Thursday, May 02, 2013
After being criticized by environmental organizations for its poor forest practices, Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) is now facing protest by local communities. The students association of Pelalawan district protested at the main office of APRI's sublidy and main supplier, PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP) for failing in bringing employment for locals as well as for the lack of transparency industrial waste the management. Hipmawan, the Pelalawan students association, staged protest in Pekanbaru last week by spreading banners and speech blaming ignorance by the pulp giant, local media reported. Hipmawan told journalists that PT RAPP’s existence in the district has caused more losses to the community’s living rather than the benefit. Hipmawan collected evidence of environmental destruction impacted by APRIL’s main supplier in Kampar River due to pulp mill waste, gagasanriau.com online magazine reported. Last month, a corruption watchdog urged law enforcers to probe forestry-related corruption cases involving APRIL suppliers as its main supplier, PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP) caused the State suffering loss of Rp 929 billion (USD 94.7 million). During their protest in Pekanbaru on 18 April, Hipmawan urged APRIL to be transparent in managing waste and to apply standardized industrial waste management. "We assume that industrial waste was thrown into Kampar River, so the recent condition for the river is polluted, said Abdul Wadud. He also blamed PT RAPP for providing less opportunity for job seekers in Pelalawan district despite government rules suggested a company to allocate 30 percent of local workers. The students’ group accused APRIL’s PT RAPP of driving poverty to local farmers as they suffered shrinkage of land for agriculture that traditionally cultivated for decades, but now appeared to be taken over by the company after obtaining licenses from the government. In March, Indonesia Corruption Watch published that PT RAPP caused the State loss due to cases of forestry license scandals in the province. "Such a data are ones that become the Court’s decision regarding to cases of corruption in industrial timber plantation business licensing," said Tama S. Langkun, the ICW campaigner as quoted as saying by ANTARA news agency. ICW said besides PT RAPP there are other 16 timber suppliers of APRIL and APP groups that allegedly involved in corruption cases inflicting huge State’s losses such as PT Merbau Pelalawan Lestari, PT Selaras Abadi Utama, PT Uniseraya, CV Putri Lindung Bulan, CV Tuah Negeri, CV Mutiara Lestari, PT Rimba Mutiara Permai, PT Mitra Tani Nusa Sejati, PT Bhakti Praja Mulia, PT Trio Mas FDI, PT Satria Perkasa Agung, PT Mitra Hutani Jaya, CV Alam Jaya, CV Harapan Jaya, PT Madukuro and PT Yos Raya Timber.
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Indonesian pulp giant APRIL is bulldozing Indigenous community forests
In 2009, PT Toba Pulp Lestari announced that it was expanding its pulp and paper operations in Porsea, near Lake Toba in Sumatra from 165,000 tonnes per year to 300,000 tonnes per year. Since then, the company has been clearing communities’ forests, despite on-going land conflicts and protests by local communities. Recently, 31 villagers were arrested trying to stop the company from destroying their forests. 16 men are still in prison in Medan. The indigenous people that live in Sipituhuta and Pandumaan villages have farmed resin from benzoin trees in the forests for more than 300 years. By destroying the forests and the benzoin trees, PT Toba Pulp Lestari is also destroying their livelihoods. “I struggle now to feed my children,” one of the villagers says. “All that will be left is to be a TPL plantation labourer. I do not want to be a labourer.” Life Mosaic has produced a short video about the communities’ protests and the recent arrests. PT Toba Pulp Lestari’s mill is owned by Sukanto Tanoto, the CEO of paper giant APRIL and one of Indonesia’s richest men. Activists in Indonesia are now calling for a boycott of Paper One, one APRIL’s most well-known brands. Rainforest Action Network has set up an email action asking APRIL to respect human rights. The communities of Sipituhuta and Pandumaan have three demands: Release all arrested community members and drop all charges against them; Stop any further plantation expansion on their lands; Return their stolen lands. The indigenous network AMAN has put out a statement about the arrests: "Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago) deeply regrets this incident and strongly condemns the arrests carried out by the security forces. PT. TPL and the security authorities must respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Panduman and Sipituhuta. Government of Indonesia shall take concrete action in addressing this conflict." AMAN urges the security authorities of Humbang Hasundutan to immediately release 31 members of Pandumaan and Sipituhuta indigenous community PT Toba Pulp Lestari was previously known as PT Inti Indorayon Utama. Since the mill started operations in 1989 it has faced resistance from local communities, because of deforestation to feed the mill and pollution from the mill. In 1998, massive protests by the local community effectively shut down the mill. In January 2000, then-Environment Minister Sonny Keraf recommended that the mill be closed down or relocated. Instead, the company changed its name, changed its board, raised new money and is now expanding its destructive operations. Villagers have mapped out their land and requested that the Ministry of Forestry exclude their land from PT Toba Pulp Lestari’s concession. In 2010, Longgena Ginting, now head of Greenpeace Indonesia, reported that PT Toba Pulp Lestari had cut 5,000 of the villagers’ benzoin trees, according to community maps.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
WWF urges Indonesian pulp producer APRIL to immediately stop pulping tropical forests
