Asia Pulp & Paper commits to end rainforest destruction

February 6, 2013 - 1,370 views


One of the world’s largest paper companies, Asia Pulp & Paper Group, has pledged to stop its suppliers from cutting down natural forests in Indonesia, a move it hopes will help preserve the threatened habitats of rare animals such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions released from carbon-rich peatland.

APP said that starting this month it is accepting only wood that has been grown on plantations. Last year, it stopped cutting forest on its own land. The pledge announced Tuesday adds that restriction to its more than 20 suppliers, who environmentalists say are among the most aggressive clear cutters of forest on the planet.

The company today published a new “Forest Conservation Policy” committing it to end development of all natural forested areas, including peat forests, improve its peatland management to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and work more closely with local communities and other stakeholders.

Crucially, the stated strategy applies to all APP operations and all of its suppliers, as well as “all future expansion” and “any Indonesian fibre utilised by APP’s mills elsewhere, including China”. In addition, the new strategy will be subject to a series of independent assessments.

APP has in the past published a series of environmental commitments that have been dismissed as “greenwash” by campaigners, but Greenpeace, which has led many of the protests against the company, today welcomed the new strategy.

“We commend APP for making this commitment to end deforestation,” said Bustar Maitar, Head of Greenpeace’s Forest Campaign in Indonesia, adding that the NGO would now be monitoring its progress closely to ensure the commitments are honoured. “If APP fully implements its new policies it will mark a dramatic change in direction, after years of deforestation in Indonesia.”

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