Jakarta, 17 January 2014 – APRIL, the second largest pulp and paper company in Indonesia, has today been threatened with expulsion from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a coalition of some 200 international companies that claim to be committed to sustainability (1), unless it can demonstrate that it has ended its role in deforestation.
APRIL’s membership has been put on formal probation, and has been given twelve months to comply. APRIL’s membership of the WBCSD’s Forest Solutions Group (FSG) has also been suspended. Further, the WBCSD has recommended that ‘APRIL consider transferring membership to its parent company – the [Royal Golden Eagle] RGE Group – covering all its various operating units; including prospects of aligning RGE’s other forest industry operations with the FSG membership principles’.
“When an organisation led by CEOs of some of the world’s biggest corporations threatens to kick it out of the club, then you would think APRIL would listen. It’s time for APRIL to take this threat seriously and finally implement an immediate moratorium on all further forest clearance. If companies like APP can, then what is APRIL waiting for?” said Phil Aikman, Senior Campaigner at Greenpeace.
Greenpeace wrote to the WBCSD in February 2013 urging them to suspend APRIL’s membership given the company’s current position as Indonesia’s lead driver of deforestation for pulp. Greenpeace has subsequently been in regular communications with the WBCSD Secretariat to provide additional evidence on the ongoing activities of APRIL and its sister companies within the RGE conglomerate. RGE is controlled by Indonesian business tycoon, Mr Sukanto Tanoto, whose companies include Toba Pulp Lestari, Asian Agri, Asian Symbol and Sateri.
Recent government data reveal that an incredible 60% of fibre supply to APRIL’s pulp mill in Indonesia is rainforest wood. Confidential data indicate that in 2012, APRIL suppliers planned to clear some 60,000 hectares of rainforest (equivalent to 230 football pitches a day).
“The WBCSD has given APRIL one year to end its role in deforestation or face expulsion. Given APRIL’s recent heavy dependence on rainforest fibre, Greenpeace has serious concerns about APRIL’s commitment to a zero deforestation policy and any ambition it may have to become 100% reliant on plantation fibre. Greenpeace will continue to expose APRIL and RGE’s role in forest destruction and cut through the game of smoke and mirrors the company is playing with its customers,” said Phil Aikman
While APRIL claims it will stop clearing areas of rainforests by the end of 2014, the company has a history of setting artificial targets to ending it role in deforestation. In 2003, APRIL claimed that ‘by 2008/9 APRIL's tree plantations will be supporting all of the pulp mill's requirement for 2 million tons of pulp production’. In 2010 it stated that ‘we plan to complete the fibre plantation for this area within the next two years.’
Note to editors:
1. Link to WBCSD advisory here.
2. APRIL Sustainability Reports for 2010 and 2012, which give the target dates for finishing plantation development are available here and here.
The original statement on APRIL’s claim in 2003 is no longer of APRIL’s website. An archived version is available here.
Tristan Tremschnig, Communications Coordinator Indonesia Forests, Greenpeace International, mob: +62 812 953 893 69 email: