Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the FCP?
The FCP is a set of policies that govern APP’s approach to sustainable and responsible practices, implemented on 1st February 2013. The FCP included a moratorium on all-natural forest clearance by suppliers and required large-scale High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) assessments to identify natural forest and other important areas for protection.
The FCP sets out four main policy commitments that cover:
- Protecting Natural Forests
- Peatland Management
- Social Commitments
- Responsible Global Supply Chain
2. Why did APP create the FCP?
Over the last decade, there was growing awareness of the environmental and social costs of development through the exploitation of natural resources. This realisation led us down a new path that balanced our economic model with our responsibilities as stewards of the land and our obligation to support the economic development of Indonesia and its people.
This resulted in the development of our Sustainability Roadmap Vision 2020 in June 2012, which laid out specific targets and components. The FCP is a cornerstone of the Sustainability Roadmap Vision 2020.
3. Does the Forest Conservation Policy mean for APP?
The Policy represents a significant milestone and progress towards ensuring conservation of Indonesia’s forests. We hope that all stakeholders will recognise the progress we are making and work with us on its implementation. We are very aware that we have a long and challenging journey ahead to ensure that our sustainability commitments are implemented. We cannot succeed alone. We will need the help and support of many of our stakeholders, including those in civil society who at times in the past have been heavily critical of our company. We know it will take time to demonstrate to some that APP is delivering on these commitments, but we are determined to succeed.
1. Do APP produce any pulp from natural forest wood?
Since September 2013, APP no longer accepts natural forest wood into our supply chain. 100% of our fibre supply is sourced from plantation wood and certified wood.
2. How much natural forest has been protected as a result of the FCP?
Following the comprehensive assessments of HCV and HCS across all supplier concessions, we have set aside 21% of our supplier concession land, totalling more than 600,000 hectares, for conservation.
3. What is High Carbon Stock (HCS)?
HCS areas are those where the land contains a high concentration of above ground organic matter, meaning it stores a large amount of above ground carbon. HCS areas are therefore extremely valuable in tackling climate change. The concept was first developed in agriculture industries, like the palm oil industry, where forested areas are converted into agricultural land resulting in a change in the amount of carbon per total area stored within that area.
4. What is the HCS process and what are the steps involved?
The HCS Approach is a methodology that distinguishes between forested areas that should be protected, from degraded lands with low carbon and biodiversity values. In the HCS Approach, satellite, LiDAR and field data are collected and combined to identify potential HCS areas. Thereafter, a Forest Patch Analysis decision tree is applied to determine if an area is designated as HCS.
5. Who carried out the independent HCS assessments?
The HCS assessments were carried out in partnership with the Earthworm Foundation.
6. What are High Conservation Values (HCV)?
The HCV approach was developed by the Forest Stewardship Council and is designed to maintain or enhance six environmental and social values in production landscapes. All natural habitats possess some inherent conservation value, such as the presence of rare or endemic species, sacred sites or resources harvested by local residents. HCV areas are defined as natural habitats where these values are considered to be of outstanding significance or critical importance.
7. What is the HCV process and what are the steps involved?
The HCV approach provides a systematic basis for identifying critical conservation values – both social and environmental – referred to as High Conservation Values (HCVs) and for planning ecosystem management in order to ensure that these HCVs are maintained or enhanced. There are 3 basic steps in the HCV process which are; identification, assessment and monitoring.
8. Is it the case that land can still be cleared if it does not meet High Conservation Value (HCV) or High Carbon Stock (HCS) criteria?
There are six classifications to the HCS method we are applying. In descending order of value, they are: high-density forest, medium density forest, low-density forest, young regenerating forest, scrub and open land. The HCS threshold is set so that scrub and open land can be developed.
9. For HCV 5 and 6 (community) approaches, what will be done by the company?
The primary strategy is the use of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) which engages local communities in the decision-making process about the utilisation of land. We also have robust grievance procedures through which communities can express any concerns they may have. For developed areas, our aim is to ensure that the HCVs are maintained or enhanced, and for communities to have access to those values.
