot of progress. I was very impressed by Dewi’s presentation and just how much progress the company has made in setting up the systems and starting to collect the data, in putting the pieces in place that's going to be required but I think that we need to see actual implementation, which we haven't seen yet, it's just the pieces are in place. So that's our position, and I agree with Aida who earlier said when companies do go in they should set performance requirements for the company to keep motivation. In RAN's experience, though, it's more of a motivation for companies to implement their commitments when those contracts haven't come back rather than when they do, we've seen implementation slow down with several companies. So I think that's a lesson of how our criticism and our talking with the marketplace, we see ourselves as helping towards a solution and maintaining a pressure for implementation of the commitments.
Dito: Civil society or NGO's, RAN, Greenpeace, EPN, developed what was called the EPN milestones which defined the things that ideally we want to see happening and in those milestones. Among them, I think, are starting to be adopted by APP, one is about the independent verification. The other, I think, your statement today was something that was a nice surprise for me, that openly you're saying that about the context of the conservation and forest restoration, what I think what we need to do is spell that out more clearly. Again, I think it is a work in progress because there are still some things that for us is still worrying. I think one is about the ATVF and ATS, the ATVF has not been shared with the civil society so until now we don't really know what the quality of that work is. We are very interested to give positive inputs on those applications but the absence of that information leaves us in the big question mark because it's actually a core part of your FCP. So I think that our position with RAN is the same in this, is that we need to see these implementations and that the independent verification is also a key way to address this.
Rhett: So on the transparency front there was one question that came up from Greenomics and it was just, in the past APP wasn't always clear what companies APP owned or who supplied APP. So the question is, is what assurances can APP provide that those days are in the past and that you will be transparent about the companies that supply you and the companies that you own?
Dito: I think that.
Rhett: Sorry, that was directed to Aida, sorry.
Dito: Okay. Sorry.
Rhett: But you're free to answer.
Dito: Okay. Can I just very quickly, yeah. I think that, because it's related. It's about the context of us still being not one hundred percent sure. And today I think there was a report that was released by Greenomics about five concessions that were independent, were not part of the 38 concessions, and these things need to be clarified because it goes to the core of good faith and in the context of the transparency, what are the status because in the FCP the status of independent suppliers or directly owned companies is important because that's where you have that differentiation of what to do. So that's something that needs to be clarified and part of the reason why we're still speculative.
Aida: That’s ok, Dito, I'm used to it. To address the questions, number one is I just want to say something about, a lot of people today are saying that APP's intention is good, APP's policy is on paper but, you know, we have yet to see the implementation on the ground. That upsets me because we have worked very, very, very, hard in the last two years trying to make sure that deforestation activity has stopped. Natural forest moratorium remains very, very, effective. There is no conversion that has been done by our suppliers. To maintain zero deforestation in our supply chain is not easy. You have heard before about social conflicts, encroachment, and et cetera, et cetera. To maintain zero deforestation in our supply and that's a lot of hard work had already been done, so that's already very strong evidence that the core of the implementation of the forest conservation policy has been implemented and hopefully continues to be upheld. Regarding the report from Greenomics, transparency is a must. There are other NGO's calling APP's transparency as a radical transparency. No other companies in the world who posted a list of their suppliers and the maps of their suppliers on the web site for everybody to see. But regarding the ownership and transparency of the ownership, it's going to be part of the scope that will be evaluated by Rainforest Alliance. Rainforest Alliance is here maybe they can clarify a little bit more because Rainforest Alliance is a totally independent organization so the type of evaluation that they’re going to conduct is totally up to them, we have no rights to dictate them. But the other approach that we use is also in the dialogue that we are doing with FSC, the transparency and also ownership which has been reported by Greenomics this morning which will also be audited by a FSC team will have certain requirement for transparency to inform all interested stakeholders with the development as well. Thanks.
Rhett: One last question before we go to the audience here. This is actually a question from the World Economic forum. The question is, can APP business model change and is its roadmap and the forest conservation policy a potential model for other businesses and how would that fit in to something like the Tropical Forest Alliance in terms of moving toward zero deforestation industry wide? So that’s just an open question for the panel.
Bustar: I’ve been engaged in the campaign the last couple of years and I think the first company who’s making no deforestation commitment is Golden Agri Resources in 2010?
