Document pulps APP’s tiger sanctuary claims

Posted on 16 December 2011

A document released today by WWF and partners confirms that a supplier to paper giant Asia Pulp and Paper is clear felling natural tropical forests the company designated as tiger sanctuary.
Pekanbaru, Sumatra – A document released today by WWF and partners confirms that a supplier to paper giant Asia Pulp and Paper is clear felling natural tropical forests the company designated as tiger sanctuary.

The document throws into doubt APP claims on Tuesday that current clear cutting activities of supplier PT Ruas Utama Jaya (RUJ) were taking place narrowly outside rather than inside the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary.

The APP document, “Proposal for Rationalization of Senepis-Buluhala Sumatra Tiger Conservation Area”, shows Sinarmas Forestry (APP) and RUJ executives signing off on sanctuary boundaries that clearly put current large scale clearing inside the boundaries.

Click to enlarge (© APP / Eyes on the Forest)

“APP really needs to come clean on its incredible shrinking tiger sanctuary,” said Aditya Bayunanda, pulp & paper coordinator of WWF-Indonesia. “In its media campaigns APP seeks major credit for its minor contribution of about 8000 ha to the 106,000 ha tiger sanctuary.

“And now, according to the map signed off by its executives, it is busily clearing and draining even that minor contribution.”

Asia Pulp and Paper's wood suppliers are clearing natural forest in the
Click to enlarge (© Eyes of the Forest)
                 No longer habitat for tigers - or anything much

As recently as 2010, APP was claiming that the presence of its supplier’s concessions on the sanctuary boundaries would provide additional protection. Satellite imagery however shows that huge areas of dense tiger forest that government and scientists had proposed as the Senepis National Park have now been cleared and drained.

“The real story of APP’s tiger conservation impact in this area is not that they contributed only around 8000 ha of their own concessions to the sanctuary and are now clearing that anyway, but that overall they have been responsible for the loss of around 49,000 hectares of the Senepis tiger landscape,” said Hariansyah Usman of Walhi Riau, part of the Eyes on the Forest coalition that conducted the investigation.

“Meanwhile, they are running this massive greenwash advertising campaign through the world media and via various front groups to portray themselves as champions of tiger conservation.

“In trying to deny they are clearing their own designated tiger sanctuary, they have confirmed that they are clearing tiger forest and they are pulping tropical forests in defiance of public commitments to halt this by 2004, then by 2007, then by 2009 and now by 2015.”

The world of difference between APP’s claims and its practice is detailed in the new Eyes on the Forest report “The Truth behind APP’s Greenwash”. On climate, the report notes how emissions calculations conducted for APP and used in its greenwash campaigns disregard the immense emissions from draining deep peat areas such as Senepis for short lived plantation establishment – calculations suggest the carbon footprint of APP paper could be more than 500 times the APP consultant’s claim and 10 times the North America pulp and paper sector average.

The company’s greenwash campaigns and the lobbying of front groups have however failed to prevent a host of major companies ceasing to buy paper products from APP. In the Netherlands, APP’s print and television advertisements have been judged misleading to the public by the country’s Advertising Codes Commission.
Maps show location of photos of large scale clearance of natural forest by APP wood supplier PT. Ruas Utama Jaya inside APP’s Senepis Tiger Sanctuary in June and October 2011. Arrows next to photo numbers in map (top right) indicate directions photos were taken.
© Eyes on the Forest / WWF-Indonesia
Photo 2 - Drainage of deep peats results in immense carbon emissions - it has been calculated that APPs emissions outrank those of many world countries
© Eyes on the Forest / WWF-Indonesia
Photo 3 - Not the work of smallholders
© Eyes on the Forest / WWF-Indonesia
Photo 4 - APP itself does not include emissions from forest clearance and peat drainage in its global greenwashing on its climate impact
© Eyes on the Forest / WWF-Indonesia
Photo 5 - Former Senepis Tiger Sanctuary land - no longer habitat for anything, let alone tigers
© Eyes on the Forest / WWF-Indonesia