10. Will APP continue to convert degraded or denuded land?
The terms ‘degraded’ and ‘denuded’ have previously been difficult to quantify and can mean different things to different stakeholders. To clarify, APP will only develop areas that are not forested, as identified through the company’s HCV and HCS studies.
11. What is the Integrated Sustainable Forest Management Plan (ISFMP)?
ISFMP process compiles recommendations and data gathered through the various assessments conducted –HCV, HCS, Social Impact, Peat Mapping, and Growth and Yield assessments – to form a management plan for each of our suppliers’ concessions. This process includes an extensive stakeholder consultation process to ensure that their concerns are taken into account in the ISFMP.
12. What is the outcome of rolling out the ISFMP to all 38 suppliers?
The ISFMP for the 38 suppliers were completed in 2016 and several have been approved by the Government of Indonesia. These plans have also been developed into manuals as a guideline for implementation. Based on the first version of the plans, the protected areas in APP’s suppliers’ concessions increased by 15 percent.
1. Precisely how much land/forest are you going to restore?
APP has made an ambitious commitment to protect and restore one million hectares of natural forest in Indonesia. The commitment, which takes the company well beyond its legal conservation requirements, is approximately equivalent to the total area of plantations in Indonesia, from which the company sources pulp fibre. Also, one million hectares is the approximate area of land that we believe requires restoration and/or conservation in the priority landscapes we have identified.
2. How are you proposing to restore it?
Restoration form a part of our Integrated Sustainable Forest Management Plans and will be carried out based on the recommendations of experts, including HCV, HCS, peatland and social experts, and relevant NGOs. To achieve the one million hectare target, we fund specific projects run by the Belantara Foundation - an Indonesian grant-making institution that works to protect the Indonesian landscape by establishing local sustainability projects in areas that are set aside for conservation, reforestation and sustainable community development - and other partners.
3. How will this initiative be funded?
Financing large, landscape-scale conservation programmes at this scale requires substantial, broad based funding and strong multi-stakeholder collaboration. Primary funding from APP alone – although this will be substantial – will not be enough. These forests are of global importance and financing their future is the responsibility of all businesses who benefit from them. We are currently looking at various independent – and transparent – funding mechanisms and will announce more details in due course.
4. Does the commitment include current conservation areas and government-mandatory set asides?
Our commitment is to protect and restore 1 million hectares in the identified landscapes. We are currently working with our partners, including Belantara, and other NGOs to develop a detailed plan of how this will be done.
5. How will APP protect any newly restored areas outside of APP’s concessions from future encroachment? Aren’t they just going to be encroached again?
This is a huge challenge and it is not one we undertake lightly. That’s why we’re emphasizing a multi-stakeholder, cross-sector, coordinated approach. We have consulted relevant stakeholders including communities, concession holders, local government and NGOs. This has resulted in the deployment of various strategies and initiatives such as the Integrated Forestry & Farming System (IFFS) programme and increased monitoring. We’ve strengthened our monitoring of forest change through the use of forest cover alert technology and on the ground monitoring networks of communities.
APP will continue to strengthen its forest protection efforts, particularly through involving communities. APP also is looking into new ways to improve the effectiveness of its patrol, such as improving the patrol routes based on the forest cover data received through MDA, as well as integrating SMART patrol concept to its suppliers’ forest security patrol.
6. What do you see as the biggest challenge in implementing this restoration commitment?
Coordination and engagement will be the biggest challenges. It’s an enormous undertaking and involves a lot of organisations as well as local communities. So, our challenge is going to be management as much as anything else.
