A European campaign
The rapid expansion market of paper products linked to deforestation in Indonesia into the European is supporting the further expansion of pulp plantations into Indonesia’s last tropical forests and peatlands. EEPN is promoting a European-wide campaign to stop the expansion of such products into the European market and to protect Indonesia’s rainforests and forest communities rights. Read more...
This report has been prepared by Greenomics Indonesia with the technical input from the Directorate General of Forestry Business Management, the relevant unit of the Ministry of Forestry.
Mr. Bambang Hendroyono, the Director General of Forestry Business Management, facilitated a series of Greenomics Indonesia presentations on this report at the offices of his Directorate, and subsequent discussions to which representatives of Indonesian forestry business associations were invited to attend.
On 5 June 2012, APP (Asia Pulp and Paper/Sinarmas Forestry) announced the "APP Sustainability Roadmap 2020 and beyond," which once again reiterated APP’s earlier announcement on 14 May 2012, of its suspension of natural forest clearance in Indonesia starting 1 June 2012. The said announcement only referred to APP- owned pulpwood suppliers. According to Greenomics, almost no natural forest or conflict-free areas were involved. In concrete terms, the area of natural forest that would benefit from the moratorium only amounted to some 200 hectares out of the more than 1.15 million hectares included within the relevant concessions.
According to Greenomics Indonesia, there is no natural forest or forested peatland of meaningful extent that has been saved by the New APP Forest Conservation Policy in the concessions of APP's suppliers that have been allocated for the development of pulpwood plantations in Sumatra.
The report illustrates how the natural forest and forested peatland that remains in the concessions of APP's suppliers on the island of Sumatra consist of (i) legally designated protection zones that have been retained with the approval of the Ministry of Forestry, granted long before the launch of the New APP Forest Conservation Policy, (ii) areas affected by conflicts with local communities/third parties, (iii) areas that are inaccessible due to lack of roads, or (iv) areas in respect of which repeated attempts at clearance have been made, but to no avail, such as in the case of anticipated criticism of the clearance of deep forested peatland which was later turned into a protection zone with the approval of the Ministry of Forestry.
The conclusion of the report is that commitment to the New APP Forest Conservation Policy was delayed until the clearance of natural forest and forested peatland for the development of pulpwood plantations had been completed. The natural forest fiber resulting from such clearances has come in very useful as a source of raw material for APP operations, particularly for 2013.
Financial institutions have been warned today to avoid investments in pulp and paper mills associated with deforestation and human rights abuses in Indonesia. Sixty environmental and social non-governmental organisations, including a dozen Indonesian civil society groups, have sent letters to banks and other financial institutions around the world asking for assurances that they will not invest in increased pulp milling capacity by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) or other companies associated with the Sinar Mas Group until reforms have been achieved.
"APP/SMG: The pulping continues"analyzes the “sustainability roadmap” issued by controversial Indonesia deforester Asia Pulp & Paper (APP). The 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. The report 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.
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.
This report highlights legal facts that APP's pulpwood suppliers cleared blocks of peat swamp forest in a planned and programmed manner after these blocks had been identified as containing ramin, a tree species that is protected both under Indonesian law and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Greenomics Indonesia feels compelled to respond to the APP in the form of a Greenomics report, given that the EoF report quoted from a number of Greenomics reports as one of the grounds on which it based its conclusions. In these Greenomics reports, all of our arguments were based on legal and official documents issued by the APP Group itself, which were submitted to and approved by the Ministry of Forestry. In responding to APP’s press release, Greenomics Indonesia also feels it necessary to highlight a misleading PR effort directed at the Secretary General of the Ministry of Forestry on 16 December 2011 during a meeting that was attended by APP representatives at the request of the Secretary General of the Minister of Forestry in order to discuss the case of PT Ruas Utama Jaya (RUJ), an APP wood supplier operating in Riau Province that have a concession extending to 44,330 hectares. During this meeting, the APP representatives purported to explain various issues concerning the operations of RUJ, including the RUJ operations map and land cover conditions in the area.
It should be stressed here that the practice of clearing natural forest on the RUJ concession has become the principal issue that gave rise to the bitter war of words between EoF and APP in the wake of the publication of the EoF report. In this Greenomics Indonesia report, we shall discuss four things, namely:
* Legal concession map versus commitment to the protection of Sumatran tiger habitat in the RUJ concession;
* The clearing of Sumatran tiger habitat in the RUJ concession;
* The driving of Sumatran tigers from the RUJ concession to deep-peat concession areas; and
* Misleading PR by APP in respect of the part of the RUJ concession which APP claims has been set aside for conservation purposes.
Several reports have documented the destructive environmental and social impacts of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), part of the Sinar Mas group, including its involvement in clearing rainforest in Indonesia for paper.Nonetheless in 2006 the EU Ecolabel was awarded to two brands of photocopy paper – Golden Plus and Lucky Boss – produced by the Indonesian company Pindo Deli, a subsidiary of APP.