Bustar: 2011. Before that we’ve been doing a lot of hard campaign and talking with the company and then every single company that we meet with are saying what you are asking Greenpeace is impossible, it’s insane. Especially in the case of Indonesia. Then after that suddenly in 2011 GAR is saying we will produce no deforestation palm oil. We are doing HCS, HCVF, no Peatland. Several years after that APP has come on board also, no deforestation. So it means this is the proof that no deforestation product is possible for the country like Indonesia. It means also what has been happening now with GAR and APP and recently Wilmar also making a commitment as Mr. Ambassador. This is something we can learn, how to apply this also in the other country like Africa where the palm oil is now moving. I think we should be proud that this start from Indonesia where there are lots of problem that we face but we are trying to do something, to create something to making sure the environmental issue is there, the forest has been protected, community right is also protected, but also at the same time business can also still grow. What I’m saying is this is something possible to apply to the wider context anywhere, especially in the countries like Indonesia.
Nev: Yeah, I’d like to comment on that. This goes far beyond business. During assessments with visiting landscapes, which are verging on critical. There are movements toward sustainability but if other businesses and other stakeholders in the landscape don’t work together we’re going to see a general degradation. A good example is when one company occupies just a portion of a Peat dome. If other players within that Peat dome don’t have a similar management then the management within one hydrological unit is futile. You can slow the inevitable, you can slow down degradation. With the expanding pressure on some of these landscapes and climate change, what we’re seeing is its landscapes being driven to the point of collapse, losing their diversity, losing their productivity, and ultimately leading to poverty in Indonesia. APP has taken a bold step, that’s why Ekologica is helping them with recommendations for HCV, trying to develop sustainable landscapes, which ultimately is good for business for them, and hopefully for other players in that landscape, but everybody needs to work together here, so I think this is a good model. Yes, it’s not perfect, we’re working on it through stakeholder input. I think this is vital and I encourage other big business, other stakeholders, government, NGOs, to provide constructive inputs so we can help push the process forward. Thanks.
Scott: Just quick on this issue, I sat in the room a year ago and Aida and Pak Wikjaya were making the announcement. While everyone else was clapping I cheering I was finding myself sitting here thinking what are we going to do next? This is really something special so I was mindful of the implementation challenge that lay ahead. But I was also mindful of what other opportunities could arise. Ten months later to the day Wilmar made their announcement. Wilmar is the world’s largest palm oil company, trading 45% of the world of palm oil but it buys from probably about 80% of the world’s palm oil companies. They have a huge challenge ahead. If we think APP’s challenge is big, Wilmar is another level up. However, they’ve embraced the challenge and part of the courage they had to do so was because they knew APP and Golden Agri Resources were embarking on a similar challenge. I think it is coming. I think the discussion at Devos is very interesting this year and I believe more and more companies are looking at this saying we want that. Not only do we want it, we want to reward the companies, this comes back to market recognition. We want to reward the companies out in these places who are grappling with these very, very tough issues that we’ve discussed on the panel. We want to reward them by buying their products and giving them some encouragement. That was an outcome of the Devos meeting. I think that’s where it’s going to go, more of these buyers of products will be encouraging the producers to follow the lead of GAR, APP and now Wilmar.
Rhett: So I think it’s time to open up the floor to questions. Don’t be shy, the panel is ready for the hard questions.
Sergio Baffoni : Thank you, my name is Sergio Baffoni from the European Environmental Paper Network. I am pleased to see that restoration would be a key element in the policy. I would just like to ask, it may be difficult to restore all environmental factors that has been impacted this whole time. I would like to know if the company is going to have a wider approach to integrate conservation, restoration and compensation to a landscape plan vision not only at the union level.
Aida: The answer to that is yes, it’s part of the plan. First we need to finalize our high conservation value and high carbon stock assessment to identify where the natural forest is located, and then we’re going to have a look at the landscape level to prioritize which area might require certain management either in restorations or in any other high conservation value enhancement activities. And yes, we have also been thinking about supporting other natural forest concessions next to our concessions as well. But the very key issues here is there’s no such standard has been developed to calculate this. We need to have a proper mechanism of calculation on what kind of a restoration that can be done. RSPO has a draft that is still very early. We need to define what coefficients need to be implemented, we need to define what is the definition of natural forest being deforested. We are very, very happy that NGO's as a part of the Environmental Paper Network are willing to work with us to define this later on. Thanks.
