Monday, May 06, 2013
Eleven social and environmental civil society groups and networks sent a joint letter to Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) on 24 April 2013, explaining the substantial social and conservation issues APP has failed to address adequately in its Forest Conservation Policy and associated documents. On 5 February 2013, the Sinar Mas Group’s Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) published a new “Forest Conservation Policy” (FCP). Since then, SMG/APP organized several “focus group discussion” meetings with various Indonesian NGOs to socialize their policy and the “Standard Operational Procedures (SOP)” or Protocols it developed to implement it. Summarizing their responses to these meetings, the NGOs stated “considering how important and fundamental these issues are, we would like to ask APP to pay serious attention to these notes prior to enacting those protocols”. Key issues raised by CSOs mostly based in Sumatra and Borneo included: * Weaknesses in APP’s definition of FPIC (Free, Prior and Informed Consent) and its guideline to implement it. Weaknesses in APP’s SOP to resolve tenure conflicts, most importantly its reliance on formal legal/litigation approach which has been proven to fail. * Lack of conservation benefits of the FCP for Sumatra’s ecosystems and unclear benefits for Kalimantan. Lack of a restoration commitment and provisions for remedying the damages to biodiversity, peat ecosystems and tenure rights caused by the millions of hectares of natural forest cleared to supply mixed tropical hardwood (MTH) to APP’s pulp mills. - Potential to continue sourcing MTH in violation of FCP due to lack of commitment to stop all MTH supply to all mills, combined with incomplete, weak, non-transparent and not independent monitoring. * Potential expansion of APP’s pulp and paper production worldwide combined with lack of information on the origin of the wood to cover such expansion, and lack of any conservation commitment covering wood sources outside of Indonesia. * Lack of evaluation of below ground carbon stocks in peat soils in APP suppliers’ existing plantations and of greenhouse gas emissions from their existing plantations on peat and surrounding peat areas impacted by them, and lack of commitment to reduce such emissions. NGOs concluded that “APP has to acknowledge and redress the vast environmental and social damages that were caused by the company’s practices and to make ecosystem rehabilitation and the resolution of social conflicts the core of its new policy. The company’s performance will be measured against those benchmarks.” The NGOs made specific recommendations for changes to APP’s policy and its implementation necessary to show at least on paper that APP is committed to supply responsible pulp and paper. Burung Indonesia, Huma, Jikalahari, JPIK Focal Point Kalimantan Barat, Link-AR Borneo, Sampan, Scale Up, Titian, Wahana Bumi Hijau, Warsi and WWF Indonesia are NGOs signed the letter.
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Not much forest to protect in APP new policy
The Indonesian NGOs coalition Eyes on the Forest published today a new report on Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) deforestation record in Riau and response to company’s forest conservation policy as the coalition said it protected “at most 5,000 hectares of natural forest. The EoF new report, Where are the trees?. disclosed that almost three decades of natural forest pulping by SMG/APP on forests, wildlife and peat soils in Riau, the company’s suppliers’ concessions lost 683,281 ha of natural forest between 1985 and 2012. Of that, 77% was lost in legally questionable ways as these forests had been protected by the TGHK spatial plan, the >3m peat depth limit, and/or the 10% minimum concession forest cover limit. 83% was lost in Sumatran tiger and elephant habitats, 77% was lost on peat. “Our analysis found that the policy protects at most 5,000 hectares of natural forest in Riau Province, in stark contrast with more than 1.4 million hectares of deforestation we estimate the company’s pulp production in the province has caused,” says Muslim Rasyid of Jikalahari in a press release. EoF identified 21 pulpwood plantation supplier companies for SMG/APP in Riau. Their concessions covered 929,204 ha and had 188,634 ha of natural forest remaining in 2012. 89% of the remaining forest should not be cleared as they are protected by law and additional 8% protected by APP’s own previous commitments. The company’s new policy at most protects an additional 5,171 ha. These forests are small fragments scattered across several concessions, possibly too small to make a meaningful contribution to ecosystem conservation or even to survive. In conclusion, SMG/APP’s FCP has come too late for the tropical ecosystems damaged in the suppliers’ concessions in Sumatra. Combined with the lack of restoration commitment, the conservation benefits of the policy for the company’s historical operational area Sumatra are minimal. EoF calls on SMG/APP to restore selected peatlands and forests lost in protected, High Carbon Stock and High Conservation Value areas in suppliers’ concessions; stop accepting all tropical forest fiber at all mills by 5 May 2013; mitigate the damages their roads and canals cause to surrounding natural forests, peat soils and wildlife; and provide detailed information on existing and new concession areas and mill expansion plans in Indonesia to allow truly independent monitoring and evaluation of conservation benefits of the FCP. EoF recommends that APP buyers and other business partners not buy SMG/APP’s products until truly independent monitoring has confirmed that the company has met the above calls and successfully implemented them.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Forest logging moratorium violated by APP in Kalimantan, according NGOs
