FSC has sent a "come clean" ultimatum to APP and its billionaire Indonesian owners, the Widjaja family, following evidence it continues to cut down tropical forests and operate through corporate proxies. A letter was sent to the pulp and paper giant on Monday which sets out the demands FSC expect APP to meet if they want to be readmitted to the council. The ultimatum comes after Greenpeace ended a five year truce with the company earlier this month following an investigation that revealed the company had been destroying tropical forests the entire time the two parties were cooperating on conservation. FSC have demanded APP respond to their letter by Monday, stating publicly their high level commitment to the council’s standards and proposing remedies to Greenpeace’s evidence of deforestation. By June 11th the company will also have to fully disclose their corporate structure and any other violations of the standards.
A RM1.2 billion takeover has saved about 1,500 workers’ jobs at ailing India-owned pulp and paper mill Sabah Forest Industries Sdn Bhd, which was owned by India-based Ballarpur Industries Ltd previously. The takeover by Pelangi Prestasi Sdn Bhd entails the transfer of all SFI assets, land titles and timber licenses and is made possible by strong support of the Sabah state government. The takeover is targeted to be completed by end of this year. Pelangi Prestasi committed to retain all SFI workforce and undertake workers’ back-wages, providing training and support as well as enhance access to basic amenities. For the next five years, it will focus on sustainable development of the forest concession area to maximise value through integrated processing and diversification of products.
EPN have published their third report on the state of the global paper industry, presenting an analysis of the world’s pulp and paper industry, and the commercial, social and environmental risks and opportunities facing it. The report examines the performance of the industry against each of the goals of the Global Paper Vision; 1) reducing global paper consumption and promote fair access to paper, 2) maximising recycled fibre content, 3) ensuring social responsibility, 4) sourcing fibre responsibly, 5) reducing greenhouse gas emissions, 6) ensuring clean production and 7) ensuring transparency and integrity. Key themes include the need to bring paper consumption down to sustainable levels, to address climate chain impacts across the supply chain and to drive action around commitments.
- Environmental Paper Network
- Climate chain
- ensuring clean production
- ensuring transparency and integrity
- Global Paper Industry
- Global Paper Vision
- maximising recycled fibre content
- Paper consumption
- promote fair access to paper
- pulp and paper industry
- reducing global paper consumption
- reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- sourcing fibre responsibly
- suring social responsibility
A report by World Economic Forum and Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 states that the transfer to deforestation-free supply chains could represent an investment opportunity of approximately US$ 200 billion annually. However, although companies are making commitments to deforestation-free pulp and paper in their supply chain, due to the underestimation of the risk, they may have issues meeting their time bound commitments.
One subsidiary of Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (April), Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (Rapp), has constructed a 3km canal through thick peatland on the island of Pedang, Indonesia, which has led to the suspension of their partnership with WWF and Greenpeace. The canal is built for draining peatland for pulp plantations, which is against both the company’s sustainability standards, and also government regulations. However, the president and director of Rapp insisted the action is legal based on a plan approved by the Indonesian government back in 2013, which was before the catastrophic fires of 2015.
Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), which manages $828 billion worth of funds, released its annual report for 2015 today, revealing that six palm oil companies, four pulp and paper companies, and one coal company were dropped from its investment portfolio. Lars Løvold, director of the NGO Rainforest Foundation Norway, said that the GPFG’s actions show that companies involved in deforestation risk being cut off from international investment.
The Indonesian Trade Ministry has defended its stance on a revised regulation annulling the timber legality verification system (SVLK) requirement for exporting 15 downstream products of timber, saying that exporters are still obliged to show proof of environmentally certified material. Under the revised regulation, small to medium-sized exporters are exempted from an obligation to provide SVLK certification and are only required to provide an export declaration without an expiry date. Pulp and paper manufacturers are unlikely to be affected due to their large size. The value of Indonesia’s timber product exports to the EU went up by 8.9 percent from US$593 million in 2013 to $645.9 million last year, accounting for around 9 percent of the total export value of the country’s timber products, according to data from the FLEGT-VPA annual report.
Singapore’s National Environment Agency served Asia Pulp & Paper and four other companies with legal notice under the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act, because fires burning in the companies’ concessions in Indonesia. The air pollutant index in Singapore hit “hazardous” levels last week, and schools shut down. The haze even is harming relations between the two countries, with Singapore and also Malaysia.
April, one of the world’s largest pulp and paper producers and controls a million hectares of forests in Indonesia, announced that it had stopped clearing forests as part of its operations. Last year, it also launched its sustainable policy, including a pledge to halt forest clearing in 2010. Now the company is called a “champion” by the environmental group, Greenpeace, which used to be a fierce critic of the company. Also Greenpeace vowed to monitor April’s implementation of new policy closely. Activists said that battle is still far from won.
• 2014 was the ‘year of the zero deforestation commitment’, particularly in the palm oil sector but also for agribusinesses like Cargill.
• Plantation forestry, in all of its various forms, is still seen as one of the biggest drivers of deforestation.
• APP continues to see praise for their work implementing the Forest Conservation Policy.
• APRIL continues to be criticised for their weak policy and poor performance.
• Global Forest Watch was lauded as a significant leap forward for open source forest monitoring.
• Drones made their first foray into forest conservation and are being used by Cargill, and imminently by Brazilian forest agencies, for monitoring and enforcement.
