Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), one of the world's largest pulp and paper companies, said it will begin using only timber from plantations and stop cutting down trees in Indonesia's natural forests.
The announcement Tuesday follows years of an international campaign against the pulp and paper giant led by Greenpeace and other environmental groups and indicated the company is beginning to respond to public pressure. APP's new policy includes an immediate commitment to suspend all forest clearance across its supply chain.
“This is a major commitment and investment from APP Group. “ APP Chairman Teguh Ganda Wijaya said in a statement. “We are doing this for the sustainability of our business and for the benefit of society."
Greenpeace commended APP for its new Forest Conservation Policy and said the group has decided to suspend its campaign against APP for the time being. The critical issue, Greenpeace emphasized, is whether the pulp and paper giant can turn its policy into practice.
“We will be watching very carefully to ensure that APP is delivering where it really matters – on the ground, in the rainforests," Bustar Maitar, head of the Greenpeace Forest Campaign in Indonesia, said in a statement. “It's only through their delivery that APP can start to win back the business that it has lost in recent years."
According to Greenpeace, many companies including Adidas, Kraft, Mattel, Nestlé, Carrefour and Staples have suspended contracts with APP in response to its campaign. Greenpeace said it hoped other Indonesian companies would follow APP's example and introduce policies to increase protection for the country's forests.
“If APP achieves its no deforestation goals, it's a really significant milestone for our campaign to save Indonesia's forests. It sends an important challenge to others in the pulp industry," Bustar said.
Other environmental groups expressed cautious support for APP's new policy. “Though we welcome APP's new rainforest commitments as a milestone, the hidden story here is the controversial paper giant's long history of broken promises, land conflicts and human rights violations," Lafcadio Cortesi, Asia director for Rainforest Action Network (RAN), said in a statement. “APP will not be seen as a responsible company in the marketplace until its new commitments are implemented and it resolves the devastating rainforest and human rights crises it has caused in Indonesia."
APP's announcement comes as Indonesia's two-year forest moratorium on new permits approaches its expiration in May this year. “We urge Indonesia's government to use the momentum of APP's move to strengthen and extend the moratorium," Bustar said.
12 February 2013