Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Brutal murder at APP concession

On Friday, Indra Kailani (23) of Lubuk Mandarsah was killed by security guards hired by Asia Pulp & Paper sister company PT. Wirakarya Sakti (WKS) in Bukit Tigapuluh landscape, Jambi Province, Sumatra. On the day of the murder, “Tebo Farmers Group (Serikat Petani Tebo)” including the village was organizing a rice harvest festival. Indra came to a security post in the District 8 of WKSconcession to pick up Nick Karim of Walhi Jambi to join the festival, then the security guards started to quarrel with Indra, then at least 7 security guards started to beat him up. Walhi Jambi reported that Nick asked one security guard to help Indra from the brutal attack, but the guard rejected it. Nick then left the post to inform his colleagues and villagers of the incident. By the time Nick returned with roughly 30 villagers, Indra was missing and the security officer on duty denied knowing anything about the incident.
Police in Tebo district were alerted and conducted a search Friday evening. Indra's body was discovered the next day in swamp forest area 7 km away from the guard post, and roughly 400 meters from the road. Indra's feet were bound with rope and his mouth stuffed with a t-shirt. His body showed signs of severe beating. Witnesses said that his corpse was taken by a car while his head was covered by his own shirt.

Tebo police say they are now seeking seven suspects in the killing, which comes after years of conflict between the company and local villagers over land claims. The village has been in conflict with WKS for a long time over their land tenure for 3,000 ha. For the past year, WAHLI has been working to facilitate a conflict resolution process between WKS and villagers as part of WKS's parent company APP's two-year-old zero deforestation policy, which includes both social and environmental provisions. That process has included mapping and delineating local land claims and small agricultural plots within areas granted as concessions to the company.
Earlier year, a joint NGO evaluation of APP’s social conflict resolution efforts showed a serious lack of progress in resolving many conflicts APP suppliers have. “This incident appears to be only the tip of an iceberg. Indra’s village has had long-lasting conflict with WKS. There are hundreds of such conflicts between local people and SMG/APP suppliers in Sumatra and Kalimantan,” said Muslim Rasyid, Coordinator of Jikalahari and EoF. “We call on SMG/APP to put serious efforts into resolving these conflicts as soon as possible.”

“This appears to be a pre-meditated brutal murder,” said Riko Kurniawan, Executive Director of Walhi Riau, a member of the EoF coalition. “We hope that justice is done this time, unlike 2010 and 2012 cases in which two farmers were killed under similar circumstances arising from social conflicts with APP suppliers in Jambi and Riau.”
“We have known Indra through our forest monitoring training as a part of European Union FLEGT funded project, co-organized by WWF and Warsi. We will miss him. Our hearts are with his family,” said Aditya Bayunanda, Forest Commodity Leader WWF-Indonesia. “We urge Jambi Police to conduct swift and conclusive investigation and SMG/APP to fully cooperate and be transparent in the investigation. WWF decided to suspend further discussion with APP on conservation issues until we see a significant closure of this conflict.”
Greenpeace, which has been working with APP to implement the policy, immediately condemned the killing and called for "full and unconditional cooperation" from APP in the investigation. "APP must take immediate action to ensure that this is fully and fairly investigated by the authorities with full and unconditional cooperation from the company. APP must also launch a full investigation of security procedures and its contractors to ensure such incidents never happen again. We expect the company to be transparent in addressing this issue," said Bustar Maitar, head of Greenpeace's Indonesia forest campaign. "Following a fair and comprehensive investigation, those directly and indirectly responsible for Indra’s death, including members of the security firm and APP, must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law if found to have been connected to this tragic death."Given the gravity of this incident, the conflict resolution process must be prioritized on this case and across all APP operations in order to ensure justice is delivered. In the interim, Greenpeace will step back from other engagement with APP to focus on addressing the serious issues highlighted by this case.”

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Rainforest Alliance : an evaluation of APP’s progress to meet its forest policy

Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) released today first independent evaluation of its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) made by the Rainforest Alliance. The evaluation concludes that the company has made moderate progress towards meeting its commitments, but it also highlighted a number of shortcoming that need to be addressed.

In the past, has been criticized for extensive clearance of rainforest areas in Sumatra and Kalimantan, many of which are located on carbon rich peatlands. The development and operation of plantations in these areas is a major source of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions driving its emissions to third largest of any nation. The company’s deforestation legacy includes the clearance of vital rainforest habitat for species such as the critically endangered Sumatran tiger, and far too often created social conflict over forestland by failing to respect human rights.

On February, APP announced a new Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) that committed to ending deforestation and further addresses the company’s environmental and social impacts and associated criticism.

