Plantation giant Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) continued to source fiber produced by destruction of high conservation value forests in Sumatra right up until it committed to a new forest conservation policy, according to an investigative report issued by Eyes of the Forest, a coalition of environmental groups in Riau.
Recently, APRIL announced e new environmental policy claiming to stop deforestation. The announcement was greted with skepticism by Indonesian and international environmental organizations, for different reasons, among them because the policy is only valid for APRIL and does not apply to the sister company Toba Pulp Lestari.
The new repot shows now that APRIL, trough its supplier PT Triomas, has been clearing natural forests, in the peat rich Kampar Peninsula, in an area that was committed to protect as high conservation value forest since 2005.EoF estimates the concession has been cleared in period of May â€“ December 2013. At least 2,500 hectares of natural forest seemed to have been felled in the same period as the new commitment was made.
Legality of PT Triomasâ€™ operation is questioned and allegedly illegal due to corruption casesâ€™ involvement. According to Eyes on the forest, the concession is not listed as authorized concessions by the Ministry of Forestry. According to RIAU based network Jikalahari, PT Triomas is linked to the major corruption scandal in region. Former regent and former provincial forestry official s were convicted for corruption, but the companies giving bribe, among them PT Triomas, are still operating in the areas illegally obtained. The company has also been accused to employ child labour. PT Triomas FDIâ€™s concession is located in deep peat forest in rich carbon Kampar Peninsula. In the clearing area, EoF found a number of remaining trees which mostly were young Ramin trees or were not ready for harvesting. In an earlier investigation published by Jikalahari, PT Triomas cleared natural forest, including Ramin trees, an internationally protected species. In this early yearâ€™s investigation, EoF discovered Ramin logs burried in the ground inside PT Triomasâ€™ concession. Ramin is a tree specie protected by national legislation and international conventions.