Call for action

Background - 26 November, 2011
Although Indonesia’s ramin is an internationally protected species, its habitat continues to be cleared. Ramin logs from this clearance are being mixed in with numerous other rainforest logs to feed the pulp and paper sector. The place to tackle the problem is at source, before this mixed tropical hardwood has been pulped and enters international trade.

Greenpeace’s year-long investigation into the world’s third largest paper producer, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), exposes gross violations of Indonesian laws banning the trade in ramin, an internationally protected tree species. Greenpeace is calling on Indonesia’s authorities to seize all illegal ramin at APP’s mills and in its supply chain.

  • APP Indonesia's flagship pulp mill Indah Kiat Perawang is heavily dependent on MTH pulpwood supplies from areas including peat swamp forest, a key ramin habitat. This investigation indicates that its MTH pulpwood supply from such areas, which contains illegal ramin logs, violates Indonesia's ramin ban and its national CITES regulations.
  • A Ministry of Forestry report on ramin recommends a ban on all clearance of peat swamp forest. The Government of Indonesia should make the findings of this report permanent policy.
  • Companies should cease trade with APP and implement policies to ensure zero deforestation in the supply chain.
  • Golden Agri-Resources, part of the Sinar Mas group, is already implementing a policy ending all peat swamp forest clearance. The Sinar Mas group as a whole, including APP, should implement a policy ending all deforestation, including a ban on the clearance of any peat swamp forest.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry should enforce national CITES regulations and immediately seize any illegal ramin at APP mills. It should also launch a comprehensive review of all existing pulp, palm oil and other concessions that overlap with natural forest to ascertain whether their operations fully comply with Indonesia's ramin laws and CITES regulations. The government should follow the recommendation made in a Ministry of Forestry report on ramin and end all clearance of peat swamp forest.

'Let's save ramin, let's save peat swamp forests'

'We should also push for strong punishment on those who are found guilty of environment [and forest] damage. We can no longer be soft.'[1]
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, 7 June 2011

Ministry of Forestry report recommends ban on peat swamp forest clearance and improved enforcement

The Kampar Peninsula in Riau, Sumatra, is one of the largest remaining areas of intact peat swamp forest in Indonesia. Protecting peat swamp forests such as this is critical for the future of Sumatran tigers, ramin trees and other threatened species.
© Novis/Greenpeace

 

In its proposal to CITES for Appendix II listing of ramin, the Indonesia government recognised that clearance and conversion of peat swamp forest, as a key ramin habitat, was a threat to ramin populations.[2]

Since this CITES listing, a number of reports published by the Ministry of Forestry have recognised clearance of peat swamp forest continues to be a driver of ramin loss, as well as poor enforcement of Indonesia's ramin ban and its national CITES regulations. One report, published 2005, sets out key recommendations for different government departments to execute in order to implement CITES regulations effectively. Key recommendations include:

  • End conversion of peat swamp forests. 'The practice of peat forest conversion into forest plantation should be prohibited.'[3] Banning clearance of this key ramin habitat reduces the risk of ramin entering trade, where governance is more challenging. The report identifies 'government' as responsible for the implementation of this recommendation.
  • Improve enforcement to prevent illegal trading. The report identifies departments within the Ministry of Forestry as Indonesia's CITES Management Authority as responsible for the implementation of this recommendation.[4]

Ramin conservation

CITES Secretariat should call for 'remedial action' and CITES Management Authority should enforce Indonesia's CITES regulations

This investigation demonstrates that APP's international trade is adversely affecting ramin species and its habitat in contravention of Indonesia's CITES regulations and its ramin ban.

Under Article XIII, upon receipt of satisfactory evidence that the provisions of the Convention are not being effectively implemented by Indonesia, such as that presented by this investigation, the CITES Secretariat can request that Indonesia's CITES Management Authority - the Ministry of Forestry - propose 'remedial action' to address the problem.[5]

Articles 111 and 112 of Indonesia's regulations governing CITES-listed species[6] specify that any illegal ramin is 'liable for confiscation' (seizure) and that those trading illegal ramin are 'liable for sanctions'. Remedial action would include enforcement of Indonesia's CITES regulations. This would see the seizure of illegal ramin in APP's pulpwood supply and APP and its 'exclusive' supplier, Sinarmas Forestry, charged, prosecuted and punished in accordance with the law.

Key remedial actions for Indonesia:

  • Immediate seizure of any ramin within the market, including at pulp mills processing wood from natural forest clearance, and imposition of sanctions upon those found to be trading illegal ramin.
  • Ban on all peat swamp forest clearance, given its status as a key ramin habitat as well as its critical importance for carbon storage and other ecological and biodiversity values.
  • Launch of a comprehensive review of all existing pulp, palm, selective logging, coal and other mining concessions that overlap with natural forest to ascertain whether their operations fully comply with Indonesia's ramin and CITES regulations, and other environmental regulations.

