Anniversary of APRIL Sustainable Forest Policy marked by broken promises | Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Anniversary of APRIL Sustainable Forest Policy marked by broken promises

Press release - January 28, 2015
APRIL and other Royal Golden Eagle group pulp companies “are greatest threat to Indonesia’s rainforests” says Greenpeace

Jakarta, 28 Jan 2015: One year on from its announcement of a new forest protection policy, Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) now presents the greatest single threat facing Indonesia's forests.[1] Over the last year, the company has pulped tens of thousands of hectares of rainforest.

APRIL’s policy sees forest clearance to feed its mills continuing up to 2020 and makes no commitment to end peatland development. By contrast, its largest competitor, Asia Pulp & Paper, stopped clearing forests two years ago, and fellow Royal Golden Eagle group company, palm oil giant Asian Agri, committed to full forest and peatland protection last September.

APRIL’s Sustainable Forest Management Plan, launched January 28, 2014, includes a commitment to only clear forest that is not of "high conservation value" (HCV), based on independent assessments peer reviewed by the High Conservation Value Resource Network.[2] Yet a December 2014 report by KPMG, commissioned by APRIL’s own Stakeholder Advisory Committee, found that not one of the 50 concessions supplying APRIL with fibre complied with this new policy.

In fact, investigations by Greenpeace and other NGOs in Indonesia, confirmed by KPMG findings, show extensive forest clearance throughout APRIL’s supply chain in 2014. KPMG found that in the first six months of 2014 alone, APRIL’s pulp mill in Kerinci, Sumatra consumed 1.3 million cubic metres of rainforest timber.

In early November, Greenpeace documented an APRIL subsidiary clearing large areas of dense forest and cutting drainage canals into fire-prone peatland on Padang island in Riau, Sumatra.[3] Much of the forest in this concession is known to be on deep peat. Deep peat is protected under an Indonesian presidential decree, and clearance of forest on deep peat violates Ministry of Forestry regulations.[4]

Later that month, on Nov. 27, Indonesian President Joko Widodo witnessed from the air the destruction of Padang island. While personally assisting in damming a peat drainage canal dug by another APRIL supplier at nearby Tebing Tinggi island, the President pledged to review and cancel concessions where plantation companies were damaging peatlands.[5] However, despite APRIL committing to end forest destruction in its concessions by December 2014, Padang island residents documented further peatland clearance by the company in January 2015.

Meanwhile, satellite analysis shows that during 2014 APRIL supplier Adindo Hutani Lestari in North Kalimantan cleared around 27,000 hectares of dense peatland forest as well as other forest areas, including areas originally mapped by the company’s own assessors as HCV. At least 4,500 hectares of this was located on deep peat. [6]

“APRIL thought it could buy time for continued forest and peatland destruction with this weak forest policy. It has spent the past twelve months destroying as much forest as possible. But its attempts at greenwash have failed spectacularly. Even its own consultants are exposing APRIL’s lack of progress and broken promises,” said Zulfahmi, forest campaign team leader at Greenpeace Indonesia.

“Other companies have realised that deforestation has to stop, yet APRIL and its stablemates in the Royal Golden Eagle group seem determined to keep pulping rainforest. APRIL, Asia Symbol, Sateri and Toba Pulp Lestari are the greatest threat that Indonesia’s rainforests face today. Companies that buy from APRIL, or banks like Santander and ABN Amro that are financing APRIL’s operations, should take their business elsewhere if they want to avoid being associated with this destruction,” said Richard George, global forest campaigner at Greenpeace UK.

Media Contacts:

 Zulfahmi, forest campaign team leader, Greenpeace Indonesia, Mob: +618126821214 or +447405095937

 Richard George, forest campaigner, Greenpeace UK, Mob: +44 (0) 7879 416694

 Notes to editors 

  1. Greenpeace has published a briefing on APRIL for pulp and paper buyers and is advising all companies to cease trading with APRIL and other pulp companies in the Royal Golden Eagle group until the RGE group has a strong policy that protects natural forests and peatlands. http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/sites/files/gpuk/20150113%20Update%20for%20Customers%20of%20RGE%20Group%20Final.pdf

  2. APRIL’s Sustainable Forest Management Plan :  http://www.aprilasia.com/news/APRIL%20SFM%20POLICY.pdf

  3. Photos of APRIL’s peatland draining and clearing at Padang Island are available here: http://photo.greenpeace.org/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&ALID=27MZIF36R8HJ&CT=Album

  4. Presidential Decree (Keppres 32/1990) on management of protected areas, Ministry of Forestry Regulation (PP 3/2008) on forest management.

  5. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/Indonesian-President-dams-canal-vows-to-protect-peatlands/

  6. Greenpeace SEA mapping analysis 2015