According to a new press release by Greenomics Indonesia, more than 4,000 hectares (or more than 10,000 acres) of forested deep peatlands have been lost on a concession belonging to one of the largest suppliers of APP, located in the province of West Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. The loss of the said forested deep peatlands has been significant over the course of just three months, from late June to mid-September 2014.
“APP needs to adhere to its association procedure policy so as to clean up its supply chain having regard to its “zero deforestation policy” and temporarily suspend its contract with the supplier as a result of this very extensive loss of forested deep peatlands on the concession of one of its suppliers in Indonesian Borneo,” said Vanda Mutia Dewi, Executive Director of Greenomics Indonesia. Vanda said that PT Bumi Mekar Hijau (BMH) – which primarily operates in South Sumatra province and is one of APP’s largest and most important pulpwood suppliers – also has a concession located in the province of West Kalimantan. Based on legal documents submitted officially by BMH to the Ministry of Forestry (now the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry), it is acknowledged that BMH’s concession in West Kalimantan will serve as the APP’s longterm supplier.
“The massive loss of forested deep peatlands on the BMH concession in West Kalimantan demands that APP remains consistent to its association procedure policy, as BMH South Sumatra and BMH West Kalimantan are one and the same company, which has pulpwood plantation development concessions in different provinces,” explained Vanda.
She said that Greenomics wanted to see APP form a multi-stakeholder-based independent team to investigate the direct and indirect causes of the loss of the peatlands in the BMH West Kalimantan concession as BMH South Sumatra was an important supplier to the existing APP mills, as well as its new mill that is due to commence operations next year in South Sumatra province.
“APP obviously needs to suspend its contract with BMH South Sumatra while the independent multi-stakeholder team conducts its investigation and issues recommendations for implementation by APP,” said Vanda.
She reminded APP that it must not ignore the loss of the forested deep peatlands on the BMH concession in West Kalimantan by, for example, continuing to source pulpwood fiber from BMH South Sumatra.
“If that were to happen, it would mean that APP would be failing to abide by its responsible fiber procurement and processing policies under its Forest Conservation Policy,” Vanda stressed.
According to Greenomics Indonesia, APP should temporarily suspend its contract with the supplier and launch an independent multi-stakeholder investigation on this case.
According to APP, which sent an investigative team over the weekend to conduct field checks on GPS points mentioned by the Greenomics’ report, BMH apparently isn’t currently operating in the concession area.
“Based on the information provided by the community, no companies are operating in BMH West Kalimantan, including: no BMH West Kalimantan’s camps, supporting infrastructure, land clearing or planting,” Aida Greenbury, of APP’s managing director of sustainability, told Mongabay. Greenbury said that while BMH secured a license from the Ministry of Forestry to convert the area for timber plantations, the company was refused entry by the local community when it tried to conduct field surveys in 2008 and 2009. Since then, there has effectively been a stand-off in the area.