NGOs have warned the European Commission they would have to advise their supporters, the public and companies to steer away from the EU Ecolabel for paper and timber products, unless the European Commission ensures (1) the awarding process of the EU Ecolabel becomes transparent – at least in line with existing forest certification procedures; and (2) the EU Ecolabel criteria are considerably strengthened.
APP continues repeating the same false statements together with some new twists, all trying to hide the ultimate foundation of the Sinar Mas Group/APP’s operations: the continuing destruction of natural tropical forest and drainage of peat soils. APP’s PR effort today is bigger and with more aggressive use of the media than ever before. APP has recruited a wide variety of publicists, individuals and supposedly independent NGOs to flack its allegedly green practices, including, Cohn & Wolfe, Environmental Resource Management, Alan Oxley and his World Growth and ITS Global, Mazars, Carbon Conservation, Patrick Moore and his Greenspirit Strategies, Bastoni and his Sumatran Tiger Conservation Foundation (YPHS). It runs its commercials globally on CNN, Sky TV and other international broadcasting channels.
In this report, Eyes on the Forest investigates APP’s PR claims. Has there been any improvement of SMG/APP’s practices on the ground? Has there been a reduction of the company’s impact on the world’s most diverse natural tropical forests, wildlife, and the world’s climate?
The answer is a straightforward: No. SMG/APP continues draining deep peat soils and clearing natural forests and its negative impact is increasing with the scale of its operations.
WWF camera traps recorded an astounding 12 tigers in just two months in the central Sumatran landscape of Bukit Tigapuluh, including two mothers with cubs. A video camera trap captured footage of three young tiger siblings playfully chasing a leaf.
Non-governmental organizations working in Riau Province, Sumatra, urge the Government to include 1.2 million hectares of remaining natural forest in Riau in the two-year moratorium on natural forest and peat conversion that is part of the US$ 1 billion Indonesia-Norway REDD Letter of Intent.
Maps predicting the moratorium’s impact on Riau -- submitted by Eyes on the Forest to the REDD+ Task Force yesterday -- show that up to 1.2 million hectares, almost half of Riau’s remaining natural forest, is actually inside existing concessions where natural forest and peat conversion can continue, even with the moratorium in place. EoF coalition fears that the worst impact would be in the deep peat areas of Riau, where it would cause huge greenhouse gas emissions, largely undermining the president’s global commitment to reduce them.
The Italian environmental organization Terra! uncovered a link between the Italian paper manufacturer Cartiere Pigna and the deforestation of Indonesian rainforests carried out by Asia Pulp & Paper (APP). Cartiere Pigna sought charges against Terra! in a suit for damages to its corporate reputation, and Terra! was convicted for damaging Pigna’s brand name, and it was sentenced to pay €27,000. If Terra! is no longer allowed to state that Pigna is linked to deforestation, then paper tests will, and don’t lie. Fiber testing revealed that Pigna's exercise books have a high percentage of acacia (between 62 and 74%). Conversion of natural forests to pulp and palm oil plantations is the main factor of tropical deforestation and peatland destruction in Indonesia, which has made this country the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. In the analyses of the exercise books, significant percentages of mixed tropical hardwood (MTH) were also found, which means natural rainforest. Among them, Dipterocarpaceae (Dipterocarpus spp.) and others of Myristicaceae, most of them are considered to be threatened (as they are included in the Red List drawn up by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN).
In its letter to customers of 11 August 2010, APP stated that the Mazars audit had confirmed the claims made in the Open Statement, which the company said set out “numerous facts that demonstrate that APP has been fulfilling its obligations to operate in a sustainable and environmentally conscious way.” Greenomics Indonesia would like to take this opportunity to rebut one of the crucial “facts” stated in APP’s Open Statement of 1 August 2010.
This so-called fact, as confirmed by the Mazars audit, is set out in the following paragraph of the Open Statement: “Since 1996, APP’s pulpwood suppliers have been developing degraded and low conservation-value areas, legally designated by the Government of Indonesia for pulpwood plantations to support the country’s sustainable development. Much of pulpwood suppliers’ concession areas are denuded wasteland and community-based forest plantations. APP would not accept its pulpwood suppliers to cut high conservation value forest as defined by the Government of Indonesia”.
Greenomics Indonesia has examined the veracity of this “fact” having regard to APP’s pulpwood sources, the clearing of natural forest, and the connection between these activities and climate change.
Rainforest Action Network developed this report and consumer guide to help consumers make environmentally- friendly choices at the bookstore and to encourage publishers and booksell- ers to make more responsible choices about what paper they buy and what books they sell.
