APRIL violates its new sustainability policy, say Kalimantan NGOs

EoF News / 21 May 2014

PEKANBARU (EoF News) - Three green groups working in Kalimantan launched an investigative report this week depicting deep peat forest clearance by a timber supplier of Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), PT Adindo Hutani Lestari (AHL), in Sesayap sector, North Kalimantan province.

GAPETA Borneo, Kalimantan Forest Monitoring NGOs (RPHK) and WWF-Indonesia East Kalimantan released a new joint report today revealing that AHL has continued to clear natural forest on protected peat after APRIL issued its Sustainable Forest Management Plan (SFMP) in January 2014. AHL cleared even High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) identified by an APRIL commissioned assessment, their joint press release said Tuesday (20/5/2014).

The three organizations urged APRIL to immediately halt clearing operation and peat canal drainage in Tana Tidung district of the new province.

“It appears that APRIL’s sustainability commitments are only on paper, but not in the forest,” said Kamiruddin, head of GAPETA Borneo. “Their deforestation and peat canal excavation should be stopped as they cause serious environmental damages including carbon emissions. Deforestation on deep peat should also be stopped because it is protected by law.”

Sesayap Sector of  AHL’s concession still has a large area of good natural forest, much of it on deep peat, the NGO coalition said. They also urged RGE/APRIL to immediately start a forest clearance moratorium in all APRIL suppliers’ concessions, even if APRIL had commissioned HCV assessments already.

The green groups said on their report that APRIL’s supplier cleared the forest that the company pledged as High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) as investigation by the NGOs found in April this year.

“It is time for APRIL to listen to the concerns of the local stakeholders and end its clearance of natural forests and orangutan habitats in Kalimantan,” says Sulhani of RPHK. “APRIL should respect its own commitments to become sustainable and certainly not clear HCVF which themselves identified and committed to protect.”

"These findings confirm an indisputable fact that APRIL lacks seriousness in implementing their sustainable commitments. We are increasingly questioning their SFMP,” says Syachraini from WWF-Indonesia. “Not only APRIL’s questionable HCV assessment allowed a large portion of the identified HCVFs to be cleared, but also even the small HCVF recommended to be protected was cleared.”

WWF urged APRIL to strictly maintain the obedience of their Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP), particularly by not cutting forests that has identified as HCV areas.

NGOs have been criticizing exactly the same failures in HCVF protection by many APRIL suppliers and this is why APRIL lost its FSC Chain of Custody certificate in 2010. WWF calls on APRIL to immediately stop all natural forest clearance and peat development activities and first improve its SFMP to no longer allow this behavior.

NGOs also called on APRIL to have proper HCV assessments conducted and peer-reviewed by the HCV Resources Network and also have independent HCS and peat assessments conducted to ensure that the company causes no further deforestation.

GAPETA Borneo, RPHK including WWF-Indonesia call on the pulp and paper buyers not to do business with RGE/APRIL before they improve its sustainability forest management plan and the implementation is verified by a credible independent third party audit.

Last month, Eyes on the Forest coalition published latest investigative report highlighting natural forest clearance in high conservation value forest (HCVF) by PT Triomas Forestry Development Indonesia, a supplier to APRIL.

“The investigation that we conduct has proved a number of alleged violations conducted by PT Triomas from APRIL Group, such as the clearing of high conservation value forest (HCVF) that they were committed in 2005,” Muslim Rasyid, Jikalahari coordinator, said. “This is a record of how doubtful the implication of APRIL’s sustainable forest management (SFMP) is.”

Find full report and media release here

Report on APRIL clears HCVF in Kampar Peninsula