JAKARTA, Indonesia - Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) has called on WWF International to disassociate itself from a report by Sumatra-based NGO ‘Eyes on the Forest’ (EOF) which contains ‘clearly false’ allegations regarding the company’s operations.
“Our pulpwood suppliers play an essential part in helping to resolve social issues and limiting the illegal encroachment into protected areas, which is one of the real environmental problems facing Sumatra”
WWF has published and promoted a new EOF report which claims that Asia Pulp & Paper is converting parts of the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary in Sumatra into pulpwood plantation. It published ‘satellite maps’ of the concession operated by APP’s supplier, PT Ruas Utama Jaya (RUJ) which showed the ‘clear cutting (of) tropical forest inside the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary.’ However, it has been proven - through official government maps - that this allegation is totally false.
Asia Pulp & Paper has today published official maps of the concession, which show that the pictures featured prominently in the EOF report are actually from RUJ’s legally-operated pulpwood concession OUTSIDE of the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary.
Recent, independent, third-party auditing1 on the RUJ concession shows that the conservation set aside by the company is actually almost 50% larger than what is required by the Government of Indonesia’s independent High Conservation Value Forest assessments of the area.
Asia Pulp & Paper Managing Director Aida Greenbury said: “The serious allegations made by EOF about the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary are wrong in every important regard. The government map which we have released today clearly shows that EOF’s pictures are from a legal pulpwood concession operated by one of our suppliers and not from inside the sanctuary. We have also published pictures of the real Senepis Tiger sanctuary which show that it has been preserved as dense, natural forest.
“We now call on WWF, an NGO with a good international reputation, to distance itself from this poorly researched and inaccurate report which does not help anyone who really cares about preserving the natural environment and wildlife of Sumatra.”
Ms. Greenbury added that forestry development in Indonesia involves a complex mixture of social and environmental issues, including illegal encroachments, which threaten both the integrity of the conservation forest and the sustainability of the plantation areas.
“Our pulpwood suppliers play an essential part in helping to resolve social issues and limiting the illegal encroachment into protected areas, which is one of the real environmental problems facing Sumatra,” added Ms. Greenbury.
The EOF report also makes a number of basic factual errors, further calling into question the credibility of the research and knowledge base of the authors. For example:
- Claiming that Indonesian law prohibits land conversion on peat ‘more than 3 meters deep’. The Decree which regulates pulpwood plantation development actually says: “Criteria of peatland is land that contains peat with thickness deeper or equal to 3 meters that is located in upstream of river and swamp.” This has been clearly defined in the Government’s micro and macro-delineation principles.
- Alleging that APP has no ‘independent, credible, third-party certification to demonstrate (its) sustainability’. In fact, APP is regularly assessed and certified by many of the world’s leading authorities on sustainable forest management and environmental auditors - including Geneva-based SGS, TUV, AFNOR, the official French auditors for the European ‘EcoLabel’, PHPL, Indonesian sustainable forest management standard, LEI, Indonesian voluntary sustainable forest management standard, and PEFC Chain-of-Custody, the world’s largest forest certification program.
- Claiming that APP’s ‘wildlife protection zones’ in Riau and Jambi were less than 50,000 hectares. In fact, APP suppliers’ set-aside area for pure conservation purposes is over 200 thousand hectares in Riau and Jambi, which is more than 70% larger than what is required by Indonesia regulation and law. APP and its suppliers are actively managing these conservation set-asides to support the larger conservation landscapes in the region of our concessions.
Ms. Greenbury added: “APP is always willing to engage with NGOs on all issues concerning sustainable forest management, as long as it is a constructive discussion based on science. We also believe in the principle of openness and invite all interested stakeholders to review our operations for themselves.”
For more information about Asia Pulp & Paper’s sustainability and conservation initiatives please visit www.rainforestrealities.com.
Background about the Senepis Sumatran Tiger Sanctuary:
The 110,000-hectare Senepis Sumatran Tiger Sanctuary is in Riau province, Sumatra. By setting aside 106,000 hectares of production forest as the core area of tiger sanctuary, APP’s pulpwood suppliers and other concession holders are making a vital contribution to the survival of the species by expanding the existing wildlife reserves. The establishment of a tiger sanctuary within production forests is a pioneering initiative. Senepis Sumatran Tiger Sanctuary consists of:
- Core area: 106,000 hectares = 90,956 hectares from PT Diamond Raya Timber concession + 15,025 hectares from APP’s pulpwood supplier’s concession
- Conservation corridor from APP’s pulpwood supplier: 4,325 hectares.
Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) is a brand umbrella for paper products which are produced by several mills in Indonesia such as PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper Tbk, PT Pindo Deli Pulp & Paper Mills, PT Pabrik Kertas Tjiwi Kimia Tbk, PT Lontar Papyrus Pulp & Paper Industries, PT Ekamas Fortuna and PT The Univenus. APP’s is headquartered in Indonesia and markets its product to more than 120 countries. Most of APP’s production facilities are Chain-of-Custody certified by LEI and PEFC. APP supports several main conservation initiatives, including a 172,000 hectare Biosphere Reserve in Giam Siak Kecil - Bukit Batu and an area of 106,000 hectare for the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary. Both are located in the province of Riau, Sumatera. Other APP wildlife preservation initiatives include the support of the Kutai Orangutan Program in Kalimantan and the conservation of the Javan Rhino in Ujung Kulon National Park.