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.