The Week Two Pulp and Paper Companies Showed Their True Colors

by Amy Moas

January 29, 2014

Rainforest near the Kebar mountains.

© Greenpeace / Daniel Beltrá

My colleague Phil Aikman, a Senior Forest Campaigner shares the story of two divergent pulp and paper companies in Indonesia that have been the focus of Greenpeace campaigns for many years. His words tell the story of how this week, these two companies took steps in seemingly opposite directions. -- This week Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), the target of a successful Greenpeace campaign, took yet another step along the road to reform. But its competitor APRIL is still clinging to its rainforest destruction. The good news from APP Our people powered campaign pushed APP, once a chief driver of deforestation in Indonesia, to clean up its rainforest practices. And this is why we have been closely watching how APP has been implementing its policy over the last year. Its also why we welcome todays announcement that APP has hired the Rainforest Alliance to evaluate the implementation of its Forest Conservation Policy. Having followed APP's progress over the past year, we're pleased to see that APP has continued to raise its ambitions and increase its openness to independent scrutiny. This is important for people and companies around the world who demanded that APP end its role in rainforest destruction, and also to give customers re-assurance that APP is changing, for good. In our progress report in November 2013, we welcomed the fact that APP had agreed, in principle, to a fully independent evaluation of its efforts by an independent global NGO. Today's news that Rainforest Alliance will perform this role is great news for all those who want to see companies follow through on their commitments to forest protection. It proves that APP is serious about allowing independent observers to report on its progress, as well as ongoing challenges in implementing its policy.   Now some bad news. APRIL Pulpwood Concession in Sumatra Unfortunately, APPs progress stands in stark contrast to an announcement this week by APRIL, APP's main competitor. APRIL announced a so-called Sustainable Forest Management Policy on Tuesday, just weeks after being threatened to be kicked out of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). To us, it seemed like a desperate act to give its destructive operations a veneer of that well used adjective: sustainable. The policy is full of loopholes and essentially provides a license for it to continue forest clearance at will. A glaring weakness is that it would allow its current suppliers to continue to destroy rainforest and peatlands for nearly a year, and give it another six more years until it would stop using rainforest fiber at its mill. This simply is not good enough to protect Indonesias dwindling rainforests. [caption id="attachment_23240" align="alignnone" width="600"]Protest against APRIL in Indonesia in 2009 Protest against APRIL in Indonesia in 2009[/caption] We worked hard to push APP towards protecting forests and peatlands, so we dont want to see companies like APRIL race to the lowest common denominator. If APRIL was serious about cutting rainforest destruction from its supply chains then it would look to more progressive players in the forestry sector that have put an immediate moratorium on all forest clearance and new peatland development, like APP. APRIL and all companies under its parent company, the Royal Golden Eagle Group (RGE), must follow its competitor APP and become a leader in forest protection. Until it does, Greenpeace will continue to expose APRILs desperate PR stunts for what they are: half measures that fail to immediately protect rainforests. Customers must challenge APRIL or risk tainting their supply chains with rainforest destruction.
Amy Moas

By Amy Moas

Amy Moas, Ph.D. is a senior forest campaigner for Greenpeace based in Las Vegas. She focuses on combating the drivers of deforestation around the world including palm oil, pulp and paper, and illegal logging.

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