APRIL’s policy anniversary without real gain, deforestation continues
One year ago the second Indonesian paper mill APRIL's “Sustainable Forest Management Policy”, to address regain the customer lost because of its unsustainable impacts on the environment, on local communities and on the global climate. But NGOs says the policy doesn't address APRIL's impacts, and it is not implemented. Deforestation continues, as well as social conflicts. “After one year, we really do not see the significance of their policy. The commitments and the realities do not make sense. They are simply implementing business as usual,” said Muslim Rasyid, Coordinator of Jikalahari, in a note published by Eyes on the Forest.
“APRIL in 2011 already told Government its expanded pulp mill would no longer source any MTH by the end of 2014. APRIL should simply realize that plan. Pushing its zero MTH target year to 2019 may suggest that APRIL either is producing more pulp than legally authorized or its plantations are performing very poorly. We need full disclosure,” said Muslim.
NGOs field report in Sumatra and Borneo exposed repeatedly APRIL suppliers continuing deforestation in breach of the new policy: NGOs findings are confirmed by an independent audit commissioned by APRIL’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee commissioned to KPMG, to report on APRIL’s progress against its commitments. According to an Update for APRIL customers released by Greenpeace: "The KPMG audit found that not a single concession complied with the policy" say the update (the audit is not public but has been leaked anonymously). The audit also found that in the first half of 2014, APRIL received some 50,000 cubic meter of rainforest timber from concessions that had not had any HCV assessment. However, according to Greenpeace, there is much more: in the same months, APRIL’s Sumatra mill pulped 1.3 million cubic metres of mixed tropical hardwood timber from Indonesia’s rainforests" the update say.
No progress is also found on social issues. “APRIL has not acted upon its commitment to resolve outstanding community conflicts,” said Riko Kurniawan, Executive Director of Walhi Riau. “Protests by local communities continue at several areas and most recently, fifteen villagers were jailed for protesting against APRIL for developing their land.”
“We question the real conservation benefit of the implementation of this policy. APRIL‟s HCV protection process continues to be flawed and NGOs continue to find natural forest clearance and canal developments by APRIL without HCV Resource Network peer-reviewed assessment,” said Aditya Bayunanda of WWF-Indonesia. APRIL was authorized by government to increase its RAPP (Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper) mill‟s pulp production capacity based on a 2011 environmental impact assessment (KA-ANDAL). This report specifies that capacity would increase to 2.7 million tons per year.
According to the NGOs, there is no clarity and no stakeholder consultation on how APRIL will realize its restoration commitment. There are many unanswered questions around their Kampar and Pulau Padang projects. ”We again call on APRIL not to include government mandated conservation areas in its 500,000 ha restoration target. APRIL has to address its devastating legacy above and beyond what is required by law,” Bayunanda said. “We are disappointed by the „stakeholder engagement‟ practiced by APRIL,” said Syamsul Rusdi of RPHK. “Regarding the continued deforestation by APRIL‟s supplier in East Kalimantan, PT. Adindo Hutani Lestari, APRIL conducted one joint field verification with us in May, but then ended its engagement. The supplier continues to clear natural forest on deep peat in violation of government regulations and APRIL‟s policy today, without a HCV Resource Network reviewed assessment.”
NGOs called on APRIL to stop natural forest clearance and peat canal development immediately, to improve its policy and make a full commitment to forest and peatland protection