The International trade fair Paperworld, in Frankfurt, hosted the presentations of the Indonesian Indonesian Ecolabelling Institute (LEI). While LEI is claiming to be making a "huge commitment to sustainable papermaking in Indonesia", a broad coalition of Indonesian social and environmental NGO's released a statement condemning Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) for their unsustainable practices at PT Wirakarya Sakti (WKS), which has recently been certified by LEI as a sustainable forest plantation.
"LEI is the only certification body in the world that has a full understanding of sustainability issues in Indonesia. As such LEI have worked closely with established certification organisations to develop rigorous standards for the paper industry" said Executive Director of LEI, Agung Prasetyo. The statement, quoted in an APP press release, is refused by the NGOs: "This certification is not credible and transparent, because inputs by NGOs and affected communities were ignored" said Diki Kurniawan of Warsi. The NGOs cite the massive destruction of natural forests ongoing in the Asia Pulp and Paper concession WKS. More than 48,000 hectares (59%) of the WKS forest was cleared from 2007 to 2008. WKS currently holds an industrial timber plantation permit (HTI) from the government of Indonesia, which strictly prevents Asia Pulp and Paper from clearing natural forest. HTI operations, by law, must only be established on degraded land. Peatlands are protected by presidential decree in Indonesia, but Asia Pulp and Paper's WKS has cleared 70% of the peatlands encompassed in their concession between 2007-2008. The rapid and large scale conversion of natural forests outside of Indonesian law led Indonesian civil society to question the validity of LEI's certification and Asia Pulp and Paper's operations in general. PT WKS is home to 10,000 Indonesians, about 500 of which are members of the Orang Rimba indigenous group who still practice a nomadic lifestyle in the forests of Sumatra. Many local farmers have lost their lands to WKS, and the Orang Rimba are increasingly marginalized. Many conflicts have take place, from arrests to burnings of company equipment by local people. LEI certification is specifically required to account for social impacts of Asia Pulp and Paper operations; the high levels of social conflict at WKS are anything except sustainable and raise serious questions regarding the validity of APP's LEI certification.