One of the world’s largest producers of pulp and paper, APRIL, has today announced an end to deforestation as part of a new ‘Sustainable Forest Management Plan’.
The good news comes on the back of sustained pressure from tens of thousands of Australians who emailed Australian paper supplier Office Brands demanding an end to the use of APRIL’s paper because it was sourced from Indonesia’s old growth rain forests.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific welcomed APRIL’s announcement, and is suspending its campaign to stop Australian businesses buying from APRIL to give the company time to put these new policies into practice.
“Over forty thousand Australians contacted Office Brands to ask them to stop buying from APRIL until it stopped clearing precious Indonesian rain forest”, said Jessica Panegyres, Greenpeace’s Forest Campaigner.
“Office Brands listened to these concerns and raised them with APRIL, which has no doubt contributed to today’s announcement.”
“Indonesia’s beautiful rain forests are too precious to turn into paper, and today’s announcement shows forest protection is becoming the way forward for business,” Panegyres said.
Deforestation for pulp and paper, and palm oil, is a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions in Indonesia. If properly implemented, APRIL’s pledge will prove to be another major step by business towards protecting Indonesia’s rain-forests and peatlands.
APRIL’s parent company, the Royal Golden Eagle group, has also announced that new sustainability policies will be implemented by all other pulp companies in the group, including an end to deforestation.
“We commend APRIL for agreeing to end its deforestation, although we will be watching closely to make sure that today’s announcement leads to real change on the ground,” said Bustar Maitar, Head of Greenpeace’s Forest Campaign in Indonesia.
“Today’s commitment from APRIL and the RGE Group is yet more proof that forest protection is the way forward for plantation companies in Indonesia.”
APRIL has agreed to a number of new conservation measures, including using the High Carbon Stock Approach to identify and protect forest areas remaining in their concessions. The company has also agreed to protect forested peatlands and has established a Peat Expert Working Group to help its develop international best practice for managing peatlands to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Indonesia’s peatlands store an estimated 60 billion metric tons of carbon. When peatlands are drained for plantations this carbon is released, and the landscape becomes susceptible to smouldering fires which blanket the region in an annual haze.
APRIL has also agreed to work collaboratively and transparently to resolve its outstanding social conflicts and to support development opportunities for local communities that do not involve deforestation.
APRIL’s announcement follows similar decisions by other major players in the pulp and palm oil sectors to protect Indonesia’s forests and peatlands. In September, some of the biggest palm oil producers in Indonesia, including APRIL’s sister companies Asian Agri and Apical, agreed to end deforestation. Equally, there is growing support from the business community in Indonesia for a development model based on forest protection.
“President Jokowi promised to stop plantation companies damaging the environment or harming communities. Yet even though Indonesia’s biggest pulpwood and palm oil companies are moving away from deforestation, the destruction on the ground continues. The government must now act to reform the forest sector so it works for people and the environment,” said Maitar.