Today marks two years since we launched our Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) and the anniversary is particularly significant as the Rainforest Alliance is publishing its independent evaluation of our progress. I believe this may be the first time that any company attempting to implement ‘zero deforestation’ in its supply chain on such a scale has submitted its programme to independent third party evaluation.
The Rainforest Alliance has evaluated our progress to meet the four commitments outlined in the FCP as well as a range of additional relevant statements. The findings cover the period up to August 2014 and incorporates input from a wide range of local and international stakeholders.
We asked the Rainforest Alliance to undertake this work (report available here) because we recognised that we needed a credible international organisation to verify that we are taking the right steps, identify areas for improvement and to ensure transparency. To that end we have published our FCP Implementation Plan 2015 and beyond which sets out areas for improvement as well as our ongoing implementation priorities.
For APP, this evaluation provides invaluable feedback and it is encouraging to see that in many areas, our progress is acknowledged and verified. We also understand that much more work is needed. In fact, some of the improvement areas the report highlights have also been raised by our FCP team and local, national and international NGOs with whom we work on an ongoing basis.
We believe that an evaluation like this puts a global spotlight on the issues currently at play in Indonesia’s forests. Since 2013, we have been calling for other stakeholders to support us with our Zero Deforestation Policy because forest continues to be lost due to factors that, despite our efforts, we cannot completely control, such as encroachment, forest fires and illegal activities.
Our hope is that this evaluation will raise awareness of these issues in Indonesian landscapes and prompt others, including Government, NGOs and the private sector to collaborate more closely to help tackle them.