1. Will peatlands be restored?
Peat protection can consist of peat rehabilitation – rewetting and managing water levels and restoring the functionality of peat below the surface, and peat restoration – restoring peat vegetation above and improving hydrological capacities below the surface. Rehabilitating and restoring peatlands are some of the most effective ways that APP can protect forests from the risk of fire and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
APP follows guidance from experts including the Indonesian Peat Agency as part of its best practice management of peat to make decisions on which option to choose in specific landscapes. Working with Deltares, APP has completed two LiDAR mapping exercises in 2015 and 2017 respectively covering 5.5 million hectares. We have also built 5,076 perimeter canals dams to rewet and maintain water levels in natural forests adjacent to our suppliers’ production areas. So far APP has retired 7,000 hectares of peatland.
2. Does the FCP mean you will no longer be developing peatland in Indonesia?
The Government of Indonesia has instituted a permanent moratorium on new developments on primary forests and peatlands, which prevents all companies from doing so.
3. Why has APP only retired 7,000 hectares of peatland if all assessments have already been completed?
From the HCS and HCV assessments, APP was able to identify, using scientific data, peatland areas of high worth. The most important of which are in the retired 7,000 hectares of peatland. The retired peatland serves as a testbed for APP to see how various restoration and rehabilitation processes are effective. APP has plans to continue reviewing the data and does intend to retire more peatland.
4. Lack of progress in restoration and trading of degraded peatlands for areas that may have natural forest and community claims. What are your comments?
APP completed a second LiDAR mapping of peatland areas in 2017, which covers approximately 5 million hectares across Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra (Musi) Banyuasin (Muba), Ogan Komering Ilir (OKI)) and West Kalimantan. Following the first LiDAR mapping in 2015, the second mapping provided a more refined grid and higher resolution surface model and water zonation, giving APP a better understanding of the depth and condition of the peat.
APP has also built 5,076 perimeter canals dams to rewet and maintain water levels in natural forests adjacent to their suppliers’ production areas.
In addition, APP retired 7,000 hectares of commercial plantations on peatlands near Berbak-Sembilang National Park in South Sumatra, which are now used to develop knowledge on strategies to restore peat, including on assisted restoration.
APP is working with academics and researchers in finding suitable methods to restore peat forests on a large scale. In collaboration with Gadjah Mada University (UGM), APP has identified 12 species able to grow in peatlands with higher water tables for commercial, restoration and community production (paludiculture) purposes. Four of the species are already planted and monitored in a trial site in Riau.
5. How are you going to deal with peat subsidence on your plantations?
We now have a team of peatland experts who are analysing the situation on the ground both in plantations and natural forest, and we will take their advice, to ensure that we are implementing best management practices for peatland. Additionally, we are focused on the conservation of forested peatlands.
1. What is the SVLK?
SVLK is the mandatory certification of legality for timber products required by the Government of Indonesia. It was developed in part due to the high import standards of the EU as set out in the EU Timber Regulation, but it will cover both timber for the domestic market and for export. SVLK provides assurance to our trading partners, customers, and ultimately consumers that the products we provide are verifiable and meet our nation’s stringent legality and chain-of-custody requirements.
As countries around the world – including the United States, Canada, Australia and the EU – seek greater transparency and accountability, when fully implemented across Indonesia, SVLK will establish a new standard by which Indonesian forest-based products are legally procured and processed.
2. What is the status of APP’s SVLK certification?
APP’s pulp and paper mills were among the first to be SVLK certified under the first phase of the SVLK system. This system creates a more rigorous process designed to ensure the mills only receive and process legally procured timber from legal sources, and that all products exported from the country are traceable to verifiable points of origin.
All eight APP Indonesian mills are certified to SVLK plus pulp sourcing and have been audited by TUV Rhineland, an international Certification Body headquartered in Germany, as of December 2012. All 38 APP suppliers in Indonesia are SVLK certified.
3. Do the Indonesian standards of sustainable forest management, LEI and PHPL, stand comparison with international standards?
