Jakarta –Asia Pulp & Paper (APP)’s announcement on Tuesday (May 15th) that it would stop clearing natural forest on its own concessions represents very little gains for natural forest and tiger protection in Sumatra, and represents another example of the company’s greenwashing, WWF said. In Riau, these are areas that the company must protect anyway.
APP said it would stop clearing natural forests on concessions it has been permitted to log. However, an analysis by WWF of concessions held by APP, its joint ventures and its other suppliers, reveals that APP has already cleared most of the natural forest on concessions covered by this announcement.
In Riau, out of the estimated 206,412 ha natural forest that is under the control of APP or its affiliates, only 22,000 hectare will be immediately affected by this moratorium. 103,849 ha of the remaining natural forests are actually forests that are already designated or by regulation must be protected. Another drawback is that the announcement does not include other logging concessions claimed to be indirectly owned by the company, meaning no significant tracts of natural forest actually will be saved.
“APP once again has chosen to invest in green washing instead of meaningful change in the face of increasing and widespread condemnation of its forestry practices,” said Nazir Foead of WWF-Indonesia. “Our analysis suggests that this limited moratorium will have little impact, since APP has already cleared 713,383 ha or almost all of the natural forest in its own and affiliated concessions in Riau.”
If the company really wants to reduce its devastating footprint on Sumatra’s tropical forests, APP needs to immediately issue a moratorium on the use of natural forest fiber by any of its pulp mills.
WWF estimates that in 2011, 44,268 ha of natural forest that was cleared by APP in Riau in which over 50% was done in wood suppliers not managed directly by APP, meaning that they will continue to be cleared as it is not covered by its announced moratorium. APP is responsible for more deforestation in Sumatra than any other company, having pulped an estimated 2 million hectares of tropical forest there.
“Only if APP immediately extends this moratorium to cover the full wood supply of all its mills and demonstrates a real commitment to changing its forestry practices, WWF would welcome it as a sign that the company is taking steps to join the ranks of responsible paper companies,” said Nazir Foead.