According to the auditing report, many problems still are unresolved. Among them, 

  • with the exception of the halt of canal development, there is no change in the management practices in peatlands
  • around 90% of the several hundred other conflicts that APP has mapped is still unresolved
  • social commitments at policy level are not consistently mirrored by implementation on the ground
  • some plantations where HCV assessors have identified some HCVs as being present continued to be harvested without implementation of the recommended measures to protect the HCVs identified.
  • APP has not implemented measures on the ground to fully protect moratorium areas from third part clearance
    management of the fire risk is weak
  • although important steps towards greater transparency, this is not at the degree of transparency “complete Transparency” claimed by the company.

APP welcomed the Rainforest Alliance independent evaluation and announced further steps to improve its implementation of the policy” said Aida Greenbury, of APP. “We’re pleased that the Rainforest Alliance has recognised the progress we are making.“The report has highlighted a number of areas which require additional focus. Its findings, along with feedback from other stakeholders, have been used to inform our FCP implementation plan for 2015 and beyond, which we are introducing today."

Thursday, September 25, 2014

NGOs coalition lodges corruption cases against 27 pulp suppliers

A coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations lodged corruption cases involving 27 forestry companies in Riau to anti-corruption commission (KPK) in Jakarta Tuesday, media reports said. Coalition of Anti-Forest Mafia (Koalisi Anti-Mafia Hutan/KAMH) filed 27 pulpwood suppliers associated to Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) and Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) for allegedly bribing Riau government officials for issuing licenses in period of 2002-2006.


 

“We hope KPK to be more progressive in scrutinizing corporations involved in Riau forestry corruption as they also obtained licenses which caused State losses and forest ecosystem destruction in the province,” said Evan Sembiring from Walhi Riau, one member of coalition.

The KAMH coalition consists of WALHI, Jikalahari, Riau Corruption Trial, Indonesia Corruption Watch, Yayasan Auriga, YLBHI, Transparency International Indonesia, IWGFF, ELSAM, and Indonesia Legal Roundtable.

Evan Sembiring said, KPK could bring corporates to the justice as suspects of corruption as the cases of officials had been definitely penalized by the Law. The alleged companies could be sanctioned with imprisonment of their management, fined and license annulment.

EoF learns that forestry-related corruption cases in Riau had punished six officials to jail in the province including district heads, forestry service heads and governor. However, none of companies involved in the corruption are prosecuted despite they are partners in crime as final decision announced by judges saying the defendants found guilty in collaborating with companies to cause losses to State.

Evan Sembiring said 7 of 27 companies allegedly bribed former Indragiri Hilir district Rusli Zainal and former Indragiri Hulu district head Tamsir Rachman in getting logging licenses of 120,745 hectares forest in 2002-2006 that converted into pulpwood plantation. They are PT. Artelindo Wirautama, PT. Citra Sumber Sejahtera, PT. Bukit Batabuh Sei Indah, PT. Mitra Kembang Selaras, PT. Sumber Maswana Lestari, PT Bina Duta Laksana, and PT Riau Indo Agropalma.

In Siak and Pelalawan districts, majority of 27 companies, have allegedly bribed Arwin A.S., Azmun Jaafar, Asral Rachman, Syuhada Tasman, Burhanuddin Husin, and Rusli Zainal as then Governor in getting logging licenses. All six officials have been sentenced by the Anti-corruption Court ranging from 4 and half year to 14 year imprisonment

Evan Sembiring said, KPK could bring corporates to the justice as suspects of corruption as the cases of officials had been definitely penalized by the Law. The alleged companies could be sanctioned with imprisonment of their management, fined and license annulment.

The 27 companies that sued by the NGOs coalition are: PT Artelindo Wiratama, PT Citra Sumber Sejahtera, PT Bukit Batabuh Sei Indah, PT Mitra Kembang Selaras, PT Sumber Maswana Lestari, PT Bina Duta Laksana, PT Riau Indo Agropalma, PT Merbau Pelalawan Lestari, PT Selaras Abadi Utama, PT Uniseraya, CV Tuah Negeri, CV Mutiara Lestari, CV Putri Lindung Bulan, PT Mitra Tani Nusa Sejati, PT Rimba Mutiara Permai, CV Bhakti Praja Mulia, PT Triomas FDI, PT Satria Perkasa Agung, PT Mitra Hutani Jaya, CV Alam Lestari, PT Madukoro, CV Harapan Jaya, PT Bina Daya Bintara, PT Seraya Sumber Lestari, PT Balai Kayang Mandiri, PT Rimba Mandau Lestari, and PT National Timber Forest.

 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Environmental Paper Network Welcomes Asia Pulp and Paper’s Announcement.

