APRIL, Sumatra’s largest pulper of natural forest tangled over legality, social conflicts

EoF Press Release / 20 December 2012

PEKANBARU, SUMATRA – Despite promising to its customers that they would only use plantation fiber to feed its pulp mill by 2009. Wood supply to global pulp giant Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), has resulted natural forest loss double the size of Singapore, in Riau Province since that deadline.   

Singapore-based APRIL, Royal Golden Eagle Group, considers its Riau mill as “the biggest mill on the planet” with a production of “3.5 million tons of pulp and paper”. In Eyes on the Forest (EoF) new report: APRIL:Riau, Sumatra’s biggest forest pulper 2009 to 2012 - questionable legality, social conflicts and global warming, clearly updates on how APRIL is still relying on clearance of natural forest despite company’s existence in the business for 17 years. The company admits that “significant conversion of forests to plantations… is an essential step for APRIL Indonesia in our process of establishing renewable plantation fiber supplies”

APRIL’s wood supply has been involved with legally questionable practices. “APRIL has knowingly been pulping rainforest wood in concessions whose licenses were issued through corrupt practices and areas considered off limits within the country’s national land use planning law,” said Hariansyah Usman of Walhi Riau. “A billion dollar law suit is being prepared by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment against APRIL’s suppliers for causing environmental destruction and we are ready to support the process by providing data.”

This latest EoF report refutes APRIL’s carefully crafted and cultivated green image of sustainable operations and protection of High Conservation Values. “Until now, its business model clearly depends on the destruction of forest with these values,” said Aditya Bayunanda of WWF Indonesia. Compounded with this fact is that 69% of its pulpwood areas are on peat which when drained for plantations, emits great scores of CO2 and greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, in direct conflict of the President of Indonesia’s global commitment for dramatic GHG emissions reductions.”

“We urge global buyers and investors to avoid being associated with the tropical forest and peat destruction of APRIL and its associated business entities and not let themselves be trapped by the company’s green-washing campaigns,” says Muslim Rasyid of Jikalahari. “We hope strong, continuing opposition to its natural forest clearance operations by local communities who are angry about their loss of control over traditionally owned forests and environmental degradation reach the global communities.”

Notes to editors:

 “APRIL:Riau, Sumatra’s biggest forest pulper 2009 to 2012 - questionable legality, social conflicts and global warming” is available at: http://www.eyesontheforest.or.id/attach/EoF (20Dec12) APRIL Riau Sumatras biggest forest pulper 2009 .pdf

Details on conservation values and threats in Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia are available through interactive maps at: maps.eyesontheforest.or.id