This week Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), the target of a successful Greenpeace campaign, took yet another step along the road to reform. But its competitor APRIL is still clinging to its rainforest destruction.
The good news from APP.
Our people powered campaign pushed APP, once a chief driver of deforestation in Indonesia, to clean up its rainforest practices. And this is why we have been closely watching how APP has been implementing its policy over the last year. It’s also why we welcome today’s announcement that APP has hired the Rainforest Alliance (RA) to evaluate the implementation of its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP).
Having followed APP's progress over the past year, we're pleased to see that APP has continued to raise its ambitions and increase its openness to independent scrutiny. This is important for people and companies around the world who demanded that APP end its role in rainforest destruction, and also to give customers re-assurance that APP is changing, for good.
In our progress report in November 2013, we welcomed the fact that APP had agreed, in principle, to a fully independent evaluation of its efforts by an independent global NGO. Today's news that Rainforest Alliance will perform this role is great news for all those who want to see companies follow through on their commitments to forest protection. It proves that APP is serious about allowing independent observers to report on its progress, as well as ongoing challenges in implementing its policy.
…Now some bad news.
Unfortunately, APP’s progress stands in stark contrast to an announcement this week by APRIL, APP's main competitor. APRIL announced a so-called ‘Sustainable Forest Management Policy’ on Tuesday, just weeks after being threatened to be kicked out of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
To us, it seemed like a desperate act to give its destructive operations a veneer of that well used adjective: ‘sustainable’. The policy is full of loopholes and essentially provides a licence for it to continue forest clearance at will. A glaring weakness is that it would allow its current suppliers to continue to destroy rainforest and peatlands for nearly a year, and give it another six more years until it would stop using rainforest fibre at its mill.
This simply is not good enough to protect Indonesia’s dwindling rainforests.
We worked hard to push APP towards protecting forests and peatlands, so we don’t want to see companies like APRIL race to the lowest common denominator.
If APRIL was serious about cutting rainforest destruction from its supply chains then it would look to more progressive players in the forestry sector that have put an immediate moratorium on all forest clearance and new peatland development, like APP.
APRIL and all companies under its parent company, the Royal Golden Eagle Group (RGE), must follow its competitor APP and become a leader in forest protection. Until it does, Greenpeace will continue to expose APRIL’s desperate PR stunts for what they are: half measures that fail to immediately protect rainforests.
Customers must challenge APRIL or risk tainting their supply chains with rainforest destruction.
Phil Aikman is a Senior Forest Campaigner with Greenpeace International