Local and international watchdogs have criticized Indonesia’s biggest pulp and paper producer for what they consider an inability to satisfy its lead zero-deforestation strategy.
The joint statement lambasting Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) comes on the fifth anniversary of the launch of the company’s Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) in February 2013, in which it pledged to not destroy natural forests for its pulpwood plantations.
According to estimates by Eyes on the Forest, a coalition of environmental NGOs, APP had cleared more than 20,000 square kilometers (7,720 square miles) of natural forest in Indonesia in the three decades to 2010 — an area roughly the size of the U.S. state of New Jersey.
Under its FCP pledge, the pulp giant sought to address the criticism by excluding timber sourced from the clearing of peatlands and rainforests. It also vowed to reduce social conflict and seek free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) from communities when establishing new plantations. The policy is meant to apply to all APP operations and those of its suppliers.
But the recent review by a group of 10 NGOs of how the FCP had been implemented over the past five years concluded that while APP had made some progress, the company still had a long way to go, and highlighted five key issues like Massive new mill threatens greater deforestation; Lingering land conflicts; Lack of progress in restoring degraded peatland; Misinformation about supplier ties; and finally Lack of independent monitoring.