Rhett: Next question.
Marcus Colchester: My name is Marcus Colchester from Forest Peoples Program. We can hear some really good things but we’ve also noted how very challenging it is to make this all work. We’re trying to reconcile massive fiber supply with high conservation values, which is a pretty new methodology with high carbon stock identification, which is very new. At the same time we’re trying to make sure the rights of communities are accommodated. We know there are hundreds of communities within these concessions. So far, which is great, becoming so engaged to resolve conflicts. We’ve heard that yes there are possibilities of providing secure tenure for these communities and I don’t think we’ve drilled down enough on that issue yet. If we’re going to have sustainability in the landscape like Neville was saying we’ve got to provide better security for the communities in the long term so they have a long term vision and a hope for themselves for managing their lands rather than just short term gains My question is really how do we scale this up as a multistakeholder process? My question is how do we really get there to make sure communities have a positive solution and not portrayed as part of the problem?
Aida: I actually would like to invite one of the members of the Forest Trust, our social expert, Mr. Agung, to help us with what you think to help us secure the needs of the community not only in our concessions but in Indonesia in general.
Agung Wiyono: (1:45:55)
Rhett: Thank you. Laf, do you want to respond?
Lafcadio: I just want to give one thing that some of groups that RAN works with, local NGOs and including WBH, Forest Peoples' Program, PPJ, and several others. We're trying to develop a monitoring network to look at these social issues, and also a skill sharing network to actually learn from cases in Reading, cases in Sinarong, cases in Raja Miliau, and so to exchange experience about how that's going and hopefully through that experience start to build skills and I think that's one way to start scaling it up that RAN and most importantly our Indonesian colleagues are starting to up the game in that respect, so I think that's hopeful, but there's a long way to go.
Aida: I would like to add something from what Mark said. We definitely do not see community as part of our problems. We see them as one of our key stakeholders to help us support the successful implementation of the integrated sustainable forest management that we are planning to do, just to clarify.
Rhett: More questions?
Paul Joesbury: Paul Joesbury from Chesapeake, we’re a packaging supply company. Some really good things have come out of today. One of the main things being you commitment to openness including independent review is really essential from my perspective as a buyer. But also the collaboration with Greenpeace. So my question for the panel, but also for Bustar specifically, from a buyer of paper products what should we be considering in terms of safeguards?
Bustar: Well, I think in our review, we strongly assist that, yes, you can start talk with APP, but also really looking at what is happening on the ground. I mean, rather than hear from us, better you go in there to see is APP really implementing their policy on the ground? So, I think this is something that's really important and secondly of course also, about the management plan of APP because this is something that APP has been doing now, developing the management plan after doing all the survey of the HCF, Free Prior Informed Consent, High Carbon stock, but in Pit land, but the management plan will tell you what APP will do next. So, I think this is something important that you would need to know to making sure that there's assurance when you start doing work with APP, then APP will keep continue the good thing that they're already doing in the past year.
Dito: From our perspective, I think we've mentioned this several times is that the key is for that independent verification that APP right now is starting to embark. And also, what's more technical on that, is actually what the indicators and how performance will be judged. So that is very important because we feel that it will be difficult for companies, to judge by themselves without these experts independently verifying for them. So that is where our concerns lie and that's where, we still say until now that for buyers, you should wait for this independent verification. The process is already in place, and we are very supportive that APP has agreed to adopt this and I think it will go a long way in the context of informing its potential buyers and investors.
Aida: Just to add a little bit to FPIC, yes I agree with Dito, and also Lafcadio that independent evaluation by Rainforest Alliance is key and very important, but we must not forget that APP has established several platforms to involve many, many stakeholders to independently monitor our progress as well. In addition to GFT, we also invite WWF and also Greenpeace to also independently monitor our implementation. And then as a buyer, just have a look at Greenpeace’s latest report in September to make decision.
