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null Asia Pulp & Paper’s sustainability progress undeterred by misinformed allegations

Asia Pulp & Paper’s sustainability progress undeterred by misinformed allegations

We refer to the article titled “Paper giant APP evades voluntary forest protection pledges, binding safeguards by banks and buyers needed” published by the Environmental Paper Network.

The article accuses Asia Pulp & Paper of ignoring its forest conservation and human rights pledges. There is no merit to these allegations. These claims are not new and have in fact been asked and answered in the past. The report authors are not entitled to dismiss facts and promote “alternative truths” simply because they don’t like them.

On the issue of deforestation, the report authors continue to advance the disproven narrative that APP is engaging in the practice, citing inaccurate news reports from 2017. APP has previously responded to these allegations.

Fact: APP and its pulpwood suppliers do not engage in deforestation, and no pulpwood from deforested sources have entered the APP supply chain since the implementation of the 2013 Forest Conservation Policy. All our suppliers have undergone a Supplier Evaluation & Risk Assessment (SERA) process to ensure they comply with our sustainability commitments. These suppliers and the SERA reports are made available on our Sustainability Dashboard.

 

The report authors also accuse APP of being responsible for the death of an endangered Sumatran tiger in June 2020. The incident actually happened in May inside a conservation zone, not a production area, and was the result of illegal poaching. Again, this issue has been responded to  previously.

Fact: APP condemns illegal wildlife poaching in the strongest terms and works closely with the Tiger Forum (Forum Harimau Kita) and the authorities to carry out anti-poaching operations on its conservation areas. APP is also investing in feeding zones and wildlife corridors to prevent human-wildlife conflict and works with SINTAS Foundation to conduct surveys of wildlife populations on its concessions.

 

The report also makes claims regarding community conflicts and alleges that APP has “failed to involve affected communities” and “done poorly in addressing the fundamental causes of conflict”. Specifically, the authors cite two cases which, again, have been answered. In both cases, the narrative presented is incomplete, the impact exaggerated.

Fact: Free, Prior and Informed Consent continues to be implemented across all developments on APP supplier concessions, and substantial progress has been made in resolving prior conflicts. APP’s dispute resolution rate of 51% is acknowledged as one of the highest in Indonesia. APP also engages in multi-stakeholder dispute resolution and complies with all legal requirements, including a community’s right to privacy throughout the process.

Furthermore, APP works closely with communities through its flagship program, the Desa Makmur Peduli Api (DMPA), which integrates forestry and farming systems to address one of the root causes of deforestation, fires and conflict; the issue of rural poverty. The DMPA program has been shown to improve livelihood and new targets have been adopted in 2020 to improve the income of participants to at least the regional minimum wage.

 

Continuing claims that APP suppliers are “involved in” damaging fires are entirely without merit. While APP is ultimately responsible, as the concession holder, for putting out fires that threaten its concessions, APP maintains a strict No Burn policy. Fires can damage valuable plantation crops and conservation land, so it is in APP’s own best interests to prevent fires, or to contain and extinguish them when they do occur.

Fact: APP has never started any of the fires, but has a responsibility to put out fires that threathen its supplier concessions. Across 2019 despite fires having occurred on APP supplier concessions, as a result of fire from agricultural activities or encroachment, no sanctions have been issued to APP suppliers.There are no open investigations or outstanding penalties related to fires on any APP supplier concession at this time.

 

APP is not perfect or without faults. Our sustainability journey, now into its eighth year, is still a work in progress. We are happy to engage constructively with committed stakeholders to evolve and continuously improve. Any concerned stakeholder may also make submissions through our Grievance mechanism, which will then be processed and investigated. The combination of these processes ensures transparency in our compliance process. The result of the Grievance submitted will be published on the dashboard as well.

We appreciate criticism where it is due, so that we can address our failures. But what we cannot do is permit false allegations or ill-informed opinions to distract us from the facts.

We believe the work we do, including our work in innovation, conservation and environmental impact, is critical to our continued survival as a business. Through our FCP and Sustainability Roadmaps, we are demonstrably making progress along a complex and challenging. Continuing the journey of transformation.

We remain firmly committed to our sustainability pledges.

For further clarifications or enquiries, please contact: letchumi.achanah@app.co.id (+6012 392 5343)

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