Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) released today first independent evaluation of its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) made by the Rainforest Alliance. The evaluation concludes that the company has made moderate progress towards meeting its commitments, but it also highlighted a number of shortcoming that need to be addressed.

 

In the past, has been criticized for extensive clearance of rainforest areas in Sumatra and Kalimantan, many of which are located on carbon rich peatlands. The development and operation of plantations in these areas is a major source of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions driving its emissions to third largest of any nation. The company’s deforestation legacy includes the clearance of vital rainforest habitat for species such as the critically endangered Sumatran tiger, and far too often created social conflict over forestland by failing to respect human rights.

On February, APP announced a new Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) that committed to ending deforestation and further addresses the company’s environmental and social impacts and associated criticism.

According to the auditing report, many problems still are unresolved. Among them, 

  • with the exception of the halt of canal development, there is no change in the management practices in peatlands
  • around 90% of the several hundred other conflicts that APP has mapped is still unresolved
  • social commitments at policy level are not consistently mirrored by implementation on the ground
  • some plantations where HCV assessors have identified some HCVs as being present continued to be harvested without implementation of the recommended measures to protect the HCVs identified.
  • APP has not implemented measures on the ground to fully protect moratorium areas from third part clearance
    management of the fire risk is weak
  • although important steps towards greater transparency, this is not at the degree of transparency “complete Transparency” claimed by the company.

APP welcomed the Rainforest Alliance independent evaluation and announced further steps to improve its implementation of the policy” said Aida Greenbury, of APP. “We’re pleased that the Rainforest Alliance has recognised the progress we are making.“The report has highlighted a number of areas which require additional focus. Its findings, along with feedback from other stakeholders, have been used to inform our FCP implementation plan for 2015 and beyond, which we are introducing today.”