Greenpeace activists in Teluk Binjai, Pelalawan, Riau unfurl a banner that reads "April stop trashing our future" as they blockade a barge being loaded with Kampar rainforest logs, destined for APRIL's pulp mill in Pangkalan Kerinci.
This is the second time Greenpeace activists have taken action to stop APRIL destroying the natural forest of Kampar. After a Greenpeace action in October 2009, the Minister for Forests ordered the temporary suspension of APRIL operations, however this year operations restarted without the Ministry conducting the promised legal and legislative review of APRIL's existing permits or resolving conflicts between the company and the community as promised. The destruction of rainforests and peatlands by companies like APRIL
and Sinar Mas is the key reason why, according to recent government
estimates, Indonesia ranks as the worlds third largest greenhouse gas
Many people are often surprised when I tell them that there are two giant pulp and paper companies in Indonesia. One , Asia Pulp & Paper, has a name and story known by many, especially its decision to turn off its chainsaws last year. The other, however, is largely an unknown name, Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) . And its story of rainforest destruction is only starting to get told.
But Greenpeace has been working to get APRIL to stop turning Indonesias dwindling natural rainforests into paper for years now. And APRIL is finally starting to squirm.
Yesterday, only a couple of weeks after the World Business Council on Sustainable Development put APRIL on probation, APRIL gathered together a crowd so everyone could watch as it attempted to paint itself green. APRIL announced a so-called Sustainable Forest Management Policy.
However this policy is not fooling anyone, especially not Greenpeace and all of you.
APRILs policyannouncement is essentially a license to continue forest destruction. A glaringweakness is that it would allow its current suppliers to continue to destroy forest and peatlands for nearly a year, and give it another six more yearsuntil it would have to stop using rainforest fiber to make pulp and paper.
If APRIL were serious about cutting forestdestruction from their supply chains then it would look to more progressiveplayers in the forestry sector that have put an immediate moratorium on allforest clearance and peatland development.
If APRIL were serious it would also protect all naturalforests and other conservation values in its supplier concessions.
And lastly if APRIL were serious, its sustainability commitments would apply to the parent company ofAPRIL, the Royal Golden Eagle Group (RGE) in order to address deforestation by othercompanies in the Group (for instance, Asian Agri and Toba PulpLestari)
Greenpeace has no choice but to continue to exposeAPRILs rainforest destruction masked in desperate measures to appease a growing demand for sustainable forestryproducts.
APRIL is the single largest driver of deforestationfor pulp and paper in Indonesia and its SustainableForest Management Policy does not change that.
Amy Moas, Ph.D. is a Senior Forest Campaigner for Greenpeace USA, based in Las Vegas and San Francisco. She focuses on combating the drivers of deforestation around the world including palm oil, pulp and paper, and illegal logging.