60 NGOs send letters to bank, financial institutions

EoF News / 12 November 2012

EoF News) PEKANBARU -- At least sixty environmental and social non-governmental organizations sent joint letters to banks and financial institutions not to invest in increasing pulp mill capacity of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) or other companies associated with Sinar Mas Group until “reforms have been achieved,” a press release issued last week said.

The organizations including a dozen Indonesian civil society groups such as Jikalahari , Walhi Riau, AMAN Jambi, have warned the financial institutions “to avoid investments in pulp and paper mills associated with deforestation and human rights abuses in Indonesia.”

“Our concern is the environmental and social consequences of the massive destruction of natural forests that can be shown to be linked to past and current over-capacity in pulp milling plants in Indonesia,” the letter said last week.

Three representatives from Indonesian social and environmental NGOs –including Jikalahari and Walhi Riau— that are signatories to the letter will travel to Europe this week to meet with investors, governments, NGOs and media in eight countries.

They will present information on the social and environmental impacts of APP and other Indonesian pulp and paper manufacturers.

Aidil Fitri, who will travel to Europe to represent Yayasan Wahana Bumi Hijau, said, ‘In South Sumatra APP is destroying natural peat lands forest, which is a living place for Sumatran tigers. In Jambi, Sumatra, APP has caused the loss of livelihood resources of thousands of local people. In Riau, Sumatra, APP is strongly indicated to have links with an illegal logging scandal and is currently being investigated by the Ministry of Environment.’

The letter is being delivered to banks and investors in Indonesia, China, Japan, USA, South Africa, Switzerland, Germany, France, Austria, Taiwan, Australia and Sweden.