Scott: Just to maybe build on what Aida said, I would say as a buyer there are many platforms. There’s the dashboard, there’s the upcoming independent monitoring. It’s been suggested that TFT is not particularly independent because APP pays it to do the work but it’s never been a problem when we’ve done work with other companies. Apparently it’s a problem now. We would happily advise you, honestly what we think the company is doing. I’d also ask you to look at the other people who you might buy from and ask are they having Rainforest Alliance come in and do an independent evaluation of them? Have they got a dashboard being open about their implementation of their policy? Are they trying to work with NGOs and local communities in grappling with tough situations? Do they have a forest conservation policy that’s equal to APPs? I would say you can do a lot of your own due diligence by also comparing where APP is with their competitors and I think one of the issues is that I would raise with Lafcadio and Dito is the need to be consistent in what they ask APP to do. We can tie the company up in circles for the next ten years, and what they ask other companies to do. I think there needs to be an urgent look at the consistency. The European Paper Network that Sergio has put together, when they came out we thought positive document and useful. How does the rest of the world, including North America and Europe, stack up against those milestones? I don’t say APP hits them all at the moment. I don’t say APP hits them all at the moment but I’ll tell you that there’s a firm commitment to meet them and have dialogue with Sergio and his team and the NGOs to understand how we can do it. I applaud the transparency and openness that APP is taking. I wonder if their competitors and market are doing the same thing. You can probably judge that better than me.
Lafcadio: I usually agree with Scott, and find myself agreeing again in this respect, that I think that the performance milestones that we’ve set out, we are committed to applying those across the board, whether it’s North America, whether it’s South America, whether it’s Africa or whether it’s the Asia Pacific. That’s certainly our intention and when we develop those we actually talked about and thanks to Bustar and his team’s input, and Dito and his team’s input and Sergio and their input that was one of our benchmarks is actually ok, are we going to apply this across the board? That’s fully our intention and that might be another useful tool in just having a checklist of what kind of things are we looking for. Are the environmental and social rights community looking for in terms of performance of companies, not only APP but April and North American companies like International Paper and Kimberly Clark.
Rhett: So we have time for two more questions then we’re going to come back to the panel for a final question.
Nicole Rycroft (Canopy): I have a question for Aida. I’m the Executive Director at Canopy. We’re an international NGO and we currently work with 700 major customers of the global development paper industry. We’ve been tracking you for quite some time. I think all of us in this room are quite aware of the change management can be really challenging with an initiative of this scale and this scope. I think your calling is a great job and I think some of the successes that you’ve had over the last year and I’m cognizant of that, sometimes it’s where we fall short of our goals that we find the most interesting lessons, so I’m hoping that you’d be willing to share two or three of the most spectacular failures over the last year, and what lessons you’ve learned from them and what contributed to your success this year.
Aida: How do I start? Spectacular failures. The first spectacular failure that happened to our forest conservation policy was that it happened a couple months after we launched our policy, that we realized that our procedures needed a lot of improvement. At that time I think it was WWF who exposed the conversion happening in community forest and that it was not recorded properly. It was not assessed properly by our joint team between APP and TFT. As a result we learned from it and improved our procedure to ensure that it will not happen again. Second spectacular failure is the lack of mapping. When we launched our policy in February 2013, we didn’t have much time to collect all of the information required by our suppliers. It was the decision and also the socializing. Our decision was done in a very short time, probably three to six months to all of our suppliers. So we didn’t have time to collect all of the information what is actually happening in each concession. So again, it was also reported by an NGO that there is an issue with overlapping concession. Again, based on that, we learned from it and we improved our policy. Now we finished the mapping of the overlapping licenses and overlapping land uses across our supply chain. Identified them and started talking to the local government and also central government, and also all of these companies on how to resolve issues. Thank you.
Ika (audience member): I want to apologize first in case what I ask is upsetting. As we all know APP and Greenpeace used to be enemies and finally you decided to bury the hatch and work on this policy. But there an unpleasant rumor has spread that the process is not transparent at all and there is some secret “fine” between APP and all the NGO’s. This is your opportunity to clarify those rumors and what is your reaction to those rumors? Thank you.
Aida: Thank you. Don’t worry, I’m not upset. It’s very hard to make me upset. We have very strong grievance procedure for all these claims. Unfortunately, we have yet to hear this complaint. So if anybody makes such complaint or hear anything about this, please feel free to submit it to our grievance process or system and we will look at it as well. And if there is any evidence, again, we are very transparent. If there is any additional evaluation need to be done, we are very open. But I don’t know. Maybe Bustar you can help clarify this. I don’t recall ever giving you any money at all.
