Rainforest Alliance independent evaluation of APP’s progress

Greenpeace Statement

Press release - February 5, 2015
Greenpeace statement on Rainforest Alliance report ‘An Evaluation of Asia Pulp & Paper’s Progress to Meet its Forest Conservation Policy (2013) and Additional Public Statements’

Greenpeace welcomes the Rainforest Alliance independent evaluation of APP’s progress in delivering its zero deforestation and supply chain commitments. The report identifies important areas that need to be addressed by APP but Greenpeace believes the company to still be on track to deliver its commitments.

Greenpeace has been closely monitoring APP’s implementation of its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) since it was announced in February 2013. We have carefully reviewed the Rainforest Alliance report and consider that it is a fair and balanced assessment of just how far APP has come in delivering its policies to protect natural forests, peatlands and other high conservation values. This includes how it is addressing community rights issues across its suppliers’ operations.

Zulfahmi, forest campaigner at Greenpeace Southeast Asia said: “Whilst the Rainforest Alliance report finds that APP has met its commitment to impose a moratorium on its suppliers to stop converting areas of natural forest and peatland into plantations, the authors documented ongoing deforestation and logging inside APP supplier concessions by other parties.”

Zulfahmi continued:  “The Rainforest Alliance highlights a number of important challenges that APP still needs to tackle. Greenpeace concludes that the company is still on track to deliver its commitments, however APP needs to intensify its efforts to address these challenges by making additional improvements in implementing its Forest Conservation Policy commitments. Greenpeace expects APP to be completely transparent on how it is meeting these policy commitments.

Greenpeace welcomes APP’s announcement today to make additional improvements on the implementation of its FCP.  We want to see APP take immediate concrete actions to address forest conversion and degradation by other parties within its suppliers’ concessions.  This will mean a fundamental change in the relationship with customary and local communities towards having them as partners in forest conservation. We also urge APP to prioritise addressing the hundreds of outstanding complaints in its concessions and strengthen the implementation of its policy to safeguard community rights, including its application of the principle of Free and Prior Informed Consent.

Additionally, APP has announced how it will develop and implement the peatland commitment in its FCP.  Greenpeace is pleased to note APP has engaged Deltares to lead a group of international peat experts to re-map the characteristics of around 4 million hectares of peatland (some 20% of Indonesia's peatland) in and around APP supplier concessions. This new data will provide the basis for recommendations to APP on protecting forested peatland, restoring degraded peatland areas, and development of a new standard for best management practices for peatland at a landscape level. 

Resolving the larger problems of achieving zero deforestation in Indonesia requires the government, companies and NGOs to work together to address issues such as overlapping licences, land conflicts with communities, illegal encroachment and other issues that undermine forest protection. Companies like APP can set and implement ambitious zero deforestation policies, but unless the government overhauls its laws and policies in favour of forest protection and strictly enforces existing laws, deforestation will continue.

APP’s progress against its zero deforestation policy stands in marked contrast to APRIL, its only major competitor in Indonesia. Whilst APP and its suppliers ended all further rainforest and peatland clearance two years ago, APRIL confirmed at the beginning of 2014, through its Forest Policy, that its suppliers’ bulldozers would continue clearing forest and peatland up until 2020. Further, a recent independent audit into its operations found that none of its 50 suppliers was in compliance with its new policy. Investigations by Greenpeace and other Indonesian NGOs document widespread forest clearance including clearance of deep peat in violation of Ministry of Forestry regulations.

APRIL is increasingly isolated amongst large plantation companies in Indonesia. A number of major companies have now made commitments to end deforestation across their supply chain, including APRIL’s sister palm oil company Asian Agri. Other companies including GAR, Wilmar, Cargill, and Musim Mas have also signed a pledge with KADIN (the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce) to support political reform to end deforestation.

Greenpeace has not advocated that companies boycott APP since late 2012. In line with Greenpeace’s long standing organisational position never to endorse individual companies or their products, we do not advocate buying from the company. Our position remains the same as in 2014: companies choosing to enter into commercial relations with APP should include specific clauses in their supply contract to ensure that APP continues to make measurable progress against meeting its Forest Conservation Policy commitment. APP is fully aware of this position and is fully supportive of this due diligence approach to contract clauses.

Greenpeace endorse the Environmental Paper Network’s Global Paper Vision. As such, we recommend all buyers of pulp and paper to choose recycled and FSC-certified products.