APP's deforestation policy 'successful' despite breaches says Greenpeace
Asia Pulp and Paper's (APP) key senior staff are now "genuinely committed" to driving the delivery of the company's Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), according to a new Greenpeace report.
The major pulp and paper firm announced in February an immediate end to forest clearance across its supply chain but since the introduction of the policy, the company has come under heavy scrutiny from NGO's, particularly since APP confirmed two clear cases of forest clearance in breach of the FCP moratorium.
Despite these breaches, the report says that overall the implementation of the forest and peatland moratoriums has been successful, though the breaches identified revealed a number of failings in internal signoff processes.
The first breach relating to the moratorium on forest clearance and the second to the moratorium on peatland development - resulted from pre-existing agreements with local communities.
However, the report finds that had these cases been "properly identified and assessed", alternative solutions could have been found that would have avoided natural forest and peatland clearance.
Although critical of the policy's commitments, Greenpeace uses the report to commend APP's efforts around stronger transparency of its operations and its plans to improve the management and implementation of the FCP.
According to APP, the moratorium will remain in place while assessments are carried out to determine which parts of APP suppliers' concessions are of High Conservation Value (HCV) and which are of High Carbon Stock (HCS), all of which will be protected.
The assessments are being undertaken by The Forest Trust (TFT) and independent HCV assessors, and are set to be completed in the first half of 2014.
APP's managing director of sustainability, Aida Greenbury, said: "We know that many years of work lie ahead, but this report has given us additional confidence that we are on the right path as we aim to put a permanent end to deforestation in our supply chain".
The report does, however, warn any company intending to resume trade with APP that they must apply strict conditions to commercial contracts requiring continued progress be made against the FCP.
In April, APP hit back at accusations from NGOs that its policy would protect just 5,000 hectares of forest. Speaking to edie at the time, Greenbury said that if the policy only protected 5,000 hectares of forest the company would not have publicised its moratorium to the extent it has.
Meanwhile, Greenpeace says currently the largest single threat to more responsible forest management in the pulp/paper sector in Indonesia comes from the activities of Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), part of the RGE group.
The NGO affirmed that it will continue to actively discourage companies from doing business with APRIL and any of its sister companies.