Friday, April 15, 2016

Operations of another APRIL supplier suspended over forest fires

Indonesia's Minister of the Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya, has suspended the operations of PT Rimba Lazuardi (RL), one of APRIL’s long-term suppliers located in Sumatra's Riau province, as the company was found to have committed a number of violations with respect to last year’s forest fires. According to the Indonesian web platform, the suspension of the company’s operations took effect from the middle of March 2016.
Based on the ministerial decree suspending the operations of the APRIL supplier, its violations include not exercising control over forest fires in its concession area as well as not exercising control over air pollution originating from the fires.

In addition, Rimba Lazuardi is also said to have failed to perform its waste management obligations in accordance with Indonesia's applicable laws and regulations. This includes not reporting on the implementation of environmental management plans and not paying due regard to environmental functions.

“This is an environmental case. It should be brought into the realm of law enforcement. The government needs to demonstrate that it is taking clear legal steps to deal with incidents of forest fires such as those involving this company,” Riko Kurniawan, Executive Director of Walhi Riau ("Friends of the Earth Indonesia" Riau Office), told on Tuesday (Apr 12).

Riko added that the APRIL's longterm supplier, along with any other companies which had incurred similar administrative sanctions, should additionally be taken to court by the government to obtain legal clarity on their actions.

“For us as a civil society group, and also on behalf of the people of Riau, we would like to see the establishment of legal certainty through a trial process. If an accused company is duly convicted, then it must be severely punished. The Ministry of the Environment and Forestry needs to adopt a clear law enforcement strategy - a strategy which is based on providing legal certainty,” he asserted.

Meanwhile, APRIL reacted to the suspension of PT RL’s operations by declaring that it had been an unauthorized operation: "PT SRL reported to APRIL that the company has filed a report with the police for them to undertake further investigation on this possible unauthorized activity in Rupat concession" report the APRIL web site.
“APRIL’s explanation doesn’t make any sense. Even if a company has its permit suspended, it is not allowed to simply relinquish all responsibility for the control of its concession area. How is it possible that this "unauthorized activity" could take place? It clearly makes no sense at all,” Woro Supartinah, Coordinator of Jikalahari (The Riau Forest Rescue Network), told
Environment and Forestry Ministry  will brequests detailed explanations to APRIL:  “We will be sending a letter to PT SRL requesting a detailed explanation of what is meant by 'unauthorized activity', including an explanation about certain developments stemming from its report to the police,” said Bambang Hendroyono, Secretary General at the Environment and Forestry Ministry to
APRIL added that  PT RL is one of APRIL’s suppliers and not an affiliate or subsidiary of the APRIL Group. Vanda Mutia Dewi, Executive Director of Greenomics Indonesia, reacted to the development by saying that in reality PT RL's operations are controlled by APRIL, so the pulp and paper giant is misleading the public by giving the impression that this company is merely an independent supplier. “APRIL cannot just wash its hands of this issue, as if the company's operations are not under its control. On the contrary, APRIL actually does exercise control over the operations of what it says is just a supplier. APRIL must acknowledge that it is responsible,” Vanda explained to

Vanda pointed out that this was the case not only for PT RL. In fact, the operations of another company which had its license suspended by the ministry in November 2015, PT Sumatera Riang Lestari (SRL), were also under the control of APRIL. “The operations of APRIL-owned concessions, including those of its long-term suppliers, are controlled by the management of APRIL. This is a fact,” said Vanda emphatically.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Major APRIL supplier found in serious breach

According to the forest portal, one of APRIL’s major suppliers, PT SRL, has reportedly violated the Environment and Forestry Minister's decree freezing the license of this pulpwood plantation concession in mid-November 2015 due to its role in last year’s massive peat fires.

The decree prohibited PT SRL from operating until it had met all the obligations demanded of it. In other words, the company would only be allowed to start operating again once another decree had been issued by the minister lifting the license suspension.

“We have already reported this serious violation committed by PT SRL Block IV in Rupat Island, Riau Province, to the Director General of Law Enforcement at the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry,” Vanda Mutia Dewi, Executive Director of Greenomics Indonesia, told on Thursday (Mar 31).

Greenomics used USGS Landsat 8 images, dated 9 January 2016, 26 February 2016 and 13 March 2016 to indicate that acacia planted blocks continued to be harvested by the APRIL supplier during the period of license suspension in its pulpwood plantation concession.

Asked for his view on the matter by 31), the Director General of Law Enforcement at the Ministry, Rasio Ridho Sani, replied, “We need to make a field verification of the report. We’ll see what sanction, what punishment, just what can be done to PT SRL. However, as yet we have not decided on what sanctions will be imposed for this non-compliance.”

The Director General added that the field verification process would be used as the basis for taking legal action against the company.

“We could revoke their license or do something else. However, the main thing is we need to check in the field first,” Rasio said.
In the meantime, APRIL has stated that it has asked the accused supplier to carry out its own field verification. Furthermore, the giant pulp company continues to insist that all its suppliers must comply with APRIL's sustainability policy as well as Indonesia’s laws and regulations.
“We are waiting for the results of the field verification from our supplier,” said Agung Laksamana, APRIL's Director of Corporate Affairs (Apr 1).

Greenomics also said that it has submitted its report on the violations committed by PT SRL to the Chief of the Peat Restoration Agency, Nazir Foead, in consideration of the fact that the company’s concession suspension was due to its involvement in last year's peat fires.
Meanwhile, Greenpeace Indonesia also took exception to the actions of PT SRL. Its spokesperson, Yuyun Indradi, said that by continuing to operate by harvesting acacia planted blocks during the license suspension period, the APRIL supplier was in clear breach of the minister's decree.

"Seeing that the Environment and Forestry Ministry suspended PT SRL's operating license, of course it has to take legal action against the company for its violations,” Yuyun told on Friday (April 1).