The Environmental Paper Networks (EPN) of Europe and North America cautiously welcome today’s announcement by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) of a plan to work with global and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to restore and support the conservation of one million hectares of rainforest across Indonesia.
With its announcement, APP commits to all elements of "The First Test", a set of Performance Milestones developed by the EPN in September last year (1), to guide the company towards ending its controversial practices. The Milestones’ scope is not intended as a standard for responsible paper production, but rather as a first step towards activity consistent with the EPN and EEPN Common Vision for sustainable paper production, trade and use (2).

"APP’s announcement is a significant step forward towards addressing the legacy of its extensive negative impact on forests, peatlands and communities in Indonesia," said Sergio Baffoni, of the European Environmental Paper Network.

"Resolving and compensating for the company's past legacy of environmental and social impacts will require a number of years. Independent third party auditing to verify the implementation of these commitments by APP will help customers and investors to determine the actual progress towards the Performance Milestones in due course. We hope that these milestones can also help to guide action by other pulp and paper companies in Indonesia and elsewhere to address their controversial heritage,” said Joshua Martin, Director of the Environmental Paper Network in North America.

The forest conservation and restoration commitment is equivalent to the approximate area of plantations operated by APP suppliers in 2013 and thus represents a 1 for 1 approach to addressing the company's legacy (3). Indonesia's rainforests are some of the most biologically diverse forests on the planet. They provide livelihoods to millions of people, they sustain the last habitats of Sumatran elephant, tiger, rhino and orang-utan, and their peat bogs sequester a massive amount of carbon. These forests however have been experiencing one of the world's highest rates of deforestation due to development of industrial plantations for commodities such as palm oil and pulp and paper.

For many years, APP has been criticised for its extensive clearance of tropical forests in Sumatra and Borneo, many of which were located on deep peat bogs and/or were the habitat of critically endangered elephants, tigers, rhinos and orang-utans. The deforestation has led to numerous conflicts with local and indigenous communities whose tenure rights were ignored.

After 30 years of operation, in February 2013 APP announced a new “Forest Conservation Policy". The EPN's "The First Test" was a collective response to this policy by many NGOs, articulating a set of Performance Milestones that APP needed to achieve to address the gaps and weaknesses of their policy. These included the need for due process in ensuring local communities give full and prior-informed consent to use of their land, the need for forest restoration or compensation, closing of loop-holes in the policy regarding forest acquisitions, addressing damage to peat land, and ensuring independent third-party monitoring of progress in implementing the plan.

NGOs are now urging Indonesia's second-largest pulp and paper producer APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources International), part of the large conglomerate Royal Golden Eagle Group (RGE), to also comply with the EPN Milestones.

The Environmental Paper Network is a coalition of 122 NGOs from 26 countries including Indonesia who share a Common Vision for a future where paper is produced and used sustainably.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Sergio Baffoni, +49 162 3812 528 Email: sergio.baffoni@environmentalpaper.eu

NOTES FOR EDITORS:
(1) EPN Performance Milestones: The First Test: http://environmentalpaper.org/milestones/
(2) EPN Common Vision: http://environmentalpaper.org/our-vision/ 
(3) EPN expects that the commitment to restore and conserve 1m ha of natural ecosystems will be in addition to the approximately 260,000 ha of natural forests the company is required by law to protect in its 2.6m ha of plantations anyway.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Forest Advocates to Staples: It’s Too Soon To Buy From Asia Pulp and Paper (APP)

Activists with Rainforest Action Network (RAN) staged a protest today at a Staples store in El Cerrito, Ca to communicate their objection to the office supply giant’s recent decision to resume purchasing paper from Indonesia’s highly controversial company Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). Staples was one of dozens of major customers to cut APP as a paper supplier due to its well documented involvement in rainforest destruction and human rights abuses in Indonesia.

After successful market campaigns over APP’s ties to deforestation and land grabs began to cost APP a significant portion of its market share, the company issued a Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) in February 2013 promising broad reforms and a halt to further rainforest destruction. APP is still in the early stages of implementing these environmental and social commitments and has yet to communicate its plans for addressing key gaps in the FCP. These gaps have been summarized in the Environmental Paper NetworksPerformance Targets and Milestones for APP document, endorsed by Greenpeace, WWF, RAN and Indonesian NGO WBH among others.

“Given APP’s track record of broken commitments and the fact that APP has yet to finish environmental studies, put forest conservation plans in place or get independent verification that they are actually working, Staples is jumping the gun by renewing business with APP.” said Lafcadio Cortesi, Asia director at Rainforest Action Network. “Our experience suggests that companies are more motivated to undertake robust implementation of commitments if rewarding such implementation comes after, not before, it is carried out and independently verified.”

Fundamental elements of the FCP have yet to be completed or evaluated by key stakeholders or independent verifiers. These include High Conservation Value assessments, High Carbon Stock assessments, peatland studies, conflict mapping and attempts to resolve land conflicts across APP and its suppliers’ concessions.