A consortium of “Kalimantan Forest Monitoring NGOs (RPHK)” in West Kalimantan lodged their protest over the Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) announced by Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) in February. RPHK members found two independent suppliers of APP in West Kalimantan, PT Asia Tani Persada (ATP) and PT Daya Tani Kalbar (DTK), to be still logging natural forest, clearing the land and digging deep peat canals after the 1 February, clearance moratorium date initiated by APP. Point 1 of APP’s Moratorium Clearance Protocol Document stated “Logging and land clearing was discontinued after January 31, 2013. Either in areas of natural forest stands, areas of Open Land (LT) and Young Scrub (BM) until there is verification". On peatland management, APP’s FCP stated “no further canal or other infrastructure activities will take place within undeveloped suppliers’ concessions on non-forested peatland until independent HCVF assessments including input from peat experts has been completed”. Meanwhile, Point 2 of the document stated that “All heavy equipment (A2B) which are used for logging activities, land clearing, road and canal development (corresponding to the list that has been submitted) will be stored in pre-determined areas”. In March 2013, RPHK conducted monitoring on three of APP’s supplier companies in West Kalimantan and found two of them to be still cutting down the natural forest and digging new canals in peatland. These findings are well recorded on videos and photos on how those heavy machineries are still operating in these concession areas. "We are really concerned to see how heavy equipments are still actively clearing natural forest, digging peat canals in two suppliers’ concessions,” said Baruni Hendri, spokesperson of RPHK consortium. “Our findings showed that APP is not serious to implement their conservation policy, thus RPHK – as a part of the civil society – doubts APP’s sincerity in the implementation of their commitment”, Hendri added. "We call on global buyers of pulp and paper to remain skeptical and await independent verification by independent NGOs of the field implementation of APP’s FCP before making any new purchasing decision. Continued forest clearance and peat canal development by APP suppliers without any HCV, HCS and peat study sends a bad signal about the implementation of APP's commitment to conservation that has been broadcasted around the world, " Anton P. Wijaya, Director Executive of WALHI (Friends of Earth Indonesia) chapter West Kalimantan. RHPK commits to keep monitoring APP’s performance closely and to continue to provide the latest updates to the public.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
A brand new policy or "artful deception"?
Is the new policy announced by paper giant Asia Pulp & Paper' (APP) a milestone in protecting rain-forests? or is it "artful deception" as portrayed by Greenomics Indonesia? According to a report released by the Indonesian NGO, the new policy came after the forestry giant had already cleared nearly all of the natural forests available in its concessions in Sumatra. The report is based on analysis of Ministry of Forestry data and satellite imagery for ten APP companies in Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra on the island of Sumatra. Greenomics says satellite data indicate that surviving natural forest and peatland within concessions that supply APP consist of areas that are where the company cannot operate. Accordint to the study, the natural forest and forested peatland that remains in the concessions of APP's suppliers on the island of Sumatra consist of: 1) legally designated protection zones that have been retained with the approval of the Ministry of Forestry, granted long before the launch of the New APP Forest Conservation Policy, 2) areas affected by conflicts with local communities/third parties, 3) areas that are inaccessible due to lack of roads, or 4) areas in respect of which repeated attempts at clearance have been made, but to no avail, such as in the case of anticipated criticism of the clearance of deep forested peatland which was later turned into a protection zone with the approval of the Ministry of Forestry. Greenomics argues that the findings suggest that APP waited until after it had cleared as much forest as possible before establishing its forest conservation policy, which limits conversion of high carbon lands, high conservation value forest, and conflict zones. "It would appear that commitment to the New APP Forest Conservation Policy was delayed until the clearance of natural forest and forested peatland for the development of pulpwood plantations had been completed." concludes the report "The natural forest fiber resulting from such clearances has come in very useful as a source of raw material for APP operations, particularly for 2013." "Between our APP team, The Forest Trust (TFT) and HCV assessors, we have over 200 people working on the ground right now," Aida Greenbury, APP Managing Director for Sustainability, told mongabay.com. "They are tasked with mapping natural forest boundaries and the complex process of HCS and HCV evaluations." "Our initial satellite image analysis on the 15 concessions which were converting natural forests prior to February 1st 2013, shows that, as a result of our Forest Conservation Policy, there are substantial natural forest areas left protected throughout Sumatra and West Kalimantan. We will continue to report our progress as each element of our program is completed." Greenbury added that initial analysis from TFT suggests the amount of forest which will be protected as a result of the new policy is between 150,000 and 250,000 hectares across the two islands.
