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.”