APP’s position is to embrace all credible certifications, recognising that each certification scheme has its own set of strict standards to assure certain attributes of the product carrying its seal of approval. Certification is a way for our customers to ensure that they are procuring responsibly produced products. There is a wide range of certifications available in the paper industry, each with its own set of principles and criteria, and each with its own strengths and weaknesses.
APP is also a member of Indonesian Forestry Certification Cooperation (IFCC), an Indonesian forestry certification scheme established in 2011 whose target is to achieve full endorsement by PEFC. Once the IFCC standard is fully developed and endorsed by PEFC. APP’s source of fibre is from 100% sustainably managed forest as certified by PEFC.
4. Does APP have sufficient plantation fibre to meet its existing and any additional pulp mill production capacity?
The Earthworm Foundation and Ata Marie carried out a detailed and comprehensive study of APP’s plantation growth rates and pulpwood yields covering all 38 suppliers’ concessions. The wood supply study found that there was sufficient plantation fibre to supply APP’s pulp mills in Indonesia – including the demand of its new pulp mill at OKI, South Sumatra – through to 2022. The study also provided recommendations for improving plantation productivity, reduce wastage, and to adopt a more integrated Plantation Yield Regulation System (PYRS), which would extend fibre supply beyond 2022.
5. Surely it is better for the planet to have some recycled content
We wholly support the role of recycled content in the global pulp and paper supply chain. Indeed, we manufacture many products with recycled content. However, wood fibre can only be recycled a limited number of times due to degradation, so a source of virgin fibre will always be needed. With the rapid harvest rotation of our forest plantations, APP has a sustainable source of renewable virgin fibre that can ultimately be used as recycle.
6. How long are APP concession rights for this period?
The typical duration for an industrial plantation forest concession permit in Indonesia ranges from 40 to 100 years. When that runs out, the company can request an extension of the license, or can return it to the government.
7. Why do you claim plantation fibre is renewable? It’s not like solar energy or wind power.
Plantation fibre is renewable because we replant trees to replace those that have been harvested. These trees grow very quickly thanks to Indonesia’s tropical climate, so we are able to harvest them at shorter intervals.
8. What are APP’s future land needs?
APP may, in the future, source from new suppliers who have new or established plantations developed from non-forested lands, to augment the wood supply for its operations. These are commercial decisions to be made by APP, and all new sourcing will be expected to comply with the terms of our FCP, the Responsible Fibre Procurement & Processing Policy, and Supplier Evaluation & Risk Assessment.
9. APP sources some of its wood from Open Market Suppliers, which are not under APP’s control. How does the company ensure that these plantations are carrying out unsustainable farming practices?
We require all of our suppliers, both in Indonesia and globally, to comply with the commitments of our Forest Conservation Policy (FCP). To ensure that all global fibre suppliers support responsible forest management, we have developed a Responsible Fibre Procurement and Purchasing Policy (RFPPP) and, with the support of the Earthworm Foundation, a Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) supplier scorecard. In the event of any non-compliance, such as burning, APP will not hesitate to take immediate action to ensure that the company’s sustainable policies are adhered to strictly. In addition, we have a rigorous Supplier Evaluation and Risk Assessment (SERA) to ensure the integrity of our supply chain.
10. How can we be sure that APP will keep to its sustainability promises?
Since 2015, APP has invested over US$150 million in an Integrated Fire Management System (IFMS) to combat fire and haze. Apart from employing over 3,000 firefighters and state of the art firefighting equipment, APP has also initiated the Integrated Forestry and Farming System (IFFS), a programme to educate local communities on modern farming techniques and of the dangers of land clearance by burning. We also plan to continue to engage in such sustainable efforts and work together with our stakeholders to act responsibly.
While these sustainability commitments have required significant investment, APP has benefitted from greater access to markets. We have also been able to spend more of our time looking after the business instead of fending off attacks. On the whole, being sustainable has been profitable for APP, and there is no reason for us to go back on our sustainability promises.