Following the announcement by Asia Pulp & Paper that it has stopped all clearance of Indonesian forests, WWF is now calling on its competitor Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) to stop pulping tropical rainforest. The Sumatran NGO coalition Eyes on the Forest reported that APRIL has become the Province of Riau’s largest agent of deforestation, cutting at least 140,000 ha of tropical forest, mostly located on peat soils, between 2008 and 2011. APRIL was thus responsible for almost 1/3 of all tropical forest loss in Riau during that period. "APRIL is now the single largest converter of natural forest among Indonesia’s pulp producers,” said Nazir Foead, Conservation Director of WWF-Indonesia. “We urge the company to immediately change their unsustainable business model and stop draining our peat soils and converting our forests”. APRIL’s public commitments to sustainable and natural forest fiber free operations after 2009 has been greenwashing. APRIL in Riau knowingly pulped natural forest wood from concessions inside areas that were designated for protection according to national regulations. The company’s operations caused serious conflict with local communities especially because of the loss of traditionally owned forests and land, and degradation of natural resources. Two thirds of the company’s supplying concessions in Riau are located on peat soils whose deforestation, drainage and associated decomposition are leading to constant green house gas emissions. “Despite being in business for 17 years and having access to concessions covering 10% of Riau’s landmass, the company still relies on pulping tropical forests,” said Nazir Foead. “After their devastating deforestation of Riau in Sumatra, the company now appears to be developing their next epicenter of deforestation on the island of Borneo.” “WWF calls on APRIL to stop pulping tropical forests, solve social conflicts and restore the forests and peatlands it has destroyed,” said Aditya Bayunanda, GFTN and pulp & paper manager of WWF Indonesia, “and calls on companies to avoid being associated with the business practices of APRIL and its associated companies.” Read 0 times
Friday, February 01, 2013
HarperCollins prohibits sourcing from Indonesian tropical rainforests
HarperCollins' recent public commitment to no longer source paper connected to endangered rainforests signifies a fundamental, sector-wide shift in the US publishing industry. This move by HarperCollins is on the heels of a major announcement in October by Disney, which released a comprehensive global paper policy covering the company’s vast array of businesses and licensees. Over the last months, the top ten publishers in the country, including Hachette Book Group, Pearson, and Simon & Schuster, agreed to adopt commitments to stop buying paper connected to the loss of Indonesian rainforests. Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL) together produce upwards of 80 percent of Indonesia’s pulp and paper, and are the main source of both MTH and acacia pulp found in the global marketplace. Both companies are responsible for widespread deforestation and displacement of forest communities from their land. Habitat destruction by these companies is a leading threat to the survival of the Sumatran tiger, of which scientists estimate only a few hundred remain. Just over two years ago, independent fiber tests revealed paper linked to Indonesian rainforest destruction in books sold by nearly all top American publishers. In December of 2012, independent forensic fiber tests, commissioned by Rainforest Action Network (RAN), revealed significant quantities of Mixed Tropical Hardwood (MTH) and acacia fiber in the paper of some of HarperCollins’ best selling books. Following the release of these results, HarperCollins has become the latest top publisher to update its paper policy, stating that it “prohibits sourcing from Indonesian tropical rainforests, old growth and/or endangered forests for [its] products, and has instituted a program of random fiber testing of books to ensure [its] product is free of tropical hardwood fiber.” “All of the top ten US publishers in the country now recognize that customers will not accept books with paper that comes from the destruction of endangered rainforests. This is a seismic shift in an industry that just two years ago was rife with controversial paper,” said Robin Averbeck, a Forest Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network, which has been working with publishers on this shift. “US publishers are sending a loud and clear message to forest destroying paper companies like Asia Pulp and Paper and APRIL that consumers are demanding rainforest safe paper.” Rainforest Action Network first alerted the US publishing industry to problems in its paper supply chains in May of 2010 with a report titled Turning the Page on Rainforest Destruction: Children’s books and the future of Indonesia’s rainforests. “While the real impact of HarperCollins’ commitments will be determined by their implementation, Rainforest Action Network is encouraged that the company has joined its publishing peers by prohibiting the use of paper sourced from Indonesia’s endangered rainforests.” Indonesia is home to some of the most biologically diverse forests in the world but it also has one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation. The Indonesian government estimates that more than a million hectares of rainforests are being cleared every year. Logging for pulp, along with the expansion of palm oil plantations, is a leading driver of this destruction. Indonesia is now listed as the third largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, after the US and China. An estimated eighty per cent of its emissions come from the conversion of peatlands and other natural forests.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
APRIL supplier’s staff detained for corruption
