Today is the one year anniversary of the announcement of a new Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP) by Indonesia’s second largest pulp and paper company, Asia Pacific Resources International, LTD. (APRIL) APRIL is part of the Singapore based conglomerate known as Royal Golden Eagle group (RGE).
The policy was criticized widely by international and Indonesian conservation and human rights organisations as insufficient when it was released. And over the course of 2014 grievances have been raised by Eyes on the Forest and others documenting the continuing deforestation on peat soils on coastal islands of Sumatra like Pulau Pedang, and elsewhere. A field investigation by myself and others with Environmental Paper Network to Pulau Pedang in September 2014 confirmed these ongoing activities, the impacts on local communities and their protests. Concerns with APRIL’s fibre sourcing are among the reasons that organisations such as Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, Canopy, WWF and others are encouraging customers to avoid brands and papers containing APRIL fibre.
On the one year anniversary of APRIL’s policy, assessments by both Greenpeace and a coalition of local Indonesian organisations have determined that APRIL’s operations look much like business as usual. Here’s a selection of quotes followed by a link to a more detailed Update for Buyers by Greenpeace.
“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. “APRIL in 2011 already told Government its expanded pulp mill would no longer source any MTH by the end of 20141. APRIL should simply realize that plan.”
“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,” said Aditya Bayunanda of WWF-Indonesia.
“APRIL has not acted upon its commitment to resolve outstanding community conflicts,” said Riko Kurniawan, Executive Director of Walhi Riau. “Protests by local communities continue at several areas and most recently, fifteen villagers were jailed for protesting against APRIL for developing their land.”
“Greenpeace and other NGOs called on APRIL to improve its policy and make a full commitment to forest and peatland protection. In July 2014, Greenpeace issued a formal advisory note, recommending once again that companies put any business with APRIL and other Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) Group companies on hold until a groupwide policy to protect all natural forest and peatland had been agreed and implemented. One year into its new policy, APRIL has still failed to address the deficiencies of that policy. Nor have other RGE Group pulp and paper companies committed to end deforestation. Further, APRIL and its suppliers have repeatedly broken the commitments made in that new policy. In August 2014, APRIL’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee commissioned KPMG to report on APRIL’s progress against its commitments. The KPMG audit found that not a single concession complied with the policy.”
Download Greenpeace’s “Update for Customers of RGE Group / APRIL
Download KPMG audit here