Excavators beside a canal that cuts through recently deforested peatland in Indonesia. Photo: Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace

By Rhett A. Butler
3 February 2015

(mongabay.com) – A year after it pledged a dramatic shift in how it operates in Indonesia's fast dwindling native habitats, Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd (APRIL) continues to destroy forests and peatlands in Sumatra, allege environmentalists.

On January 28th, 2014 — just days before APRIL's biggest competitor Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) was to provide an update on its own efforts to reform its forest management practices — APRIL announced a sustainability policy that it said set a new standard for Indonesia's pulp and paper sector. APRIL claimed its policy was backed by WWF, one of its chief critics, and did more to protect forests than APP's commitment.

APRIL's claims were quickly refuted by environmentalists. WWF rebuked the forest giant, stating that its policy allowed conversion of natural forests for industrial timber plantations, while investigative work by other groups like Greenpeace and Eyes on the Forest confirmed that APRIL was indeed continuing on a business-as-usual path, destroying deep peat forests on Padang island.

A year later, very little seems to have changed, say green groups.

"After one year, we really do not see the significance of their policy. The commitments and the realities do not make sense. They are simply implementing business as usual," said Muslim Rasyid, Coordinator of Jikalahari, one of the local NGOs that is part of the Eyes on the Forest coalition. "APRIL in 2011 already told Government its expanded pulp mill would no longer source any MTH by the end of 2014. APRIL should simply realize that plan."

“We question the real conservation benefit of the implementation of this policy. APRIL's HCV protection process continues to be flawed and NGOs continue to find natural forest clearance and canal developments by APRIL without HCV Resource Network peer-reviewed assessment,” added Aditya Bayunanda of WWF-Indonesia. [more]

Despite green promise, Indonesian forestry giant continues to destroy forests



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