INDONESIA – Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), the Indonesian paper and paper packaging giant that has been hounded by environmental activists over the past few years for alleged unsustainable forestry practices, claims to have developed a plan to restore and support the conservation of one million hectares of rainforest across Indonesia.
According to the APP, the new initiative, developed with input from many stakeholders, including WWF, Greenpeace and NGO members of APP’s Solutions Working Group, will have a significant impact on the landscapes both in and around the plantation concessions in APP’s supply chain.
This announcement comes just over a year after APP launched its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), which the company says resulted in the immediate and permanent cessation of natural forest clearance across its supply chain.
Since then, the company has been working closely with stakeholders to implement the policy, with support from The Forest Trust. The company has also been carrying out consultation on how it should prioritise restoration of important areas, following the wide ranging biodiversity assessments in its concessions.
Aida Greenbury, APP’s managing director of sustainability, said, “After over a year of implementing our FCP, it has become clear that the key to success of any efforts to halt deforestation in Indonesia is a landscape level approach to forest restoration and conservation.
“Land cannot be conserved or restored in isolation, the sustainability of the entire landscape must be taken into account and many stakeholders must be involved. We hope that by working with Indonesian and international stakeholders, as well as organisations such as WWF, The Forest Trust and Ekologika, our efforts will be much more effective.
She continued, “We believe that by assessing entire landscapes and creating clear tailor made objectives and strategies, the maximum possible level of conservation will be achieved, not just for natural forest in our concessions, but for areas around them as well.”
APP is currently in consultation with WWF and other stakeholders, to develop plans for identified priority landscapes in which APP and its suppliers have commercial forestry-based operations, which will then be implemented by the company in close collaboration with other relevant players in the landscape, while observing the principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
As a first step, APP will work with an NGO coalition to preserve the natural forest in the 30 Hills landscape (Bukit Tigapuluh) in Jambi, Sumatra – a vital habitat for tiger and elephant populations. This will include increased protection of the corridor road from illegal activities, work on protecting the threatened elephant herd in the Tebo Multi Agro concession, and asessment of the viability of creating an animal corridor in the WKS concession which would connect important forest habitat blocks.
Over the coming months, APP says its commitment will be developed into a more detail time-bound plan that will form part of the company’s Integrated Sustainable Forest Management Plans (ISFMPs), which are currently being developed by APP, High Conservation Value (HCV), High Carbon Stock (HCS) and social experts as well as a peatland management team.
APP will also develop with other stakeholders, an independently administered trust fund to manage and finance these conservation measures in order to ensure their sustainability and viability into the future. The trust fund will receive start up funding from APP, and additional funding will be raised on an ongoing basis to successfully manage these conservation landscapes.
In order to manage this new conservation strategy, APP says it will be creating a multi-stakeholder platform, to be unveiled in due course, that will include a wide range of national and international NGOs and other institutions to guide the implementation of these conservation and restoration commitments.