Rainforest in Sumatra.
The Forest Trust (TFT), the NGO that brokered Asia Pulp & Paper’s no deforestation commitment in February 2013, will produce monthly updates on Indonesian forestry giant progress toward avoiding conversion of natural forests and reducing social conflict with communities. The reports aim to both allay fears among some environmental groups that APP will not respect the commitment and advance the paper producer’s goal of eliminating rainforest and peatland destruction from its supply chain.
TFT published the first update [PDF] this week. The report says that APP and TFT have been meeting with local civil society organizations to explain the policy and discuss the monitoring process. The report notes several other significant developments, including inventorying over 570 wood extraction machines, which are now idle; developing a wood tracking system; inventorying and mapping the location of all stocks of natural forest logs within APP’s supply chain cut before 2013, including over a million cubic meters of fiber; and documenting the “clearance boundaries” for all concessions that were suppling APP with natural forest timber.
The report also says that high conservation value assessments are currently underway for 38 APP suppliers and that APP has funded the acquisition of high resolution SPOT 5 satellite data for the areas from which APP sources fiber.
APP has also set up process for handling complaints as well as addressing conflict.
Rainforest in Sumatra.
In a letter to Mongabay.com, Aida Greenbury, Asia Pulp and Paper’s Managing Director for Sustainability, explained the aim of the reports.
February 5th this year was probably the most important day in the history of APP. We published our new Forest Conservation Policy, the most significant part of which was the announcement of an immediate end to all natural forest clearance throughout our entire supply chain. This means we are two years ahead of our target date, set out in our Vision 2020’ Sustainability Roadmap, published last June.
We also announced that all High Conservation Value forests, including those on peatland, would be protected, that a High Carbon Stock Assessment would be undertaken and that the company would adopt best practice rights for indigenous people. Finally, and crucially, all monitoring would be undertaken by independent NGOs.
We know that the world of sustainability – NGOs, businesses, governments, campaigners and communities – are watching us and are closely monitoring our progress. Our key partner in this is The Forest Trust (TFT), and they have been instrumental in getting us to this point. They are also instrumental in how far and fast we go in implementing our new policy, and have already started work on the ground and in the air to deliver the very considerable amount of data needed.
They have committed to producing a monthly report which will cover progress on all three main planks of our policy – HCVF and HCS Forest analysis; peatland management; and social and community engagement. I am pleased to let you know that TFT’s first report is now available and you can access it at www.tft-forests.org, and www.asiapulppaper.com.
We welcome your comments, contributions, questions, and criticisms. This is an entirely transparent process for us, and we know we are on a long journey, for which we will need all the support and advice you can give us. TFT’s reports will continue to appear monthly, and we will also provide a comprehensive update, in detail – in June this year.
APP’s policy comes after a long-running campaign by environmentalists over its forestry practices, which often involved clearing natural forests and peatlands for both fiber and the establishment of industrial timber plantations. By one estimate, APP’s paper production since 1984 consumed more than two million hectares of forest.
However, APP’s record became an increasing liability in recent years: campaigns by green groups cost it more than 100 major customers. With the toll rising, and the area of natural forest within its supplier concessions dwindling, APP announced its forest conservation policy this past February. The policy was immediately met by skepticism by many groups, but doubts were moderated to a degree by APP’s chief agitator, Greenpeace, suspending its campaign against the paper giant. Greenpeace is now involved with monitoring APP’s compliance with the agreement.
Nonetheless the pact has not allayed all concerns about APP. Earlier this week Greenomics, an Indonesian activist group, issued a report arguing the reason APP signed the agreement was it had already cleared nearly all the non-protected forest within its concessions in Sumatra. Other analysis by Greenpeace and TFT suggest that the policy will spare over 100,000 ha of APP concessions in Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. The policy also applies to all fiber sourcing going forward, so any future APP expansion anywhere in the world would have to avoid conversion of high conservation and high carbon stock forest.
APP conservation policy came after it pulped most of its forests
(03/19/2013) Asia Pulp & Paper’s widely heralded forest conservation policy came after the forestry giant had already cleared nearly all of the legally protected forests within its concessions in Sumatra, alleges a new report published by Greenomics, an Indonesian environmental group.
Is APP deal a sign of a changing forestry sector?
(02/15/2013) Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), one of the world’s largest paper companies, announced earlier this month that it will no longer cut down natural forests in Indonesia and will demand similar commitments from its suppliers. The announcement was received with guarded optimism by Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, World Wildlife Fund, and other NGOs who have waged a persistent campaign to change APP’s forest policies.
After Indonesian paper giant commits to no deforestation, pressure mounts on its biggest competitor
(02/12/2013) After Indonesian paper giant Asia Pulp & Paper’s announcement last week that it will no longer source fiber produced from destruction of tropical rainforests, environmental groups are now urging Indonesia’s other major paper company to make a similar commitment. On Tuesday, WWF echoed Greenpeace’s call for Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain. Like APP, APRIL has been linked to large-scale conversion of Sumatra’s endangered rainforests for industrial tree plantations to produce pulp and paper.
The beginning of the end of deforestation in Indonesia?
(02/05/2013) Asia Pulp & Paper, a forestry giant that has been widely criticized for its role in driving deforestation and contributing to social conflict in Indonesia, today announced a zero deforestation policy that could have a dramatic impact on efforts to slow the Southeast Asian nation’s high rate of deforestation. The policy, which went into effect February 1, is ambitious enough that one of APP’s most vocal critics and agitators, Greenpeace, will suspend its highly-damaging campaign against the paper giant. The campaign against APP has cost the paper giant tens of millions of dollars in lost business since 2009. The new policy targets several of the major criticisms against APP, including deforestation, degradation of high carbon peatlands, conservation of critical wildlife habitat, and social conflict with local communities.