APP to stop natural forest clearance on 1st June


APP will suspend natural forest clearance in its concessions from 1st June.

One of the world’s leading pulp and paper producers Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) has announced that it is to suspend cutting down natural forests in it pulpwood plantations and concessions from 1st June. The announcement is only for a temporary ban on forest clearance of its own company subsidiaries and its own concessions.

The ban starting from 1st June will last while assessments are undertaken to ensure that future tree felling meets Indonesia’s High Conservation Value Forest policies. The ban will not affect the operations of independent pulpwood suppliers to APP. [pullquote]The Government of Indonesia has made the protection of natural forests a key element of national policy. For this to work, the private sector organisations also need to take initiatives which go beyond what the law expects of them. The Government supports today’s announcement and hopes other companies will follow APP’s example in this regard.[/pullquote]

APP have been moving towards more sustainable forestry practise over the last few years and this suspension of natural forest clearance will ensure that time is allowed for assessments to be undertaken and to help conserve the forest eco-system during the period of examinations.

APP have said that this suspension of activities is the natural next step in its sustainability strategy and they are announcing a move to adopt the internationally recognised standards for High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF).  

This next step in sustainability involves the following:

1.       With respect to APP owned concessions in Indonesia:

  • Effective from 1st June 2012, we will suspend natural forest clearance while HCVF assessments are conducted. 
  •  We have engaged credible experts to conduct HCVF assessments, in accordance with HCV Resource Network best practice. The assessments will be based on a multi-stakeholder approach.
  • We will protect all identified HCVF areas as a result of the HCVF assessments.

2.       With respect to APP’s independent pulpwood suppliers in Indonesia:

  • Given our firm commitments on HCVF, APP expects independent suppliers to comply with our request for HCVF assessments, by 31st December 2014.
  • With an international NGO partner, we will engage with our independent suppliers to adopt HCVF assessments.
  • We will review and re-evaluate supply agreements where HCVF assessments are not conducted.  

APP’s Managing Director of Sustainability, Aida Greenbury, said: “Effective immediately, we are embarking on a bold program to ensure we can offer our customers products with the highest environmental and social integrity, and to ensure delivery of a shared vision for the global community. We are taking account of critical issues raised in our dialogue with NGOs.  It is the aim of APP’s policy to exclude HCVF from the supply chain.”

Regarding APP’s future expansion, Ms Greenbury said: “As a business we are always assessing the markets for opportunities. We will ensure that our Natural Forest Policy will apply to all of our current mill operations and any future expansion.” 

Robin Mailoa, CEO of Sinar Mas Forestry explained, “We are confident in our ability to embed these policies in our business, but we also acknowledge that success will require the engagement of many stakeholders.

The commitment comes just days after the Indonesia government announced a ground-breaking multi-billion dollar lawsuit against 16 forestry companies for illegal logging. The USD 226 Billion lawsuit aims to recover not just the cost of illegally logged trees (making up     about 4% of the claim) but also losses to forestry ecosystem services, soil degradation and habitat losses. 

The Indonesian government has welcomed the suspension of natural forest clearance by APP.  Mr Darori, Director General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation at the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, said, “The Government of Indonesia has made the protection of natural forests a key element of national policy. For this to work, the private sector organisations also need to take initiatives which go beyond what the law expects of them. The Government supports today’s announcement and hopes other companies will follow APP’s example in this regard.

Y.W. Junardy, President of the Indonesian Chapter of the United Nations Global Compact Network, said, “We welcome APP’s strategic step to protect and conserve the forest. As a corporation that is active in the Global Compact movement, this step demonstrates the commitment and efforts of APP in implementing the principles of the United Nation Global Compact, especially the environmental aspect. This commitment is important for the sustainability of business and the environment for the long term.

External Sites:

Asia Pulp and Paper.


Posted in Human Impacts, Plant life and tagged , , , .
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  1. What’s been happening over the last six years is the plantations have been maturing.