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Joint effort on Indonesian rainforest pays off
After years of campaigning by Indonesian and international environmental and social non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the largest paper company in Asia, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) has announced a new Forest Conservation Policy which - among other commitments - extends an immediate moratorium on logging in natural forests to all its suppliers. The controversial paper company was blamed for causing the destruction of up to two million hectares of rainforests in Sumatra, threatening the last habitat of the Sumatran tiger, displacing local communities and causing conflicts and fatalities, and releasing huge amounts of greenhouse gases by converting peatland forests into plantations. Sergio Baffoni of the European Environmental Paper Network (EEPN) said, "It is great to see that the joint effort of many NGOs in Indonesia, Europe and elsewhere, has finally opened the way for a solution. It is difficult to say now if this announcement will really bring about a solution; only its implementation in the field will prove that. Meanwhile we advise companies to keep avoiding any business with APP. "Unfortunately, APP has a long history of making commitments to WWF, customers and other stakeholders that it has failed to live up to. We hope this time the company does what it promised." commented Nazir Foead of WWF Indonesia. "APP will not be seen as a responsible company in the marketplace until its new commitments are implemented and resolve the devastating rainforest and human rights crises it has caused in Indonesia." added Lafcadio Cortesi, of Rainforest Action Network. Even Greenpeace, which negotiated with APP, and hailed the announcement as a major breakthrough in protection for Indonesia’s remaining rain forests, still seems to be cautious: "It’s what happens in the forest that counts and we will be monitoring progress closely, " said Bustar Maitar, of Geenpeace Indonesia. APP has also committed to work with indigenous communities to protect their traditional lands, to ensure that all affected communities give Fully and Prior Informed Consent to changes in land use and that the legacy of social conflicts are resolved. It has also agreed to protect forested peatland. APP, which is part of the Sinar Mas conglomerate, is now the third-largest and pulp and paper company in the world, a position achieved by clear-cutting precious Indonesian rainforests. By declaring that it now has sufficient plantation areas to meet the long term demand for their own pulp mills, it admits it has now cleared all the land it needs for plantations. The company has clearly recognised that its bad reputation is an obstacle to expansion of the market for its products and to finding investors for new projects, and this has led to the new forest policy. There is however a further risk in this process: if the new policy will gain APP access to markets and investors, this will result in a further increase in demand for productivity. The company is already seeking investors to build new mills, including a new pulp mill in South Sumatra with a productivity of two millions tons of pulp per year, which would make it the biggest production line in the world. Sergio Baffoni said, "Ironically, if the new APP forest policy sends a positive message to investors and the mill goes ahead, this could represent the major threat to the policy's implementation, by increasing its need for wood fibers, and thus tempting APP to breach its own commitments." More than 60 NGOs recently wrote an open letter to investors warning of the risks of investment in this new mill.