1. What is IFFS?
Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) launched the Integrated Forestry and Farming System (IFFS), also known as Desa Makmur Peduli Api (DMPA) as an agro-ecology program aimed at reducing threats to forests by empowering local communities economically while reducing their dependency on natural forests and by also providing alternatives to traditional slash and burn agricultural practices.
The IFFS program, which was introduced during COP21 in Paris, intends to benefit households in 500 villages that are located within and surrounding APP and its suppliers’ concessions in 5 provinces.
2. Why was the IFFS program developed?
Among the key focus areas of APP’s Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) is improving the people’s welfare as well as maintaining good relationships with all stakeholders, which is achieved through constructive engagement with local and indigenous communities as well as by empowering local residents.
Simultaneously, in implementing the FCP as a whole, APP was facing challenges related to production, environmental and biodiversity management as well as managing the local social dynamics, especially since illegal logging, encroachment and, among many others, traditional agricultural practices, including slash and burn, are still prevalent among local communities.
As such, local residents must be an inherent and vital component in sustainable forest management and APP hopes to achieve that by making them active players through the IFFS program, which aims to be the best practices benchmark for sustainable, community-based forest conservation efforts.
3. What are the goals of the IFFS program?
i. Improving Forest Management and Livelihoods
Improve forest management as well as gain support from local communities and stakeholders for the implementation of APP’s Integrated Sustainable Forest Management Plan (ISFMP). The program also aims to develop the socioeconomic potential of local communities by integrating the use of forest resources and agricultural crops as well as to improve food security.
ii. Participatory Mapping of Resources and Borders
Work with local communities to properly define village boundaries and adjacent forest areas.
iii. Knowledge and Technology Transfer
Establish a knowledge exchange between APP and local communities, including learning about local wisdoms, in order to develop the best solution that ensures a healthy, sustainable environment alongside a productive, growing local economy.
iv. Protecting and Maintaining Forest Areas
Heighten awareness, establishing roles and increasing active participation by local communities in preventing fires, illegal logging, encroachment as well as forest and peat degradation through responsible and productive use of forest resources
v. Resolving and Preventing Local Conflicts
Encourage mutual cooperation; create harmonious relationships as well as constructive interaction channels between local communities and APP (including its suppliers) as a means to mitigate potential misunderstanding, land disputes and conflicts.
vi. Partnering in Product Marketing
Guide local communities in applying marketing techniques in order to expand their existing markets or penetrate new markets for commodities produced through their agro-forestry activities (farming, fisheries, animal husbandry, etc.)
4. Who is the IFFS program targeted at?
The IFFS program is targeted at 500 villages that are located within and around APP and its suppliers’ concession areas in 5 provinces, which are Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, East and West Kalimantan.
5. How are the IFFS program participants selected?
APP identified 799 villages that are located in and around APP and its suppliers’ concessions. From this figure, 500 villages were selected through a mapping survey as they fulfill the priority criteria as outlined for the implementation of the IFFS program.
The priority criteria used in the final selection of the beneficiary villages are:
i. The village is located within or in proximity to concession areas at a maximum distance of 3km
ii. The villagers have a high dependency on forest resources located within concession areas
iii. The villages have a history of fires (forest, bush, etc.) in the last 3 years
iv. The villagers are or have been involved in illegal logging, encroachment or deforestation
6. How much investment is involved in the IFFS program?
APP has thus far committed USD 10 million over the duration of 5 years (2015 – 2020) for the IFFS program i.e. USD 2 million per year.
APP will evaluate the effectiveness of the program at the end of the 5 years and decide thereafter how much more investment will be channeled towards the program.
7. How does the IFFS program work?
Strengthening cooperation between APP, local communities, relevant parties and public
ii. Community Empowerment
Empowering communities economically and socially
iii. Integrated Efforts
Integrating various activities in order to create a more holistic approach that will help the program achieve its key objectives
iv. Market Linkages
Building partnerships between producers i.e. local communities with the market
v. Local Resources Basis
Strengthening and prioritizing the use of local resources.
