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Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) has issued a report showing that allegations of its Forest Moratorium being violated are unfounded.
The report has been issued following a complaint received from a consortium of local NGOs (Relawan Pemantau Hutan Kalimantan / RPHK) that two of its suppliers were clearing natural forest in West Kalimantan Province, in direct contradiction to APP’s Forest Conservation Policy announced on February 5th. The cornerstones of this policy are a commitment to zero deforestation throughout APP’s supply chain, and a clear grievance procedure.
On the day of the complaints, APP stated, “We, and our partner TFT, are investigating these allegations, and in the interests of complete transparency, will publish our findings as soon as they are available.” The company added that it could not draw a conclusion until it had all the facts to hand.
APP has now received The Forest Trust’s (TFT) full technical report available here. It includes accurate GPS mapping of the areas under investigation, records of discussions with the contractors on-site, and analysis of ground level activity as well as examination of inter-company relationships.
The two allegations made are related to activities carried out by DTK (PT Daya Tani Kalbar) and ATP (PT Asia Tani Persada), both of which are suppliers to APP. In both cases there was clearance of natural forest being undertaken, but in neither instance was the clearance related to APP. Therefore neither APP, nor its suppliers, are in breach of its moratorium.
In both cases, however, the over-riding issue is concession overlap. So far as DTK is concerned, clearance was for the development of a palm oil plantation owned by a company, Gerbang Benua Raya (GBR). There is evidence of old land clearance, and there are oil palms that are about 18-months old.
In the case of ATP, TFT found canal construction through forested peatland, being carried out on behalf of a Bauxite mining business, Karya Utama Tambang Jaya (KUTJ), a company unrelated to APP. Additionally, this activity is taking place outside the APP moratorium area, according to mapping data.
In neither case is there any evidence of cross-ownership between APP’s suppliers and both companies (GBR and KUTJ). APP and TFT are therefore confident, based on the evidence in the report, that on this occasion the allegations made that suppliers were in breach of the APP Forest Conservation Policy are unfounded.
Aida Greenbury, APP’s Managing Director of Sustainability, said, “We committed to full transparency and to independent investigation through our Grievance Protocol of any alleged breach in our moratorium on natural forest clearance. This is an example of our commitment in action. Despite unsubstantiated commentary by some parties, we said from the start that we would not speculate before the facts were known. We will continue to adhere to our grievance procedures. Where there are concerns, we urge communities and NGOs to bring them to our attention and we promise we will be thorough in our investigation, as we have been in this case. We also reiterate the fact that if a supplier were found to be in breach of our Forest Conservation Policy, we will not hesitate to take swift action.”
“There is a wider issue at stake,” she continued. “Licensing and concession overlap is not uncommon in Indonesia. It is clear that there must be greater precision in governance. Currently, APP and TFT are mapping all overlapping areas in our suppliers’ concessions. Once we have all the details, we will adopt a strategy to resolve this and protect the integrity of the natural forests in the areas, together with other stakeholders, national government and provincial legislatures. We urge other forest dependent businesses, communities and NGOs to join us in helping to make this happen.”
Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) is a trade name for a group of pulp and paper manufacturing companies in Indonesia and China. The APP Group of companies is one of the world’s largest vertically integrated pulp and paper companies, with an annual combined pulp, paper, and converting products capacity of over 18 million tons. APP-Indonesia and APP-China currently market their products in more than 120 countries across six continents. The majority of APP’s production facilities are Chain-of-Custody certified by SVLK, LEI and PEFC.
APP launched its Sustainability Roadmap Vision 2020 in June 2012 and its Forest Conservation policy in February 2013, to further improve its environmental performance, biodiversity conservation, and protection of community rights.
The APP Forest Conservation Policy is available on www.asiapulppaper.com.
Established in 1999, The Forest Trust (TFT) is a global non-profit that helps businesses bring responsible products to market. Responsible products improve peoples’ lives and respect the environment at all stages of the product lifecycle. TFT helps its more than 90 members worldwide build responsible supply chains by identifying and addressing embedded social and environmental issues. Having established a strong record of achievement in timber supply chains, TFT has expanded its work into palm oil, leather and stone. TFT has offices in 15 countries, and an on-the-ground presence in many more, http://www.tft-forests.org.