World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) issued an advisory to buyers and investors of Royal Golden Eagle/Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (RGE/APRIL) following announcement by APRIL last week to apply its Sustainable Forest Management Policy. Last week Jikalahari and Walhi Riau, environmental groups in Riau, blasted the APRIL’s sustainable policy as it was “a trick to destroy the remaining natural forest embedded with their illegal and problematic  permits in Riau province.” Muslim Rasyid, Jikalahari coordinator, said to Eyes on the Forest  â€œThis policy is remains the same as HCVF policy which they often break, and it has no significant relation to the forest protection…For example, one of their point of commitment state that they will stop destroying natural forest  after 2019.” Kampar Peninsula  and Pulau Padang area identified as HHCVF based on APRIL assessment, however they continue to convert the forest into  acacia plantation, he said.

In a web advisory issued last week, WWF said it “continues to recommend that companies wait and see before sourcing from and investing in APRIL and their associated business entities, until APRIL/RGE improves the policy and independent 3rd party confirmation that the group has stopped draining peat soils and pulping natural forests with high conservation and high carbon stock values, and that long-standing social issues have been resolved.”

WWF also urges RGE and APRIL to comply with milestones similar to those developed by the Environmental Paper Network released last September.

The advisory says, “APRIL has a long history of making commitments that it has failed to live up to. The company promised several times in the past to be plantation fiber only, each time moving the date years ahead. This most recent announcement pushes the deadline from an original 2009  to 2019.“ WWF, together with local NGOs in the Eyes on the Forest and RPHK coalitions will continue monitoring the company’s operation.

Full advisory can be found here