End matter

Footnotes

[1] Simamora (2011)
[2] Government of Indonesia (2004): 6
[3] MoFor/ITTO (2005b): 39
[4] MoFor/ITTO (2005b): 40
[5] CITES website 'Text of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna
[6] MoFor (2003)

Any countries importing products from APP mills with trade links to Indah Kiat Perawang should seek assurance from the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry that it will implement and enforce CITES regulations relating to ramin. Any company trading with APP is providing financial support to a company that is breaking Indonesian law, undermining CITES and driving Sumatran tigers and ramin trees closer to extinction. Corporate consumers should cease trade with APP, and implement policies to ensure zero deforestation in their supply chains.

Indonesia's call for international trade to defend ramin

'Foreign countries accuse Indonesia of selling illegal timber. Indeed, we are working to fight it but there are also foreign countries that still receive [illegal woods]. If we want to improve it, the foreign countries should also stop receiving illegal timber.'[7]
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, 7 June 2011

Despite international agreements designed to tackle the illegal trade in protected species such as ramin, international trade is driving the loss of Indonesia's ramin forests.

As the investigation shows, APP's violations of Indonesia's ramin ban and its national CITES regulations are relevant to any country or company importing or trading products from the APP paper mills in Indonesia or China that trade with Indah Kiat Perawang.

Some 136 countries that are signatories to the CITES Convention trade with these APP mills, indicating the global trade risk associated with the MTH pulpwood supply to Indah Kiat Perawang.

Countries importing products from APP paper mills in Indonesia and China with trade links to Indah Kiat Perawang should seek assurance from the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, as Indonesia's CITES Management Authority, that it will implement and enforce CITES regulations relating to ramin.

Any company trading with APP is providing financial support to a company that is breaking Indonesian law, driving Sumatran tigers and ramin trees closer to extinction, and undermining CITES - the international conservation agreement governing trade in protected species.

Corporate consumers should cease trade with companies such as APP that are linked to the destruction of ramin habitat. To support good forest management, companies should implement policies to ensure zero deforestation in their supply chains.

End matter

Footnotes

[7] Simamora (2011)

Greenpeace evidence indicates that APP and its ‘exclusive’ supplier Sinarmas Forestry are repeatedly in violation of Indonesia's ramin ban, as well as its national CITES regulations. Banning the clearance of peat swamp forest, one key ramin habitat, would significantly reduce the risk of any ramin entering APP’s supply chain. Such a policy is already being implemented by the palm oil division of the Sinar Mas group, Golden Agri-Resources. The Sinar Mas group as a whole should quit deforestation.

Legal compliance and ending deforestation

'For the heroes on environment, we should give awards [such as the Kalpataru and Adipura] but we should also push for strong punishment on those who are found guilty of environment [and forest] damage. We can no longer be soft.'[8]
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, 7 June 2011

APP's 'exclusive' wood supplier is Sinarmas Forestry, which coordinates all pulpwood trade from operations it owns and manages to APP pulp mills.[9] This trade includes both plantation and MTH pulpwood.

APP's fibre procurement policy makes clear the sanctions it will impose on operations found to be breaching its legal or sustainability commitments: 'Wood suppliers who are found in breach of relevant legal requirements and the provisions of the policy shall be immediately warned and, for repeated violations, have their contracts terminated.'[10]

The evidence indicates that the MTH pulpwood supply for Indah Kiat Perawang includes illegal ramin. This demonstrates that neither APP nor Sinarmas Forestry is enforcing its showcase policies and procedures on avoiding any illegal timber entering any part of the supply chain. As a consequence, both parts of the Sinar Mas group are repeatedly violating Indonesia's ramin logging and trade ban, as well as Indonesia's CITES regulations.

The evidence documented during the investigation at Indah Kiat Perawang indicates that APP's pulpwood suppliers - Sinarmas Forestry and its affiliated operations and suppliers - are indiscriminately clearing ramin habitat in breach of Indonesia's ramin logging ban and its national CITES regulations.

Banning the clearance of peat swamp forest is a key recommendation in an Indonesian Ministry of Forestry report on ramin conservation: ‘The practice of peat forest conversion into forest plantation should be prohibited.’[11] Such a policy would significantly reduce the risk of any ramin entering any part of APP’s supply chain. APP’s sister company within the Sinar Mas group, palm oil producer Golden Agri-Resources, is already implementing a policy ending all peat swamp forest clearance.[12]

  • The Sinar Mas group as a whole, including APP and its ‘exclusive’ supplier Sinarmas Forestry, should implement a policy ending all deforestation, including a ban on the clearance of any peat swamp forest.

End matter

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Footnotes

[8] Simamora (2011)
[9] APP (2011c): 2
[10] APP (2004, updated January 2008)
[11] GAR (2011): 4
[12] MoFor/ITTO (2005b): 39

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