Photographic evidence, aerial monitoring and field analysis details how the Sinar Mas group continues to clear rainforest containing priceless biodiversity – such as orangutan habitat - and carbon-rich peatlands, despite public promises it has made to clean up its act.
Sinar Mas group is notorious for its destruction of millions of acres of Indonesian rainforest, peatland and wildlife habitat. Two divisions within the group lead the destruction: pulp and palm oil. Recently, the group has diversified into coal.
The report provides an overview of the state of the forests in the province. It documents Riau’s rapid rate of forest loss over the last two decades associated with the expansion of two industries – paper and palm oil. The report illustrates how Riau's pulp and paper industry, dominated by APP and its competitor, APRIL, is the driving force behind this forest loss.
An Eyes on the Forest (EoF) investigation conducted in November - December 2009 confirmed that two Industrial Timber Plantation companies associated with Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) of Sinar Mas Group (SMG), namely PT Bina Duta Laksana (PT BDL) and PT Mutiara Sabuk Khatulistiwa (PT MSK), continue to clear natural forest and dig drainage canals through the deep peat inside Kerumutan forest block under legally questionable circumstances. The forest clearance and peat draining by the two companies started in 2005.
EU Ecolabel is awarded to two brands of photocopy paper, produced by the Indonesian company Pindo Deli, that do not deserve it. Further- more, while documenting this case it became clear that there is insufficient information publicly available to allow consumers to check on which basis the EU Ecolabel has been awarded to companies. PT WKS’s operation in Jambi province in Sumatra have serious impacts on forests, indigenous peoples and local communities. Research by Indonesian NGOs indicates that PT WKS’s operations in the Bukit Tigapuluh forest ecosystem may not even be legal.
35 Indonesian NGOs sent a letter to companies to ask them to reduce your company’s consumption and environmental footprint by establishing social and environmental safeguards on procurement and by helping to bring about crucial changes to the Indonesian pulp and paper industry’s practices as well as supporting related government policy reforms. The Indonesian NGOs request that investors adopt similar safeguards in relation to investments in Indonesia’s pulp and paper sector.
Many publishers, printers, paper merchants, and retailers purchase products containing Indonesian fiber or from affiliates of Sinar Mas Group's Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and Raja Garuda Mas' Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL). These companies are operating without regard to business best-practices and are linked to social conflict and legal controversy. The ongoing clea- ring of diverse natural rainforests by APP and APRIL is devastating local communities and threatening elephant, tiger, and orangutan populations with extinction. APP and APRIL's practices are also a major source of cli- mate-changing greenhouse gases. Indonesia stands out as the world's third largest greenhouse gas emitter, after China and the U.S., due to its massive emissions from tropical deforestation.
10 US NGOs sent a letter to paper companies demanding to stop any eventual purchase of paper from the APP controlled Eagle Ridge Paper. APP and its fiber suppliers are the leaders in clearing and converting vast areas of rainforests in Sumatra and Borneo for pulp and paper. This is devastating biodiversity and ecological systems, and is violating the livelihoods and rights of indigenous communities. Moreover, the rapid depletion of Indonesia's natural rainforest is emitting massive amounts of greenhouse gasses as forests are destroyed and converted to biologically impoverished plantations. Because of emissions from this forest loss, analysts have listed Indonesia as the world's third largest producer of greenhouse gasses after China and the United States.
The undersigned environmental organizations are writing to inform you about some of the social and environmental concerns that we have about APP and about some of the risks that we believe result from doing business with APP and its U.S. arm Eagle Ridge.
The recent certification of an Asia Pulp & Paper (APP)/Sinar Mas pulp plantation by the Indonesian Ecolabelling Institute (LEI) suggests that the LEI standards need to be strengthened, as APP products are not sustainable, a group of non- governmental organizations in Indonesia warned global paper buyers today.
The NGOs call on LEI to follow FSC to make a similar policy and review its relationship with APP/SMG and their associated companies.
The environmental organizations in Sumatra call APP/SMG to solve its real issue: large-scale destruction of natural forest, emissions from natural forest and peat destruction and social problems.
WWF has therefore tested a number of children’s books from Southeast Asia for traces of tropical wood. The results are sobering: in 19 out of 51 children’s books tested, significant traces of tropical wood were present. The types of wood found do not typically occur in plantations but rather in natural and tropical forests. Furthermore, extensive destruction of tropical forest by the Indonesian paper industry, now expanding into China, has been a well-known fact for years and continues to be a tragic reality. The logical conclusion is that for those books which were tested positive for tropical wood, with the utmost probability natural tropical forest was destroyed or even cleared.
This report, released by Reporters Without Borders/Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) warns about the acts of intimidation around the world towards those who report on logging and other environmental abuse: "When journalists are exposing companies and local governments that's when the trouble begins".
Tools & Solutions
EoF maps of Indonesia
Forests and deforestation on updated google maps