Three local government officials and one staff of PT Sumatera Riang Lestari, timber supplier for Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), were detained by Riau Prosecutors Office for allegedly embezzling the state’s income from forestry tax. Antarariau news online reported Thursday (31/1) that the Prosecutors Office detained the four people here due to that forest corruption corruption costs IDR 1.9 billion loss. "They named suspects, and are detained due to it is feared they will run away," said spokesperson of Riau Prosecutors Office, Andri Ridwan, as quoted by Antariau as saying. Andri said the corruption case took place in Indragiri Hilir distric where three officials, Rahmat Sutopo, Abdul Razak and Heru Santoso, worked at the local Forestry Service. While PT SRL, APRIL’s main supplier, Husnizar, were also named suspect. The probing by the Prosecutors Office traced alleged emblezzment on local retribution fee from felling of logs by APRIL’s PT SRL following early investigation in 2009 by the Center for Reporting and Analysis of Financial Transaction (PPATK), an anti-money laundering agency set up the Government. PPATK recommended the Prosecutors to investigate suspected transactions by the three officials of Indragiri Hilir Forestry Service. "So the money that should have been submitted to local government’s account surprisingly transferred to that forestry official [Heru Santoso]," the Prosecutors' spokesperson said. On 6 Jan 2010 Eyes on the Forest reported based local media coverage on this issue. Three officials at Indragiri Hilir Forestry Service were questioned by the Riau Province Forestry Service for allegedly manipulating hardwood tax from timber cleared by PT Sumatera Riang Lestari, an associated company to Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL). Thousands of mixed logs that cleared in natural forest in Kerumutan block were seized by the police in Siak river in November and December 2009. Latest development that reported by Riau Mandiri daily (4/1/2009) said that the involvement by the district forestry service officials hinted illegal cooperation by the civil servants and the APRIL’s company, PT SRL, for alleged tax evasion. The report said the conspiracy had inflicted billions of rupiah loss to the State by evading Rehabilitation Fee (DR) and Provision of Forest Resources (PSDH). Asmawi, a resident from Kempas sub-district, said that the company paid 2 US dollar less than it ought pay amount to 14 US dollar per cubic meter for Meranti hardwood. Jikalahari, Riau NGOs network and Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) in its statement two weeks ago urged the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to name suspects for 20 people of corporate management and directors of timber and pulp companies in Riau for allegedly involved in forestry corruption in Pelalawan and Siak districts which jailed five officials including two district heads. The two groups also urged KPK to nab Rosman, former General Manager Forestry of PT RAPP (APRIL’s main supplier) who is at large, and name him suspect for allegedly involved in Pelalawan forest corruption. “The arrest of Rosman will enormously help investigation on corporate involvement in the forest corruption cases in Riau province,” the joint statement said. Jikalahari and ICW also called on KPK to probe 11 pulpwood suppliers which were not registered on Forestry statistics in 2011 such as PT Madukoro and PT Triomas FDI. Both asked KPK to name Riau Governor Rusli Zainal suspect of logging license issuance in 2004.
Friday, December 21, 2012
Books: deforestation under the Christmas Tree Featured
A recent report released by WWF in Germany shows that a good number of children's books were manufactured with paper coming from deforestation in Indonesia, home to Critically Endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger. In the United States, a similar research done by Rainforest Action Network (RAN) revealed the same paper in the books of Fancy Nancy, published by HarperCollins. In both cases, in Europe and in the United States, independent forensic fiber tests revealed significant quantities of Mixed Tropical Hardwood (MTH) and acacia fiber in the paper of the books. Mixed Tropical Hardwood is the technical definition for the pulp (and the paper) produced by clear-cutting a natural tropical forest, and reducing it is chips to produce paper. The WWF-Germany survey of children's books found about 30 per cent of books contained significant amounts of mixed tropical hardwood fibres characteristic of natural forest destruction. A 2009 children's book survey found mixed tropical hardwood fibres in 40% of German children's books from one third of the publishing houses sampled. "Germany's publishers have been amazingly slow to react despite the highlighting of their involvement in forest destruction in 2009" said Emmanuelle Neyroumande, of WWF. "No child or parent should become an unwitting participant in rainforest destruction this holiday season" notes Robin Averbeck, forest campaigner with Rainforest Action Network. Yet, among the books identified by the WWF in Germany as linked to the deforestation, is a beautiful picture on rain-forests ... so realistic as to contain crashed rain forests in its pages! China, where many children books are printed, is among major importers of cheap pulp and paper from Indonesia, where the paper industry, dominated by two large companies, is systematically plundering the natural forests. Accoding to WWF, Indonesia's largest pulp and paper company, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), linked with its suppliers to the destruction of more than 2 million hectares of tropical forest in Sumatra, directly operates 20 pulp and paper mills in China with an annual production of eight million tonnes.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
APRIL exposed again
A new report released today by Eyes on the Forest analyzed the impact of Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) on Sumatra's rain-forests. According to the report, at least 140,000 hectares of natural forest were lost in all APRIL supplier concessions between 2008/2009 and 2011 in Riau; equivalent to the loss of 5 percent the natural forest remaining in 2008/2009 and 27 percent of the total forest lost between 2008/9 and 2011. APRIL knowingly pulped natural forest wood from concessions whose licenses were issued through corrupt practices. Ten of twelve APRIL wood suppliers operating in the company’s main wood supply area, Riau Province’s deep peat Kampar Peninsula, obtained their licenses from the heads of Siak and Pelalawan districts head. According to Eyes on the Forest, "APRIL's public commitment to sustainable and natural fiber free operations after 2009 was pure sales talk; green-washing to win back customers who had left the company due to its dismal sustainability record."