• The mood in Indonesia is quietly optimistic, with a new government in place departments have merged (Ministry of Forestry and Ministry of Environment merging), and there was a widespread crackdown on corruption.
• NGOs have turned their attention to a new aspect of the pulp and paper sector: dissolving pulp, which is used in a diverse range of products including clothing and toiletries.
Pulp and paper giant APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd) has been found to be violating its own sustainability policy by continuing to source fibre from peatlands in Riau, Indonesia. The investigation, from Eyes on the Forest, shows that APRIL affiliate Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP) is operating in breach of APRIL’s pledge not to clear potential high conservation value (HCV) areas. Dramatic photographs released by Greenpeace-Indonesia in June clearly showed natural forest clearance on deep peat areas, and ongoing preparations to turn the land in to plantations. APRIL says this activity doesn’t violate its policy commitments and clearing is only taking place in non-HCV areas. APRIL is under mounting pressure to clean up its supply chain since its largest competitor, APP, signed a comprehensive zero deforestation policy in 2013. APP’s subsequent commitment to support conservation and restoration of forests equal in size to its own operations was also applauded by environmental groups. APRIL has since said that it will match APP on this commitment – see APRIL’s letter responding to the Greenpeace photographs in June 2014.
A report published by Landesa and Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) looks at Asia Pulp and Paper’s acquisitions of forest lands from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s in Guangxi and Yunnan provinces where it leased large blocks of collectively-owned forests for conversion to industrial eucalyptus plantations. The report finds that the principle of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) by local peoples was not applied in some areas, and that both APP and local regulators failed to abide by all laws governing land acquisition. The report acknowledged that APP "cooperated fully" with the researchers and is currently reviewing the problems.
Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), a long-time target of environmental campaigners, committed in February 2013 to protect and restore a million hectares of forest across Indonesia under its Forest Conservation Policy. This video presented by Tony Juniper, an advisor to APP, highlights key aspects of the policy. The policy requires its suppliers to not only protect natural forest resources, but also biodiversity and human rights. APP has worked with The Forest Trust (TFT) to help develop and implement the policy. And the company has adopted the High Conservation Value (HCV) assessment, developed by the Forest Stewardship Council, to ensure the values of natural forest are fully understood. APP is also adopting High Carbon Stock (HCS) survey to understand the location of big stocks of carbon. The restoration commitment of APP targets nine “landscape” across Sumatra and Kalimantan, regions where the company sources its fibre.
Asia Pulp and Paper have signed an agreement to end natural forest logging. Suppliers of the Indonesian based company will be bound to log solely plantation timber and not use timber with high conservation value or from peat swamps. AP&P have received widespread lobbying from Greenpeace and WWF to change their timber sourcing policies. However, it is understood the company’s real fear was that paper mills in Japan were beginning to ask questions about responsibly sourced timber.
Activists with Rainforest Action Network (RAN) staged a protest today at a Staples store in El Cerrito, Ca to communicate their objection to the office supply giant’s recent decision to resume purchasing paper from Indonesia’s highly controversial company Asia Pulp and Paper (APP).
“Given APP’s track record of broken commitments and the fact that APP has yet to finish environmental studies, put forest conservation plans in place or get independent verification that they are actually working, Staples is jumping the gun by renewing business with APP.” said Lafcadio Cortesi, Asia director at Rainforest Action Network.
The Rainforest Alliance has agreed to conduct an audit of Asia Pulp and Paper’s progress in implementing the the zero deforestation policy the forest giant signed last year. The organisation will evaluate APP’s progress in meeting four commitments in its forest conservation policy including protecting high conservation value areas and high carbon stock forests, managing peatlands to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and obtaining free, prior informed consent from local communities before developing new plantations.
Indonesia’s second largest pulp and paper company is preparing to start work on a project to restore a degraded peat forest in Sumatra, marking a new direction for the company that has left some skeptical. April has been widely criticized by environmental groups such as Greenpeace, who accuse the paper giant of cutting down natural forests in Sumatra to feed its paper mills. When the company announced its Kampar Peninsula project, local environmental groups such as the Forest Rescue Network Riau (Jikalahari) called the project “greenwashing” and said the company was continuing to destroy forests in other parts of the province.
A WRI analysis of the pulp and paper sector, which is the third-largest energy user in US manufacturing, found that it could cost-effectively reduce its energy use in the Midwest by 25 per cent through the use of existing technologies. Against the US Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® program, nearly two-thirds of Midwest mills fall short of the national average for energy performance. Total annual energy costs could be reduced by $120 million by reducing process energy requirements, capturing waste heat and increasing efficient on-site energy use. This could also have a knock-on effect of boosting production and increasing jobs. The report highlights the ISO 50001 standard which helps companies to introduce and systematically track facility energy performance against targets.
TFT published the following statement on their website with the full report: ‘TFT has carried out a thorough technical study into alleged allegations of APP suppliers clearing forest in West Kalimantan Province and has produced the below report which shows no evidence of any violation of APP's forest clearance moratorium.’
APP has received SVLK timber legality certification on its ninth and final mill. Indonesia’s Timber Legality Assurance System (SVLK) ensures that all exported products are traceable to verifiable points of origin. The EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) under which SVLK has been developed is expected to become operational in 2013.