Bustar: When I hear this my mind is flying to Papua and Raja Ampat sitting on the beach, laying down. Because, a lot of money already. But I’m still here. Well, it’s not true more. It’s there. I mean people saying it openly. So it’s not secret. People saying that openly everywhere. So I’m proud to say that Greenpeace is support by 30,000 Indonesian people to run the operation here in Indonesia. So we get our money from the normal people who is walking on the street, who went to the university, in the middle living class in Indonesia who donate to us 100,000 rupiah a month for one year contract. So that is where our money’s coming from. And some support from the US office, from Greenpeace International. Greenpeace policy is not receiving money from the company and the government, and then globally we have like three million people that’s supporting us, donating to us. And we have people on the street who asking for support. Here also in Indonesia. So in Indonesia we have 30,000 people who support us in a day-to-day basis in our operation. So that is where our money is coming from. And then, yeah, our audit is on public, it’s on our website, you can see it. You can access that. Because this kind of question is not the first time it’s come to us. Which is, maybe some people are surprised after Greenpeace doing action and now working together with the company. I think I mentioned this earlier. In this collaboration. I call it collaboration, no any single paper signed by Greenpeace, none. No any single paper. And even that usually the company decide what they call in the air right.
Bustar: Non-disclosure agreement. Greenpeace has not signed any non-disclosure agreement when we did the collaboration. We all built this on trust, when APP shared to us information, that’s because APP share that we trust to us and same also when we tell APP yes, we give you sometimes to implement this we stop campaign. That’s also we trust and we apply that no campaign is happening while APP is implementing this. So I will assure you there is no money involved on this and we our support is coming from our 30,000 supporters Indonesian people to support our operation here in Indonesia.
Rhett: Well thank you for your questions. I'm sorry we don't have time for more. I want to return to the panel for one final question and get everyone’s response. So the question is in your view what needs to happen in coming months to ensure forests and communities in Indonesia are better protected a year from now than they are today, and what role does the does APP's FCP play in that effort and the last part of that question is what is your organization’s role in contributing to that end?
Scott: Well I think the challenge in the coming months the key challenges will obviously just continue the work that is ongoing. That is Dewi and Elim’s presentation you saw the amount of work that’s going on, so we’ve got to continue that because I think it’s not just APP that will be measured by the delivery of the policy, but there are a lot of companies looking at this and saying can anyone deliver this policy? So we talked about the uptake of these no deforestation policies more globally, so the success in that, which I think we all want, lives or dies on the basis of whether APP and GAR particularly and also Wilmar who are implementing these things can deliver. So I think we’ve just got to keep focused on that but I think the key issue has been raised and it has come very forcibly to our attention really. I think we’ve been long focused on the forests Marcus Colchester has raised the point about the role of the communities the HCS is throwing this into its just stark white for us that we have to do a better job of trying to reconcile this community desires for their customary lands and the need to conserve forests. This is a conflict that has hit us in the face in the last few months as we’ve embarked on the forest conservation policy. I think that’s the key focus. How to solve it is really to work together because no single organization has the answer. Marcus has done a lot of this work and he’s got some good experience, Agung has mentioned some of our work, APP has relationship with these communities, TAN has got good relationships with a lot of the local NGOs, WWF too. This is a problem we need to solve because if we don't solve it the risk is it will just degenerate into further conflict and there will be unhappiness and grief and everyone will say yeah that no deforestation thing didn't work. I think that would be a tragedy for the world. Because it is going into Africa. Palm oil companies are going into Africa. This applies in Latin America, this applies in my country Australia. This is a critical moment for the world to come to grips with deforestation, and our role, TFT's role in it is to try and help that delivery. Get out in the forest, get out in the field, get out in the plantations, get out in the communities, in the factories, and work with people and try to bring people into that middle ground. I think we can be very clear that Greenpeace and WWF and RAN campaigns have been a critical ingredient in bringing APP to this place, but having made the commitment, I think the time of the sword is over. Put the sword down and get together and solve the problems because this is an opportunity that has never been presented to the world before to try and deal with the issue of deforestation and the community conflict that Marcus has raised. Put the sword down doesn't mean you have got to go endorsing them and encouraging everyone to come buying for them because you know that’s your business, but get together and have a genuine real commitment in a room and out in the field, out in the forest, out in the village houses, to solve that particular issue because if we solve that we unlock the whole path to no deforestation for the global community, not just Indonesia. That’s the prize that awaits us and TFT will be focusing on the overall delivery of the FCP but we’ll be putting renewed emphasis on trying to solve that particular problem in the coming 12 months
Lafcadio: I’m just actually going to echo something because I think that the challenge will be can we, working together with Wilmar, GAR, APP, kick start something bigger in the nation? And I think that that’s going to be the real challenge over the next year. There's going to be a lot of challenges with the details of implementing the FCP, with the details of figuring out those management plans of doing landscape restoration, but, I think how do we use this to transform, to build on what you were saying? How do we use this to transform through APP's leadership, through these other companies' leadership, what government, how government is looking at this problem. How civil society is looking at this set of problems and, I agree, work together and take our different roles to actually move the ball down the field, and I believe it is a huge opportunity.
