Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL)
Asia Pacific Resources International, Ltd, (APRIL) is Indonesia’s second largest producer of pulp and paper, including packaging, printing, and writing papers. APRIL is also the world’s second largest producer of bleached hardwood kraft pulp. In addition to its own paper production, the company’s pulp is used by paper companies in China, Korea, Indonesia, India, Japan, and Europe. APRIL’s paper products are sold in over 75 countries globally under a variety of brands.
APRIL is based in Singapore, and is part of the Royal Golden Eagle group (RGE), which also includes the affiliated paper company Asia Symbol. The company’s primary mills are in Indonesia and China, including subsidiary Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP), which operates one of the world’s largest paper mills in Riau Province, Sumatra. APRIL’s fibre is sourced primarily from Indonesia and Latin America.
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At this time, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, Canopy, WWF and the other members of the Environmental Paper Network encourage buyers and investors to avoid brands and papers containing APRIL fibre and all links to RGE/Royal Eagle Group and the sister company Toba Pulp Lestari, which is also controlled by RGE’s owner, Mr. Sukanto Tanoto.
In June 2015, APRIL announced a Sustainable Forest Management Policy version 2.0 (SFMP 2.0), which announced a commitment to zero deforestation and an immediate stop to clearing of natural forests. The SFMP 2.0 by APRIL is within a “Sustainability Framework” recently developed by its parent, RGE Group.
After many years of campaigning to stop deforestation by APRIL, civil society organisations in the Environmental Paper Network welcomed the move in various tones. But all remain cautious, waiting to look how the policy will be implemented on the ground. Local and international NGOs will be monitoring the implementation of the policy by APRIL and those reports will be compiled below.
In December 2016, both Greenpeace and WWF broke off engagement with APRIL, with the final straw being the discovery of 3km of canals through deep peat on Pedang Island off the eastern coast of Sumatra, in violation of its own sustainability standards, government regulations and a letter of instruction issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry the previous year asking companies to block existing canals.
APRIL has faced intense controversy previously for violations of its own forest conservation commitments, including its insufficient Sustainable Forest Management Policy version 1.0 released in January 2014.
For more detailed analysis of APRIL’s social and environmental risk and its violations of its 2014 forest policy, see this February 2015 Fact Sheet from the European Environmental Paper Network.
Reviews of APRIL’s progress on Sustainable Forest Management Policy v 2.0
Greenomics Indonesia Report: Proven beyond doubt, April continues to clear legally-established HCFV areas
Reviews of APRIL’s progress on Sustainable Forest Conservation Policy v 1.0
Eyes on the Forest: Investigative Report November 2014: APRIL/ RGE Continues Deforestation
Eyes on the Forest: May 2015: APRIL found clearing natural forest in green belt
Reports from APRIL
Deforestation documented in September 2014 on peatland forests of Pulau Pedang, Riau Province, Sumatra, within a concession of Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper, an APRIL subsidiary. Copyright: Environmental Paper Network
Background and Risk Factors
Forest Conversion: APRIL and its fibre suppliers are one of the largest drivers of deforestation in Indonesia, and continue to convert rainforests and peatlands to acacia plantations. Over half of the fibre used by the RAPP mill is from logging of rainforests, with much of the remainder being fibre from plantations established on deforested sites. In Riau Province alone, APRIL and its suppliers cleared 346,000 acres of tropical forest, mostly on peatlands, between 2008 and 2011. Such deforestation is one of the reasons that APRIL and its affiliates no longer hold any Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificates, and were threatened with expulsion from the World Business Council on Sustainable Development in January 2014.
Biodiversity: Deforestation and plantation management on deforested lands are severely impacting endangered wildlife and ecosystems in Indonesia. Habitat losses from APRIL-driven deforestation are one of the largest threats to endangered flora and fauna. For example, most of the recent deforestation in APRIL suppliers’ concessions occurred within the mapped habitat of Sumatran tigers and elephants, despite their listing as critically endangered by the IUCN.
