Recent large-scale clearance of peatland forest inside a PT. Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (PT RAPP) pulpwood concession on Pulau Pedang. © Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace.
Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited’s forest policy allows the Singapore-based pulp and paper giant to continue destroying rainforests and peatlands for industrial plantations, argues a letter published by an international coalition of environmental groups.
The letter, released today, highlights a dozen concerns over APRIL’s policy, including a lack of a moratorium on natural forest conversion, failure to identify and protect high carbon stock (HCS) areas, and unclear commitments on resolving social conflicts and embracing the concept of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) from affected local communities. It says that the policy appears to be so narrowly constructed that it may not apply to APRIL’s sister companies or suppliers.
Canal construction through peatland forest inside a PT. Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (PT RAPP) pulpwood concession on Pulau Pedang, Bengkalis Regency, Riau Province located at 1°0’51″N 102°19’50″E. © Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace.
The letter — signed by Huma, Forest Peoples Program, Rainforest Action Network, Wahana Bumi Hijau, Scale Up, Jaringan Masyarakat Gambut Jambi, Jaringan Masyarakat Gambut Riau, and Pusaka — also takes issue with the Stakeholder Advisory Committee APRIL established ostensibly to help guide development and implementation of the policy.
“Though the establishment of a Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) is welcome, it is insufficient to ensure good corporate governance and transparency,” states the letter. “We therefore lack confidence that the SAC will have the independence, make up, authority and mandate to address the policy concerns and recommendations listed above.”
“If the public communications associated with the first meeting of the SAC are an indicator, we have grave concerns that the SAC is being used to rubber stamp APRIL positions and decisions and is being used as a tool to conduct pubic relations by the company.”
The letter comes just days after Greenpece documented APRIL-owned PT. Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper destroying peat forest on Pulau Padang, an island off Sumatra. In response to the report, APRIL said the clearing was in line with its forest conservation policy.
APRIL has long been targeted by environmentalists and conservation scientists for its forest management practices. It has been blamed for converting hundreds of thousands of hectares of rainforest and peatlands in Sumatra for industrial eucalyptus and acacia plantations.