These field assessments and studies must form the basis for the forest management and conservation plans needed to protect and restore these values. Without them, there is no way to evaluate whether APP’s promises will be reflected in the company’s operations on the ground. Similarly, APP’s commitment to respect the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent of affected communities, including those that will be impacted by APP’s proposed new pulp mill development in South Sumatra, has yet to be implemented and the communities in question have yet to be fully informed or given a chance to give or withhold their consent to the proposed development.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

In a week Riau hotspots notches 1605 as 474 found in pulp concessions

The second week of month showed the most fire hotspots found in Riau province since fires and haze returned from January. There are total 1605 hotspots detected in Riau by Eyes on the Forest based on NASA Modis Fire monitoring in period of 13-19 February. By concessions, pulpwood plantation or officially called industrial timber plantation (HTI) 474 hotspots found which APRIL’s affiliated concessions had 245, while its competitor APP’s with 223 hotspots. Palm oil plantations which had complicated licensing had 310 hotspots where PT Bumi Nusa Reksa Sejati, PT Trisetya Usaha Mandiri, and PT Triomas FDI are three concessions with most hotspots found in the week. While, HPH selective logging concessions added to both areas, there are 796 hotspots inside all concessions, meaning 49 percent of total Riau 1605, Eyes on the Forest learned.

Bengkalis district as hotspots analysis in the previous weeks showed, still ranked the area in Riau with most hotspots detected with total 717 in the week when on 14 February recorded 611 hotspots.

In pulpwood suppliers, PT Rokan Rimba Lestari concession, an APRIL affiliated company, showed constant appearance of hotspots distribution. Some suppliers that detected with many hotspots are PT Arara Abadi - Siak (APP) with 18 hotspots on 18 February; On 16 February there are 135 hotspots inside HTI concessions, where PT RRL with 26, PT Sumatera Riang Lestari block 4 (Rupat, APRIL) 13, PT SRL block 5 with 17 and PT Suntara Gaja Pati (SGP, APP) with 17 hotspots. On 14 February, PT RAPP Pelalawan (APRIL) had 9 hotspots, PT RAPP Pulau Padang 9, and PT RAPP Sungai Kampar 3.

In every time forest fires and haze blanket Riau province, several companies has always become the places where hotspots detected by satellite.

On Wednesday, at least 22 flights delayed in Pekanbaru’s airport, which failed the visits of officials, senator, and politicians to attend the ceremony of newly installed Riau Governor, Anas Makmun. Thousands of schoolchildren are told to stay home by the local government this week due to worsening air quality by escalated haze.

A Malaysia-investment palm oil company, PT Adei Plantation, is tried in Pekanbaru District Court over the charge of setting fires in June-July 2013, while other 7 palm oil and pulpwood suppliers named suspects and in line to be prosecuted.v

Thursday, February 06, 2014

APP one year forest conservation policy anniversary

 On February 5th Asia Pulp & paper the 1st year anniversary of its Forest Conservation Policy. To celebrate, APP organized a round table inviting Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network and WWF.
A year ago, with the launch of its FCP, APP committed an end to all deforestation activities across the 2.6m hectares of land in Indonesia on which it operates. Under the agreement APP pledged that all of its suppliers would adhere to the moratorium and that it would develop a system of sustainable forestry and conservation through work with the government, local communities and businesses.
“A year on, despite many challenges along the way, we are pleased that the moratorium is holding and that APP remains serious about delivering on its commitments.” commented Greenpeace.


"Aaside from the commendable cessation of logging activities in most of the operations of APP and its supply chain, even after one year, it is too soon to confirm that tangible conservation or social benefits have taken place on the ground as a result of APP’s policy." wrote Lafcadio Cortesi, on Rainforest Action Network blog. "Most of the progress APP has made in the past year has been in collecting HCV and HCS data – most of which has yet to be shared making an assessment impossible – and in setting up teams, systems and processes such as consultants to conduct HCV assessments, protocols for standard operating procedures and the “dash board.” These are laudable and an essential component of implementing and broadening the company’s commitments, however they do not allow for evaluating whether promised reforms are having any impact" added Cortesi."It is premature for potential customers and investors to consider establishing business ties with APP before such audit criteria have been agreed and before it has been independently verified that APP is meeting them."

More skeptical is the comment released by the NGOs ntwork Eyes on the Forests: “Even the crucial commitments to save all natural forests, HCV and HCS areas have not become the reality. None of the assessments APP promised have been completed, so one of the most crucial outcome of the policy – decision on which areas would be protected by APP is still pending”.
“Although APP have invited many civilian society organizations for dialog based on APP’s committed for changes, our appreciation for these processes is limited because much of our inputs were not adopted by the company” added Muslim Rasyid from Riau based group Jikalahari ”for example, in development of policy implementation protocols, HCV and HCS assessments.”