8. What efforts are involved in the IFFS program?
Implementation efforts of the IFFS program involve 5 key steps, which are:
i. Village participatory mapping
ii. Transfer of knowledge and new technology
iii. Community participation in forest protection and conservation efforts
iv. Conflict prevention and resolution initiatives
v. Business development support to create a more efficient and productive economic environment as well as facilitating partnerships in order to bring products to market
9. Are there monetary distributions in the IFFS program
There are no direct monetary distributions to the participants of the IFFS program as contributions are typically in-kind. Any monetary disbursements are channelled through the village-owned business enterprises or the village trade cooperatives.
10. What are the programs involved in the IFFS program?
Horticulture programs and activities in the IFF program are diverse as it aims to strengthen food security at village levels in addition to enabling an increase in the household incomes of the program beneficiaries. These activities include, but are not limited to:
i. Fruit Farming (papayas, melons, citruses, etc.
ii. Vegetable Farming (beans, spinach, chillies, etc.)
iii. Food Crops (rice, corn, soybeans, etc.)
iv. Livestock Rearing (poultry, goats, cows, ducks)
v. Fisheries (catfish, tilapia)
vi. Home Industries (tofu, banana chips, etc.)
11. What are the expected benefits or the IFFS program?
Among the anticipated impacts and / or benefits of the IFFS program include, but are not limited to:
i. An increase in income and overall economic welfare of the program beneficiaries
ii. An improvement in food security and food inventory in the participating villages
iii. A more harmonious relationship between APP and its suppliers with local communities
iv. Resolution of existing conflicts (both internal and external) as well as being able to prevent new conflicts from occurring
v. Establishment or strengthening of local economic institutions (village-owned enterprises, trade cooperatives, etc.)
vi. An active role played by local communities and village administrative bodies in sustainable forest management and conservation efforts
12. Who are the stakeholders / partners that APP is working with for the IFFS program?
The implementation of the IFFS program is dependent on the consistent engagement with crucial and relevant stakeholders. This includes government agencies and civil societies, especially those operating at village levels. APP also works closely and aims to strengthen its support towards village-level institutions and administrations as well as village-owned enterprises, known as BUMdes, trade cooperatives and farmer groups, known as Gapoktan.
13. What are the challenges faced by APP in the IFFS program?
Among the challenges faced in successfully implementing the IFFS program include:
i. Having to alter the perception by communities towards APP and / or the IFFS program in order to obtain their buy-in before being able to proceed with the program implementation
ii. Developing and strengthening the capacity of the related local communities
iii. Establishing village-level economic institutions to serve as program managers of the IFFS program at village levels
14. What is the support required by APP for the IFFS program?
APP welcomes various types of support from interested partners and / or stakeholders to be implementation partners or supply chain partners to the IFFS program beneficiaries. These may include government agencies, civil societies, academic institutions and private sector, among others.
1. APP is slow in resolving land conflicts with communities despite having its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) in place. What are your comments?
Social and land conflicts are very complex issues and they do require a large amount of time to resolve amicably. APP has categorised eight types of conflicts, of which only four do we have a large influence in resolving. So far, APP has resolved 49% of all identified conflicts. Resolution to conflicts must be thorough and sustainable and these processes cannot be rushed.
2. What is Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC)?
Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC), developed by the NGO Forest Peoples Programme, is the principle that a community has the right to give or withhold its consent to proposed projects that may affect the lands they customarily own, occupy or otherwise use. More information can be found at: http://www.forestpeoples.org/guiding-principles/free-prior-and-informed-consent-fpic
3. How will APP identify social conflict?
Resolving social conflict in and around concession areas covering over 2.6m ha of land is a long and complex process. The first step is to review the current social conflict resolution protocols and procedures and revise them or develop additional ones. The next step is to improve the capacity of APP and APP Forestry Managers to handle social conflict, starting with training on how to better map and categorise conflicts in the supply chain. Only once all social conflict has been mapped and prioritised using a systematic approach and methodology, are we in a position to make informed decisions about where to allocate management resources in order to resolve conflicts.
