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APRIL pledges zero deforestation, transforms sector

(Editor's note: Based on news releases from APRIL and Greenpeace)

Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd (APRIL), one of the world’s largest producers of pulp and paper, has announced an end to deforestation as part of a new “Sustainable Forest Management Plan (SFMP 2.0).”

Largely as a result of the rapid expansion of the palm oil and pulp and paper sector into Indonesia’s rainforests and peatlands, by 2005 Indonesia was ranked as the world’s third-highest source of greenhouse gas emissions. If properly implemented, APRIL’s pledge will prove to be another major step by business towards protecting Indonesia’s rainforests and peatlands.

APRIL’s parent company, the Royal Golden Eagle group, has also announced that new sustainability policies will be implemented by all other pulp companies in the group, including an end to deforestation. Greenpeace is suspending its campaign to give APRIL and other RGE group companies time to put these new policies into practice.

“APRIL’s policy is huge news for the entire industry," said Amy Moas, PhD, US Senior Forest Campaigner. "Along with APP’s zero deforestation commitment in 2013, now over 80 percent of the pulp sector in Indonesia is committed to stopping the destruction of the rainforests. Protecting the forests and peatlands is the way forward for Indonesia and the world, and will bring significant benefits for the climate."

APRIL has agreed to a number of new conservation measures, including using the High Carbon Stock Approach to identify and protect forest areas remaining in their concessions. The company has also agreed to protect forested peatlands and has established a Peat Expert Working Group to help it develop international best practice for managing peatlands to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Indonesia’s peatlands store an estimated 60 billion metric tons of carbon. When peatlands are drained for plantations this carbon is released and the landscape becomes susceptible to smouldering fires which blanket the region in an annual haze.

APRIL has also agreed to work collaboratively and transparently to resolve its outstanding social conflicts and to support development opportunities for local communities that do not involve deforestation.

APRIL’s announcement follows similar decisions by other major players in the pulp and palm oil sectors to protect Indonesia’s forests and peatlands. In September, 2014, some of the biggest palm oil producers in Indonesia, including APRIL’s sister companies Asian Agri and Apical, agreed to end deforestation. Equally, there is growing support from the business community in Indonesia for a development model based on forest protection.

“This is a major step in our 15-year sustainability journey," said APRIL Group President, Praveen Singhavi. "This is about elimination of deforestation from our supply chain and builds on our longstanding commitment to conservation.”

Almost 15 years ago, APRIL Group pioneered implementation of a chain of custody
system to ensure no illegal wood entered its mill. In 2005, it was the first to voluntarily adopt conservation assessments to protect rainforest within its land concessions. In 2013, APRIL Group commenced eco-restoration projects, now accounting for 70,000 hectares of previously degraded land. In 2014 it launched its SFMP, which has evolved to the latest SFMP 2.0.

On June 8, 2015, APRIL Group announced that it had joined representatives from Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), the world’s leading forest certification system, and its Indonesian partner, the Indonesian Forest Certification Co-Operation (IFCC), in announcing it was  awarded the first PEFC Sustainable Forest Management certification for an Indonesian forestry company.

APRIL Group now has 45 percent of its long-term wood supply PEFC certified in Indonesia, with more than 300,000 hectares of its concession area certified. APRIL Group’s manufacturing operations are already PEFC Chain-of-Custody certified, meaning it is now PEFC certified end-to-end throughout its supply chain.

“We congratulate APRIL Group for achieving such significant progress in Indonesia," said Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Minister of Environment & Forestry. "This collaboration demonstrates that the private sector such as APRIL, the Government and civil society groups can work together to achieve strong outcomes in sustainable forest management.”

ABOUT APRIL

Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd. (APRIL) is the second largest pulp and paper company in Indonesia and one of the largest pulp and paper producers in the world. Its new Sustainable Forest Management Plan (SFMP) is available on its website at: www.aprilasia.com.

Alongside APRIL’s new policy, the Royal Golden Eagle Group has published sustainability principles that are to be implemented by its pulp companies, including Toba Pulp Lestari, Asia Symbol and Sateri. Those principles are available on its website, www.rgei.com. The palm oil companies in the RGE Group, Asian Agri and Apical, announced new sustainability policies, including an end to deforestation, in September 2014 at: www.apicalgroup.com/sustainability.

For more information contact Amy Moas, PhD, US Senior Forest Campaigner, at: [email protected], or Agung Laksamana, Director Corporate Affairs, APRIL, at: [email protected].

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