A Working Group of international and Indonesian NGOs has coalesced within the Environmental Paper Network to monitor the integrity and robustness of Asia Pulp and Paper’s recent commitments and ensure the success of this critical opportunity for all stakeholders.  Conservation organisations worldwide are invested in the outcome of this process for its implication on global climate change and endangered species, and stand with local communities that have in some cases lost their land and livelihoods to Asia Pulp and Paper’s operations.

In October, Environmental Paper Network member, Greenpeace released a Progress Report on its agreement with APP first announced on February 15th, 2013.  Greenpeace’s report has identified many areas where APP is making progress and areas where APP still needs to deliver.  The report can be downloaded here.

Also recently released were TFT’s 4th update report on APP’s Forest Conservation Policy Progress, which can be downloaded here, and APP’s own 4th Progress Report on its Sustainability Roadmap : Vision 2020, which can be downloaded here.

On September 19th, the EPN Working Group, which includes RAN, Greenpeace, WWF, Wahana Bumi Hijau and others, released a set of “Performance Targets and Milestones” that spell out what APP needs to do over the next year to demonstrate that it is implementing its environmental and social commitments and addressing key gaps in its forest conservation policy.  The document, entitled, The First Test, can be downloaded here in English and Japanese.  It is formatted for use as a checklist by sustainable brands and other large volume purchasers seeking independent verification of specific and meaningful steps towards reform and restoration by APP.

There are signs of progress and commitment and the opportunity of this moment is great. However, without independent verification by a credible third party auditor that APP has met these targets and milestones as set forth by The First Test, APP products remain controversial and a risk to potential customers.