1. What specific fire prevention measures does APP have in place?
- It is our responsibility as an Indonesian pulp and paper producer to do our part to support the Indonesian government in its efforts to protect natural forests and combat transboundary haze pollution through fire prevention and mitigation initiatives.
- We are committed to maintaining a fire-affected area of less than 2% in our concession areas and those of our suppliers. In 2022, only 0.014% of the total concession areas of our pulpwood suppliers were affected by fires.
- To achieve this, we have implemented an Integrated Fire Management (IFM) system based on global fire management best practices to achieve this target. Through the IFM system, we are able to manage the risk of fire proactively and ensure that any fires that do occur are quickly contained and extinguished.
- Our Fire Prevention and Management Policy emphasizes working closely with our pulpwood suppliers, local community involvement, and relevant stakeholders, based on our approach on global best practices for fire management that comprises four pillars: Prevention, Preparation, Early Detection and Rapid Response. Furthermore, this policy is communicated to all our pulpwood suppliers, local communities and relevant external stakeholders through training and discussions.
- Our Integrated Fire Management (IFM) system, in partnership with multiple stakeholders, consists of four pillars:
- Prevention: The main driver of fires from human activity is rural poverty. Rural communities often rely on slash-and-burn monoculture for survival, which increases the risk of fires growing out of control. Communities are therefore vital partners in the prevention and suppression of fires. Changing deep-seated cultural practices is not easy. One key lever is providing these communities with viable alternatives. By working with communities, APP’s Desa Makmur Peduli Api (DMPA) program works towards identifying root causes of fires, developing and financing customized programs, as well as encouraging alternative livelihoods that help communities transition away from slash-and-burn monoculture towards other livelihoods, including multicropping, fishing, crafts, food manufacturing and processing or even services like retail. This approach has not only reduced fire incidents, but we have also seen its potential to improve household incomes in significant ways. The program has reached 421 villages, 90% of which are now fire-free, or experience reduced incidences of fire.
- Preparation: We have built and continue to invest in training and firefighting equipment. In the last 8 years, we have built and equipped a force of over 2,000 firefighters with fire fighting equipment, vehicles - from fire engines to motorbikes, to shallow draft boats, and even helicopters - to tackle Indonesia’s challenging rural terrain and heavy equipment for the construction of fire breaks. The APP Fire Operations team keeps careful watch over a wide array of weather indicators and predictive models to better anticipate fire risk and we have continued to expand our monitoring capabilities by investing in monitoring equipment and incorporating technology such as thermal cameras and drones. APP also manages its peatlands in line with the Government of Indonesia’s climate targets and approved best management practices.
- Early Detection: While the best method of spotting fires is having eyes on the ground through regular fire patrols, APP also conducts a first-of-its-kind initiative through thermal imaging. The on-ground accuracy provided from this helps pinpoint fires within 50 meters of its ground position, making it quicker for us to relay data to our headquarters and field staff for immediate action.
- Rapid Response: Time is a critical factor in effectively managing outbreaks of fire. For a land area as big as the one we take responsibility for, many of which might not even have developed roads, this has been a key challenge to overcome. APP's rapid response teams are continually improving response and control times. Since 2018, our firefighting teams have more than halved both the average time to arrive on scene after a fire outbreak is confirmed and the time it takes to bring a fire under control. The government has played a key role in allowing companies to go up to 5km beyond their concession boundaries to put out nearby fires to prevent them from spreading and becoming uncontrollable.