Friday, February 01, 2013
HarperCollins prohibits sourcing from Indonesian tropical rainforests
HarperCollins' recent public commitment to no longer source paper connected to endangered rainforests signifies a fundamental, sector-wide shift in the US publishing industry. This move by HarperCollins is on the heels of a major announcement in October by Disney, which released a comprehensive global paper policy covering the company’s vast array of businesses and licensees. Over the last months, the top ten publishers in the country, including Hachette Book Group, Pearson, and Simon & Schuster, agreed to adopt commitments to stop buying paper connected to the loss of Indonesian rainforests. Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL) together produce upwards of 80 percent of Indonesia’s pulp and paper, and are the main source of both MTH and acacia pulp found in the global marketplace. Both companies are responsible for widespread deforestation and displacement of forest communities from their land. Habitat destruction by these companies is a leading threat to the survival of the Sumatran tiger, of which scientists estimate only a few hundred remain. Just over two years ago, independent fiber tests revealed paper linked to Indonesian rainforest destruction in books sold by nearly all top American publishers. In December of 2012, independent forensic fiber tests, commissioned by Rainforest Action Network (RAN), revealed significant quantities of Mixed Tropical Hardwood (MTH) and acacia fiber in the paper of some of HarperCollins’ best selling books. Following the release of these results, HarperCollins has become the latest top publisher to update its paper policy, stating that it “prohibits sourcing from Indonesian tropical rainforests, old growth and/or endangered forests for [its] products, and has instituted a program of random fiber testing of books to ensure [its] product is free of tropical hardwood fiber.” “All of the top ten US publishers in the country now recognize that customers will not accept books with paper that comes from the destruction of endangered rainforests. This is a seismic shift in an industry that just two years ago was rife with controversial paper,” said Robin Averbeck, a Forest Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network, which has been working with publishers on this shift. “US publishers are sending a loud and clear message to forest destroying paper companies like Asia Pulp and Paper and APRIL that consumers are demanding rainforest safe paper.” Rainforest Action Network first alerted the US publishing industry to problems in its paper supply chains in May of 2010 with a report titled Turning the Page on Rainforest Destruction: Children’s books and the future of Indonesia’s rainforests. “While the real impact of HarperCollins’ commitments will be determined by their implementation, Rainforest Action Network is encouraged that the company has joined its publishing peers by prohibiting the use of paper sourced from Indonesia’s endangered rainforests.” Indonesia is home to some of the most biologically diverse forests in the world but it also has one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation. The Indonesian government estimates that more than a million hectares of rainforests are being cleared every year. Logging for pulp, along with the expansion of palm oil plantations, is a leading driver of this destruction. Indonesia is now listed as the third largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, after the US and China. An estimated eighty per cent of its emissions come from the conversion of peatlands and other natural forests.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Paper World: will paper tigers savage your brand reputation?
At the opening of the Paper World business fair in Frankfurt, Papierwende and the European Environmental Paper Network (EEPN) are calling on the paper industry to stop dealing with paper linked to deforestation in Indonesia and elsewhere. They highlight the reputational risks to brands of being associated with destructive forest practices and social conflicts. Among the exhibitors at Paper World is Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), one of the world’s most controversial pulp and paper companies. APP is estimated to have pulped more than two million hectares of natural forests in Sumatra, Indonesia, where it is reported to be planning a new pulp mill with a production capacity up to 2.0 million tonnes per year of bleached hardwood pulp. This would be the largest single pulp line in the world and would dramatically increase APP’s need for wood fibres. Sergio Baffoni, of the EEPN, said “The rapid expansion of pulpwood monocultures is wiping away Sumatra's natural rainforest – much of which grows on carbon-rich peatlands. This deforestation releases huge quantities of greenhouse gases, contributing significantly to the position of Indonesia as the world's third largest global greenhouse gas emitter, behind the USA and China.” A recent report released by the Indonesian environmentalist coalition Eyes on the Forest exposes the impacts of APP logging operations in the Senepis tiger habitat - an area that the company promised to protect, but which it is now clear-cutting. Forced out of their home forests, tigers approach human settlements, with dramatic consequences for both humans and animals. Eyes on the Forest investigated 14 human-tiger conflict incidences, which left 9 people and 3 tigers dead, injured 7 people and removed one tiger from the wild. APP claims to have a cutting-edge policy in tiger conservation, but in reality it is clearing one of the last habitats of the Sumatran tiger, an animal already close to extinction. "The last rainforests are wiped away to produce paper that ends up in the trash bin within the first day of use. This is not a sustainable path," said Monika Nolle of Papierwende. "Paper World should show leadership, by promoting technologies to increase efficiency and curb paper overconsumption." More than 40 European NGOs have signed a letter to the business community demanding they neither purchase any APP products, whether from Indonesia or China, nor provide other technical support, consultancy or financial services to APP associated companies. "Buying paper products linked to rainforest destruction in Indonesia poses significant reputational risks, linking brand names to deforestation practices, community conflicts and climate change," said Sergio Baffoni. Many company high-profile brands (including Office Depot, Hasbro, Mattel, Unilever, Nestle, Gucci, Versace, Danone, Xerox, Mondi, Staples, Carrefour, Tesco and Disney) have already distanced themselves from APP, as a result of concerns about its links to deforestation and social conflict.