Report: Indonesia’s 2nd Largest Pulp & Paper Company is Making Paper Out of Tiger Rainforest,” Briefing Paper, Greenpeace (2013)
Climate Change: While all primary forest logging tends to release large amounts of stored carbon, the logging, draining, and burning of peatland forests to make way for plantations has an especially large greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint – and is the reason Indonesia has been ranked as the world’s third or fourth largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. More than two-thirds of APRIL’s concessions in Riau are on peatlands. APRIL’s draining of peatlands includes the Semenanjung Kampar, the largest and most intact peat ecosystem in Sumatra and one of the largest peat carbon reservoirs in Southeast Asia. In 2012, a scientific study released by the University of Helsinki, shows that APRIL’s Acacia plantations on peatland in Sumatra release around 80 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare per year.
APRIL has been implicated as one of the companies responsible for the massive forest fires that plague Riau province. Based on NASA Modis Fire monitoring in the period of 13-19 February 2014, Eyes on the Forest identified 891 hotspots inside APRIL affiliated companies’ concessions. Fire in Riau province is linked to bad forest practices, especially in the highly inflammable drained peat soil. The impact of these fires has been massive and devastating: around 50,000 people experienced respiratory infection diseases, 3 people died, 221 people lost their home farms and livelihood or have been displaced. The haze was so intensive that it caused cancellation of flights, impacted nearby countries and paralysed economic and social activities in impacted areas.
Endangered Forests/ High Conservation Value Forests: Even APRIL has recognized that the natural forests it is logging in Kampar merit designation as High Conservation Value (HCV). In May 2014, WWF and the coalition Eyes on the Forest found an APRIL supplier, PT Adindo Hutani Lestari (PT AHL), destroying peatland rainforest in North Kalimantan. A month later Greenpeace caught APRIL destroying forested peatland on Pulau Padang, a small island off the coast of Sumatra. A December 2014 report by Eyes on the Forest further documents continued violations of APRIL’s own policy commitment not to clear potential High Conservation Value Forests like those of the peatland forests on the coastal island of Pulau Pedang.
Report: APRIL/RGE Continue Deforestation: Grievance submitted to APRIL Stakeholder Advisory Committee, Eyes on the Forest, (November 2014)
Community & Human Rights: Indigenous people and other local communities are also directly impacted by APRIL’s forest conversion. Communities that rely on cultivating rubber, sago, and other crops within the forest landscape have been at issue with APRIL since 2009, including on Riau’s Kampar Peninsula and coastal islands, causing some residents to resort to drastic protest measures, including sewing their mouths shut.
Illegality: In apparent violation of the US Lacey Act, APRIL and its suppliers have been logging ramin and other tree species protected by CITES and Indonesian law, and draining peat forests greater than three meters in depth, which are also protected by Indonesian law. Over 80% of APRIL’s suppliers in its largest supply area, the Kampar Peninsula, also obtained their licenses from officials currently serving prison sentences for corruption.
Brands and Products Associated With APRIL
Paper purchasers can click here for a tool to search for and identify brands and products affiliated with APRIL, RGE and Asia Symbol.
APRIL’s hardwood kraft pulp is used by APRIL and other paper companies in China, Korea, Indonesia, India, Japan, and Europe. The resulting products include beverage cartons, shopping bags, other packaging, tissue paper, printing, and writing papers including magazine and book paper. Because APRIL’s fibre is often rebranded by other companies, it is important to seek full disclosure and verification of paper fibre origins, including through techniques such as fibre testing.
Companies directly associated with APRIL include: APRIL Fine Paper Trading Pte Ltd, APRIL Fine Paper Trading Ltd., Alkira Trading (Macao Commercial Offshore) Limited, Asia Symbol, AP Enterprises (Macao) Commercial Offshore Limited, Primeyield Enterprise Pte Ltd, APRIL Fine Paper Macao Commercial Offshore Limited, APRIL Fine Paper (Guangdong) Co. Ltd., Shandong Asia Pacific SSYMB Pulp and Paper, Suzhou Industrial Park Asia Pacific Paper Converting, Suzhou Ascend Pulp & Paper Co., Ltd.
Other affiliated companies include Tobas Pulp Lestari and Sateri.