This strategy is being implemented in all 40 of APP’s supplier concessions across the provinces where we operate. While we continue to refine the strategy and make improvements in response times, we remain very aware that uncontrolled fires can be unpredictable. No one is able to prepare for and respond to every eventuality, but we are committed to doing our best. We have invested over USD 250 million to date in our fire strategy. Still, we are continuously looking to improve our knowledge of fire risk and behaviour in the context of changing climate, weather patterns and social dynamics. We are undertaking further efforts to employ a science-based approach with the goal of enhancing the actions we take in fire prevention and response.
2. Does your company have a designated team or department responsible for fire prevention and safety?
- We have established, equipped, and trained one of the largest private firefighting forces in the world.
- To maintain the capability of our firefighter personnel, we conducted training for both new employees and refreshment training in 2022. We held 9 classes for all our operational firefighting staff, emphasising prevention activities and cooperation among all related departments, upgraded their skills to meet Quick Response Team qualifications, and set up new training for rappelling qualifications.
3. What types of fire detection systems and equipment are installed in your facilities?
- We use long-range drones for Blanket Monitoring to detect and measure the size of fires and hotspots.
- We also have a fleet of water-bombing helicopters.
- In ensuring equipment readiness, APP periodically evaluates the readiness of supporting equipment and infrastructure and has created fire-fighting standard operating procedures (SOPs) that are regularly updated, including helicopter operations.
4. Are employees and staff members trained in fire safety and evacuation procedures?
- To ensure that both our firefighter personnel and employees remain capable of fighting fires, we conduct training for new employees as well as refreshment training.
- Throughout this training, we emphasized prevention activities and cooperation to upgrade their skills to meet Quick Response Team qualifications. We also set up new training for rappelling qualifications.
- We are also committed to taking proactive measures to protect against the possibility of fires and minimize associated risks in our operations. We have implemented a fire prevention readiness program, which involves training for fire preparedness, regular inspections, and testing of fire protection systems.
- Additionally, we continually invest in enhancing the capacity and skills of our firefighting personnel through the Fire Mills Development Program, aimed at improving their knowledge and competencies. These programs are regulated by the government and reflect our dedication to maintaining a high level of fire safety standards.
5. Have there been any recent changes or updates to your fire prevention strategies?
- Aside from the hotter and drier weather brought by El Nino exacerbating the risks of forest and land fires in Indonesia, we have also faced challenges such as new areas with a history of fire incidents, regaining areas, and limited accessibility in certain areas, which increased the risk of fires in our concessions.
- However, it is even more important that we keep our concession areas safe by taking the necessary measures to prevent and prepare for fires. Hence, to improve monitoring and coverage of wider areas, we increased our fleet of helicopters from 9 to 13 units in 2022, as well as enhanced our medium helicopter capability for water bombing and established inter-regional direct coordination for fire suppression operations.
- Our fire monitoring and Quick Response Teams have been put on high alert since April of 2023 in anticipation of the changing weather conditions brought about by El Nino.
6. Are there any fire prevention initiatives or campaigns your company is involved in within the local community?
- Poverty is often the root cause of deforestation, as traditional ways of clearing land for agriculture often utilise slash-and-burn methods. This is why we work closely with local communities to better understand their needs and priorities so that we can develop programs that will have a positive impact on both the community and the environment.
- In 2015, we launched the Desa Makmur Peduli Api (DMPA) program, which is based on integrated forestry and farming system concepts, to create social value and empower communities while integrating environmental preservation by working directly with efforts to prevent forest fires.
- The DMPA program, which aims to reduce the risk of fire by sharing fire prevention content with an emphasis on environmentally-friendly land preparation and maximizing available land outside the forest area, kept at least 90% of the villages monitored by APP’s fire monitoring program free of fire in 2022.
- By the end of December 2022, the DMPA program benefited over 80,000 people in 421 villages.
- Aside from this, we also partner with local authorities for joint patrols and fire danger socialization in high-risk areas and collaborate with local communities for fire prevention activities.