One year ago the second largest Indonesian paper company APRIL published a “Sustainable Forest Management Policy”, to try to regain customers it had lost because of its unsustainable impacts on the environment, on local communities and on the global climate. But NGOs say the policy doesn’t address APRIL’s impacts, and has not even been properly implemented. Deforestation and social conflict continues.
‘After one year, we really do not see the significance of their policy. The commitments and the realities do not make sense. They are simply implementing business as usual,’ said Muslim Rasyid, Coordinator of Jikalahari, in a note published by Eyes on the Forest.
‘APRIL in 2011 already told Government its expanded pulp mill would no longer source any MTH by the end of 2014. APRIL should simply realize that plan. Pushing its zero MTH target year to 2019 may suggest that APRIL either is producing more pulp than legally authorized or its plantations are performing very poorly. We need full disclosure,” said Muslim.
NGOs field report in Sumatra and Borneo have repeatedly exposed APRIL suppliers continuing deforestation in breach of the new policy. NGO findings are confirmed by an independent audit commissioned by APRIL’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee commissioned to KPMG, to report on APRIL’s progress on its commitments. According to an Update for APRIL customers released by Greenpeace: “The KPMG audit found that not a single concession complied with the policy” (the audit is not public but has been leaked anonymously).
The audit also found that in the first half of 2014, APRIL received some 50,000 cubic metres of rainforest timber from concessions that had not been assessed to find out if they have any High Conservation Value. Yet, according to Greenpeace, in those months, APRIL’s Sumatra mill pulped 1.3 million cubic metres of mixed tropical hardwood timber from Indonesia’s rainforests.
Aditya Bayunanda of WWF-Indonesia said, “We question the real conservation benefit of the implementation of this policy. APRIL’s HCV protection process continues to be flawed and NGOs continue to find natural forest clearance and canal developments by APRIL without HCV Resource Network peer-reviewed assessment.”
There has also been no progress on social conflict resolution. According to NGOs, there is no clarity and no stakeholder consultation on how APRIL will realize its forest restoration commitment. There are many unanswered questions around their Kampar and Pulau Padang projects. Yet APRIL was authorized by government to increase its RAPP (Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper) mill pulp production capacity, based on a 2011 environmental impact assessment (KA-ANDAL). This report specifies that capacity would increase to 2.7 million tons per year.
Syamsul Rusdi of RPHK said, “We again call on APRIL not to include government mandated conservation areas in its 500,000 ha restoration target. APRIL has to address its devastating legacy above and beyond what is required by law,” Bayunanda said. “We are disappointed by the ‘stakeholder engagement’ practiced by APRIL. Regarding the continued deforestation by APRIL’s supplier in East Kalimantan, PT. Adindo Hutani Lestari, APRIL conducted one joint field verification with us in May, but then ended its engagement. The supplier continues to clear natural forest on deep peat in violation of government regulations and APRIL‟s policy today, without a HCV Resource Network reviewed assessment.”
NGOs called on APRIL to stop natural forest clearance and peat canal development immediately, to improve its policy and make a full commitment to forest and peatland protection.