We refer to a recent blog post by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) entitled “Consumer Goods Forum Attempts to ‘Takes Root’ of their Role Driving the Deforestation Crisis While Ignoring Actual Root Causes of Land Rights Violations and Violence Towards Human Rights Defenders” published on 4th June 2021. In it RAN, an activist NGO, targets APP for its failure to live up to FPIC based on RAN’s self-published report on Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in Indonesia. As RAN is explicit in its accusation, this requires clarification.
APP has since 2013, adopted FPIC and other human rights commitments as an integral part of APP’s 2013 Forest Conservation Policy. We have made this adoption public, and relevant documents are available here, here and here.
Since 2013, APP has worked tirelessly to meet its commitments to zero-deforestation and uplifting communities, including ensuring the principles of FPIC are properly carried out with regard to land rights. Most objective observers have acknowledged the progress that APP has made. We also disclose progress in our annual Sustainability Report, a report which is verified by third parties.
Operating in developing countries like Indonesia is challenging. Land disputes in Indonesia are complicated and therefore requires multi-party collaboration, discussions which include government representatives, community leadership and civil society. To breed confidence, the mediation process is always done in private. The release of information during the discussion is done only if it is universally agreed upon and it helps in the resolution. To breed objectivity, third-parties, including civil society organisations, are also invited to join in discussions. In so doing they are expected to abide with the confidentiality of the process. Minutes of meetings are also kept and signed by all parties. APP discloses the progress, including the meetings, at each stakeholder engagement session.
The entire mediation process can often take years to come to a successful resolution. Since 2013, APP has successfully resolved more than half of these disputes and continues to make progress on resolving the disputes. Many of these involve making significant concessions to communities. Keen observers will understand that the more intractable ones still remain. Nevertheless, APP is committed to resolving them. Its commitment to FPIC that no action in the field will be taken until these are resolved.
Underlying many of the social issues in the field finds is rural poverty. To support the government initiative to advance farming for rural communities, APP voluntarily given up significant concession land. APP also started a significant social program called DMPA where it commits to assist villages to engage in higher value sustainable agricultural activities that do not involve the use of fire or deforestation. To date, APP supports over 385 villages in the field, and intend to expand this program to 500 villages.
We recognize that we are not perfect, and that improvement is possible in many areas. Constructive feedback from interested parties will help us improve our processes and outcomes. What is unhelpful are non-specific, generalised feedback, with the use of distorted facts to mount sensational attacks.
We are always open if RAN or any other concerned party wishes to communicate specific issues of concern to us.
For further clarifications or enquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org (+6012 392 5343)