Posted on 20 October 2006
A new WWF monitoring report reveals that Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), one of the world's largest paper and pulp companies, threatens natural forests and wildlife in Sumatra.
Jakarta, Indonesia - A new WWF monitoring report released today reveals that Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), one of the world's largest paper and pulp companies, is going to destroy one of the most delicate of all remaining ecosystems in Indonesia - the peat swamp forests of Kampar Peninsula in Sumatra.
The report also reveals how APP hides its continued destruction of natural tropical rainforests that house Sumatran tigers and elephants behind a global advertising campaign that misleads buyers who are increasingly concerned with the company's poor environmental performance. In August, APP ran an advertisement in the New York Times and London Times claiming it was committed to "conservation beyond compliance".
The Kampar Peninsula consists of approximately 400,000 hectares of large, still relatively intact peat swamp forest which is an important habitat for Sumatran tiger. Jikalahari, a local NGO network, and WWF have proposed it as a national park. But APP is getting ready to clear the forest on top of a deep peat dome.
"If APP would abide by its own 'conservation beyond compliance' propaganda, none of this forest would be cleared," said Nazir Foead, WWF-Indonesia's Director of Policy & Corporate Engagement. "But apparently the company decided to run a global propaganda campaign rather than protect forests with high conservation values."
Since it began operations in the 1980s, APP has pulped close to a million hectares of Riau's natural forests. WWF's latest report details how APP's "forest protection based on legal compliance" has destroyed about a third of the forest lost in Riau.
In the past, APP had pledged to protect few small blocks of high conservation value forests (HCVF). However, according to SmartWood, which was hired by APP to audit its performance in protecting these HCVFs, APP failed to protect them. In a meeting with WWF in June this year, APP then refused to guarantee that HCVF would be excluded from its future logging and wood sourcing operations.
"APP simply cannot afford to protect natural forests as it needs wood to keep its pulp mill running," added Foead. "With failing plantations, it is likely that APP will continue to pulp the remaining forests until none are left to be cut."
WWF is calling on all pulp and paper producers and buyers to avoid suppliers who use any fibre from legally questionable sources or from clear-cutting HCVF. Based on their own responsible purchasing policies, some companies, like the Ricoh Group and Fuji Xerox Group, both headquartered in Japan, have stopped purchasing APP products.
"Companies that source illegally or from high conservation value forests are exposing themselves to criticisms as they indirectly contribute to the destruction of natural forests and near extinction of tigers, elephants and other wildlife," said Foead. "The livelihoods of communities who depend on these forest resources are also at stake here."
WWF is working closely with Indonesian government agencies to ensure that forest conservation is part of land-use planning and conversion licensing processes. Such collaboration has already led the Indonesia Forestry Ministry to issue a decree establishing an elephant conservation centre in Riau and halt to natural forest conversion.
"Despite this and the Indonesian government's no natural forest conversion policy, APP continues to clear forested areas," Foead said. "More pressure needs to be put on APP to stop its destructive practices."
Notes to Editors:
1. WWF's new report launched today "Hiding Destruction behind False Advertisements: APP continues to ignore calls for conservation beyond 'legal compliance', and even fails on the latter" can be downloaded at: http://www.wwf.or.id/index.php?fuseaction=newsroom.detail&id=NWS1161151678&language=e
2. High Conservation Value Forests (HCVFs) are forests of outstanding and critical importance due to their environmental, socio-economic, biodiversity or landscape values.
3. For guidance on responsible purchasing, see WWF's "Responsible Purchasing of Forest Products Guide" (second edition).
For more information:
Nazir Foead, Director of Policy & Corporate Engagement
Tel: +62 811 977604