    APP plants 500,000 trees a day as part of its sustainability programme. You never seem to mention that. You will know that APP is set to build the world’s largest mill in southern Sumatra to harvest the plantations that are about to mature there. I would have thought you’d be celebrating that. You should also be aware that the forestry industry contributes $21 billion to the country’s GDP (of which 15.3% is agriculture compared to the UK’s 0.7%). Also, 18 million people are dependent on the sector for work. You can’t just say no to this industry because you don’t like the tree species in the plantations. Don’t forget 50% of Indonesians live on less than $2 goods and service a day. Your TV subscription is probably more than that. What’s interesting to me is the environmentalists never credit these companies for their sustainability programmes.

    If Greenpeace wants to impose its sustainability standards on the Indonesian government, then it needs to engage at that level and start using the appropriate language. It can’t keep spouting the donation-seeking stuff it does and then expect a seat at an influential negotiating table.

    (I’m not sure you should hold GAR up as a poster child either. You might want to look at the ministry’s report on their activities last year.)

    • Hi

      I have to agree with you to a certain extent on green groups such as Greenpeace and others.

      They are becoming a little boring and annoying in the way that they operate. They are far more interested in raising funds than trying to make constructive arguments to help sustainable development and poverty prevention.

      The only really positive things I can say – at least from the UK perspective – is that the membership of these groups is getting older with time as young people turn away from joining them because it’s killing their future hopes and aspirations of good jobs and affordable housing.


  2. Nothing very new in APP’s “new” forest protection policy
    Blogpost by Bustar Maitar, Forest Campaigner, Greenpeace SEA – May 15, 2012 at 12:26Add comment
    The news initially sounded intriguing : Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) was inviting journalists in Jakarta to the launch of what the company grandly dubbed its “greatest commitment to natural forest protection.”
    Discarding the PR gloss, however, leaves an announcement that exposes glaring gaps in APP’s ‘new’ policy and demonstrates that the company is still not serious about reform.
    APP, which has been linked to illegal logging and the clearance of Sumatran tiger habitat, unveiled in in its press conference on Tuesday what it claimed were new measures to protect high conservation value forests (HCVF) in Indonesia.
    Starting from June 1, the company said it would “suspend natural forest clearance while HCVF assessments are conducted” in areas “owned” by the company.
    That of course sounds good on paper. The problem is, however, we’ve heard that before from APP.
    In fact, an advertisement that APP ran in the New York Times newspaper dating back to 2006, called ‘Conservation beyond Compliance’ reads remarkably similar.

    The question that APP still needs to answer is: what has been happening for the past six years if it was already committed to protecting HCV forests back in 2006? The answer is: not a lot.
    Investigations have indicated that APP has continued receiving timber from the clearance of natural forests, including those of high conservation value. In fact, as the NGO coalition Eyes on the Forest has reported, APP has even cleared areas previously identified as high conservation value forests by third parties. See page 9 of the report.
    Still, this has not stopped APP from repeatedly making the same false claim that it is committed to protecting HCV forests.
    Just last year, APP managing director Aida Greenbury, who chaired the Jakarta press conference earlier on Tuesday, promised that “any land which is to be converted must not contain High Value Conservation Forest.” Again, lovely words, but not matched by action.
    So, given the company’s track record, it’s difficult to see today’s announcement either as ‘new’ or something that can be welcomed as real progress.
    Look at the fine print also. APP says the new commitments will apply to areas “owned” by APP. So how much of the supply chain does it actually own? Rather inconveniently, or perhaps conveniently for APP, no information or supporting evidence has been provided to answer that question.
    What’s worse is that we have heard previously that it claims to control less than half of its supply chain. So what is it exactly?
    In the end, APP would have been better advised to follow the approach taken by palm oil producer Golden Agri Resources (GAR), also part of the Sinar Mas Group. GAR had introduced a forest conservation policy last year that committed the company to not develop its plantations on forests or peatland.
    So if APP wanted to convince customers and other stakeholders that it’s really changing, why didn’t it follow GAR’s lead?
    Instead, the company has thrown away a perfect opportunity to convince them that it is serious about reform. The losers continue to be Indonesia’s forests and peatlands, as well as the reputation of Indonesia’s forest sector.

  3. The Indonesian company APP has been planting about 200M a trees a year (more than half a million trees a day) as part of its sustainability programme, so moves like this have been in the planning for years.

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