Latest APP promise more greenwash than protection

An Asia Pulp and Paper promise for a moratorium on natural forest logging in directly owned concessions needs to cover what goes into its mills rather than what comes off already mostly cleared areas, according to WWF.

“APP once again has chosen to invest in greenwashing instead of meaningful change in the face of increasing and widespread condemnation of its forestry practices,” said Nazir Foead of WWF-Indonesia. “Our analysis suggests that this limited moratorium will have little impact, since APP has already cleared 713,383 hectares or almost all of the natural forest in its own and affiliated concessions in Riau.”

In a statement released last Tuesday APP announced that from June 1st it would suspend the clearance of natural forest on APP owned concessions in Indonesia to allow High Conservation Value Forest HCVF assessments to be conducted.

The latest promise doesn’t even come close to the levels APP committed to in 2004, 2007 and 2009; all three times APP missed self-imposed deadlines of supplying its pulp mills exclusively from renewable plantation wood.

WWF has calculated that if APP abides by the promises made in its recent announcement it may save 22,000 ha compared to the more than two million hectares of natural forest and endangered tiger habitat pulped since 1984.

Just over 103,000 hectares of the remaining natural forests are forests that are already designated or by regulation must be protected.

“To be a meaningful commitment APP must immediately commit to stop clearing natural forests and accepting all natural forest fibre into its mills until areas of high conservation value have been independently and transparently identified and protected. We are conducting further analysis into this statement and its implications, in the meantime,” WWF said in a statement.

WWF ceased engagement with APP in 2004 after the company failed to honour commitments to improve sustainability.

In March of this year it was discovered that APP had decimated tropical forests it promised to conserve under “legally binding” debt restructuring in 2004.

Using satellite imagery the report by Sumatra based NGO coalition; Eyes on the Forest found that within three years of making the agreement, APP’s wood suppliers began clearing areas of high conservation value forest in central Sumatra’s Pulau Muda, a rain forest in the Kerumutan tiger landscape.

A footprint of a Sumatra tiger was found in one of the cleared areas.

APP is one of the world’s largest pulp & paper companies and markets products in more than 65 countries.

APP’s pulp production in Indonesia is based in the Riau and Jamb provinces in central Sumatra, one of the most biologically diverse landscapes on Earth and one of the last refuges for the critically endangered Sumatran elephant, tiger and orang-utan. All face local extinction in the area because of massive habitat loss.

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