3M, Banks Pressure APRIL Over Deforestation

Press release - March 9, 2015
Jakarta, 9 March 2015 – Singapore-based pulp and paper company, Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd (APRIL) and its parent group, Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) are under pressure after “Post-It Notes” maker 3M became the latest company to suspend purchases from RGE because of the group’s ongoing destruction of Indonesian rainforests. Meanwhile, Spanish bank Santander has stopped financing APRIL because of its role in the destruction of Indonesia's rainforests, and ABN AMRO has said any further loans are predicated on APRIL implementing an immediate moratorium on further clearance as a first step towards addressing its deforestation.

Working in collaboration with ForestEthics and Greenpeace, 3M last week launched a new policy to ensure its materials are produced sustainably and with respect for human rights. As a step in implementing the policy, 3M cancelled further purchases from Sateri, a pulp company that is part of the RGE group, saying in a letter to the company that it was doing so because “the Royal Golden Eagle Group is associated with deforestation and social conflict.”

Todd Paglia, executive director of ForestEthics said: “Consumers are increasingly demanding assurance that the products they buy are produced in ways that protect our environment and respect human rights – the kind of transparency and leadership 3M offers in this revised policy represents an important step forward for the industry."

Zulfahmi, forests campaigner for Greenpeace Indonesia, said: “By ending its business dealings with a controversial forest destroyer like the Royal Golden Eagle Group, of which APRIL is a part, 3M has demonstrated its intention to make good on its new policy by taking firm measures. ”

Last month, just seventeen days into a  Greenpeace campaign targeting its funding of APRIL, and after receiving thousands of queries and complaints from customers, multinational Bank Santander announced that “Banco Santander has decided to not renew the current funding to APRIL and will not be extending further funding at this stage. Any future loans will be conditional on APRIL implementing new sustainability measures which address its involvement with deforestation.”

In recent months, Greenpeace has also been speaking to ABN AMRO about its loans to APRIL. Based on these discussions, ABN AMRO has urged APRIL to take steps to address its deforestation, starting with an immediate moratorium on further forest clearance. ABN AMRO will not provide the company with any new or re-financing until APRIL has implemented new sustainability measures which prove that they comply with ABN AMRO's sustainability criteria. To ensure those criteria are sufficiently robust, ABN AMRO is engaging with stakeholders to strengthen its lending policy and ensure that its investments do not contribute to deforestation and support nature conservation.

Zulfahmi commented on finance sector concerns about Indonesia’s forests: “The Indonesian Financial Services Authority [OJK] has issued a Roadmap to Sustainable Finance for Indonesian banks, with the goal that deforestation and the draining of peatlands be halted in order to achieve greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.  The steps taken by ABN AMRO and Santander, who do not wish to be further involved with APRIL’s deforestation, are narrowing the funding options for APRIL, both here and overseas.”

APRIL is one of the largest remaining deforesters in Indonesia, clearing rainforest and draining peatlands to turn into pulpwood plantations. A recent independent audit confirmed that it has failed to live up to key commitments made in its sustainability policy issued in early 2014.

Notes to Editor:

Media Contacts:

Zulfahmi, Forests Campaigner Greenpeace Indonesia,  <>, +62 8126821214

Igor O'Neill, International Media for Indonesia Forest Campaign, <>, +62 811 1923 721

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