Bustar: I think, again as I am saying earlier, a couple of years ago people are saying it is impossible, now is possible. So if there's any company who’s involved in the natural resources based sector, if you're saying that no deforestation product is impossible, I think we have the proof, I mean we have, all can agree, we have APP now, we have Wilmar can commit on that, so I think there is no more excuse to say that no deforestation is impossible. Same also for the market. I mean your choice to decide you want to go to buy product involved in the deforestation and maybe our activists will come to your store, or start supporting a company who doing real to stop deforestation. And I think as Laf and Scott mentioned, I think working together is important. I think the role, again the role, of the government is really key here. Not only company and civil society and the community because we have our government, in the case of Indonesia, we have election this year and we should support the government. And stop taking, I mean especially from the company who operate on the ground, stop taking any advantage and benefit from the lack of the governance that we have in Indonesia. We should support our government to be strong, to do law enforcement, to support for the achievement of the zero deforestation.
Dito: Our work in Indonesia I think is very broad corporate engagement like the ones in the context of APP is among an important part of that. And as mentioned from the very beginning we are cautiously welcoming the commitments that APP has made. Yes. Cautiously welcoming. In that context we see that there is opportunity. The opportunity to turn the leaf. Now, in that sense, we're at the position where you know, hopefully things will get better. In Indonesia I think it's important the private sector is an important player, and if the private sector with the government can work in the unity in pushing those policies forward, I think there is much chance and better hope. So in our work we also work on the context of spacial planning. We also work on the context of law enforcement. There are now rays of light, you know, there is now that KPK is out there. Which I think will bring a benefit to us in the context of working on the natural resource, because corruption is one area that completely screws everything up. It doesn't build that level playing field, and because there is still that corruption other players can do rotten stuff, and that's where I think civil society and the market strength can transcend all that and be a force to try to make that change. So I'm leaving this meeting feeling hopeful and that a big part or a piece of the puzzle is moving in the right direction, so I think that would be my comment for that.
Nev: I think I'll just echo what you guys have already said. We’re left with the challenge of the next five months of, five, six months of wrapping up the assessments that are already underway, that’s relatively easy, in inverted commas. Takes a lot of effort but the real challenge ahead is how to integrate the recommendations from that inter-management, and importantly for monitoring.
Rhett: So I believe you have some final words, what did you take away from this today?
Aida: Well, that cross sector collaboration is key for the future of Indonesia's forest. Gar, Wilmar, APP are not enough, so we have to urge other companies to implement the real zero de-forestation which means stop conversion now. Not in the next year, not in the next five years, not in 2020. And then also help, I agree with Bustar, that the government policy, the government needs to help to resolve land tenure and special planning problems. NGO's need to continue to attack companies which are not responsible and not attacking companies that are trying to reform, Lafcadio. I think that's all from me.
Rhett: Very well, well thank you. So, thanks again for participating in this excellent debate. So now you know, I know that Philip Scott, Thanks again. So with the conclusion of this, well first I just want to tell you that it’s a surprisingly civil debate, I was expecting more bloodshed but I thought it went really well, so thanks again. We’re at the end of the event today, I'd like to thank everyone for attending and please feel free to join us for the buffet dinner in the next room, so thanks again.
|AUTHOR: Rhett Butler founded Mongabay in 1999. He currently serves as president, head writer, and chief editor.|