WWF queries IFCC/PEFC certification of Indonesian pulp plantations

Posted on 29 September 2015

Most of Indonesia's pulpwood plantations were established by clearing natural forests and peatlands.

On 17 August 2015, WWF wrote an open letter to the Indonesian Forest Certification Cooperation (IFCC)  querying the recent certification of pulp plantations in Indonesia. The IFCC is the Indonesian arm of the PEFC (Programme for The Endorsement of Forest Certification) - an international forest certification accreditation system.

Most of Indonesia's pulpwood plantations were established by clearing natural forests and peatlands, and many are associated with unresolved conflicts with local communities. Given this context, WWF is questioning the grounds on which the certificates were granted, as there is very little information in the public domain that enables review of assessments that underpin the IFCC system.

On 17 September 2015, IFCC’s Executive Director, Mr. Zulfandi Lubis responded. The letter asks WWF to contact the organisations that audited the plantations for compliance with the IFCC standard. Mr. Lubis proposed that WWF consult the public summaries of these audits, noting that these are available from the certification bodies. He also advised that he would copy the response to the companies and certification bodies involved, asking them to respond to questions raised in the WWF open letter. The IFCC website lists the certification body as PT AJA Sertifikasi Indonesia, which is affiliated with AJA Registrars Europe. To date, WWF has not received any public summaries of the audits or other information from the certification body.

The IFCC response also refers to ISEAL membership as one of WWF’s key requirements for credible certification. WWF’s Certification Assessment Tool is based on 16 principles. One of these is compliance with ISEAL’s Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards and another requires that minimum measurable performance requirements are in compliance with ISEAL’s Impacts Code. Neither principle requires ISEAL membership, although in the indicators used in applying the tool, ISEAL membership counts for 2 indicators out of a total 80. 

WWF will continue to seek more information on IFCC/PEFC certificates relating to Indonesian pulp plantations and will update this webpage after receiving and reviewing such information.

Log yard in pulp mill, Riau Province, Indonesia.
© WWF-Indonesia/Riau Project