The “sustainability roadmap” issued recently by controversial Indonesia deforester Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) dramatically backtracks on a series of promises it has made – and broken - previously, an analysis by the Riau NGO coalition Eyes on the Forest has found. "We were abundantly justified in not trusting their 2004 Sustainability Action Plan promise to cease native forest pulping by 2007 and responsible paper buyers or consumers should be dismayed that nearly a decade later, APP’s latest Sustainability Roadmap doesn’t even promise to go that far by 2015," said Muslim Rasyid, coordinator of Eyes on the Forest member Jikalahari (Forest Rescue Network, Riau).
Part of the giant Sinar Mas Group (SMG), APP announced in early June that it would temporarily halt clearing of natural forest in only its “own” concessions while it conducts assessments for forests of high conservation values, an industry practice that conservation groups have long called for APP to do.
“Our analysis found there is no natural forest left to apply their new policies to in Riau Province, since all natural forest in their ‘own’ concessions had either already been cleared or protected under Indonesian law or APP showcase commitments which are also mostly nothing more than confirmation that the company would obey the law,” said Rasyid. “We believe that APP’s new policies offer no conservation benefit for any forest outside Riau either.”
The Eyes on the Forest analysis APP/SMG: The pulping continues finds "the fate of up to 1.2 million hectares, more than half of Riau’s remaining forest, remains in danger of being cleared by APP/SMG’s so-called 'independent suppliers' who can continue to deliver natural forest wood to the company’s mills unaffected by the new forest policies."
These forests include some of the last refuges of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger and elephant, as well as forests on carbon-rich deep peat, whose clearing will lead to very high carbon emissions for decades to come.
"This so-called roadmap to sustainability is just another element of APP’s investment in greenwashing, rather than greening - said Rod Taylor, Director of the WWF International Forests Programme - This is not a roadmap to sustainability, but a roadmap to pulp more of Indonesia’s forests."
Not only is APP backtracking from the broken sustainability commitments of 2004 and 2007, it also appears to be moving back from commitments made just a year ago in its “Vision 2020, a roadmap to guide sustainability principles, goals and program.”
In this announcement, APP said it would “source 100 percent of its pulpwood supply from sustainable plantation stock by the end of 2015”. The 2012 roadmap switches terminology from “100 per cent sourcing” to “100 per cent capability” with the introduction of a new loophole for “Mixed Tropical Hardwood (MTH) waste & residues”.
APP/SMG: The pulping continues includes photographic evidence of clearfelled rainforest areas APP calls “waste and residues.
Eyes on the Forest members including WWF and Walhi Riau are calling on APP and SMG to immediately stop natural forest wood from forest conversion entering any of its pulp mills.
"Until APP makes this commitment and finds a way to demonstrate it is not just yet another empty promise, its financiers, paper buyers and paper consumers need to maintain and extend their own growing moratorium on dealing with APP," said Hariansyah Usman, Executive Director of Walhi Riau.