Pages tagged "app"


Brutal Murder in APP Plantation

Underlines the need to understand and address severe land conflicts and the disconnect between policy commitments and real change on the ground.

Last Friday afternoon, February 27th, Indra Pelani, a 22 year-old from Lubuk Mandarsah village, Nick Karim from Simpang Niam village, and a member of WALHI, a Indonesian environmental group, attempted to pass through a gated checkpoint on a road which cuts through an Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) acacia plantation in the district of Tebo, Jambi Province, on the island of Sumatra. Indra and Karim were on their way to to join a rice harvest and festival.

According to witnesses, several company security guards set on Indra, a prominent farmers’ union member, beat him brutally about the head and ignored pleas from others to stop. According to witnesses, while Nick ran to get help and call the police, Indra was abducted by the guards. By the time Karim returned with roughly 30 villagers a short time later, Indra was missing and the security officer on duty denied knowing anything about the incident.

Police in Tebo district were alerted and conducted a search Friday evening. Indra's body was discovered the next day in a swamp, roughly 400 meters from the road. Indra's feet and hands were bound with rope and his mouth stuffed with a t-shirt. His body showed signs of severe beating. After his body was taken to a hospital, a preliminary examination showed that Indra had been further brutalized and stabbed and is presumed to have died from the injuries.

This tragic incident occurred on the eve of a planned meeting of stakeholders with APP in Jakarta. The meeting was to review APP’s implementation of its public commitments to obtain Free, Prior and Informed Consent from local communities for new plantation developments, resolve land conflicts and provide remedy for past land and human rights violations. Given the current situation, Forest People’s Programme, RAN, Greenpeace, and other civil society representatives have suspended participation in APP’s stakeholder meetings until this case has been satisfactorily investigated and addressed. As of now, APP has responded by publicly condemning the murder and suspending employment of all suspects, pending further investigation.

APP is a company with a long track record of driving deforestation and social conflict through its expansion of pulp plantations across Indonesia. Under growing international pressure, in 2013 the company committed to reform itself through the adoption of new policies to uphold human rights and to halt further deforestation in its operations. Since the announcement of its new policies, APP has begun presenting itself as a global leader in social and environmental responsibility. This incident tragically underscores the disconnect between good intentions reflected by APP’s policy pronouncements and the realities of how communities are treated at the hands ofthe company and its contractors on the ground. It is now clearer than ever that in order to break the link between commodity production and human rights violations it will take much more than a new policy in order to transform the company culture.

Land conflict and human rights violations are widespread across not only APP’s concessions, but those of its competitor APRIL, and indeed many if not most pulp and oil palm plantations. This is due in large part to failures in government policy and poor forest governance as well as corruption and irresponsible action by the private sector. APP must not only work with authorities to secure justice for Indra Pelani and his family, it must prioritize changing the culture and behavior of the company, its suppliers and contractors at the field level and improve and scale up its efforts to resolve conflicts, meaningfully involving affected communities, civil society and government. Addressing the broader legacy of land conflict in Indonesia and preventing conflict in the future is going to require widespread reforms by both government and the private sector and robust engagement with and leadership by communities and civil society.

Customer and investors linked to conflict commodities have a vital role to play not only by prioritizing human rights and establishing and implementing safeguards, but also by actively engaging directly with the companies with whom they have relationships on these issues, requiring changes on the ground as a condition of business and by encouraging government reform and action. This tragic incident is a wake up call for paper and palm customers and investors about the importance of including strong human rights safeguards and reform expectations in their purchasing requirements, verification efforts and discussions with governments.

On March 9 2015 APP took a tangible first step in addressing its role in Indra Pelani’s murder. The company is suspending operations in the area and is disengaging with the security contractor involved in the case.


Death of Community Member in Sumatra Places Asia Pulp and Paper’s Social Responsibility Commitments in Question

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Indra's burial site. Photo by Walhi

Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has recently learned of the tragic news that on Friday, February 27, 2015, Mr Indra Pelani, a resident of Lubuk Mandarsah village in Tebo district, Jambi Provine, Sumatra and a member of the Sakato Jaya Farmers’ Association, was found dead. According to local civil society groups and newspaper reports,  the security forces of Asia Pulp and Paper are reported to have resorted to the brutal beating, abduction and extra-judicial killing of Mr Indra Pelani a leader in the local farmers’ union. 

RAN mourns the loss of Pak. Indra, an effective advocate for farmer and community land rights, and stands in solidarity with his family and community that have suffered this tragic loss. RAN condemns those that took part in this reprehensible act of violence, and  the long-standing history of disproportionate and unjustifiable force used by APP’s security forces. We call on APP to fully collaborate in an immediate, impartial and inclusive investigation which should include the local government, local community, NGOs, the National Forest Council (DKN) and the  National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM). Furthermore APP must give every assistance to local authorities to ensure the criminal prosecution of all persons accused of these crimes. In addition, APP should suspend all staff from the security units implicated in this case and take steps to ensure they do not collude in destroying or fabricating evidence.

While we are encouraged that APP has suspended the security guards implicated in this case, Pak Indra’s tragic killing bolsters doubts about the seriousness of APP’s commitment to respect human rights and resolve social conflict and underscores the urgent need for APP to work with communities, civil society and government to improve and scale up how it is addressing the pervasive social and land conflicts found across its concessions.

A more detailed report of the event is available, here.

 

Information about the conflict in Lubuk Mandarsah and APP’s performance in meeting its social responsiblity commitments are included in the following report, located here.


Mongabay: Forestry giant's zero deforestation commitment put to test

"An independent audit of the world’s largest pulp and paper producer found that the company had achieved a wide range of results in meeting promises to end deforestation and resolve conflicts with forest communities. 

In 2013 Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) announced its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), which included a pledge to end deforestation among its suppliers, improve communication and conflict resolution with forest communities, protecting peatlands, and sourcing fiber only from responsible suppliers."

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE


Rainforest Action Network Responds to Rainforest Alliance Evaluation of Asia Pulp and Paper’s Progress With Its Forest Conservation Policy Commitments

Third party evaluation finds little evidence of changes on the ground and APP’s “Action Plan” must be implemented, improved, verified and include stakeholder input prior to customers engaging in business with the company

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Emma Rae Lierley, 425.281.1989, emma@ran.org

 

San Francisco, CA -- On the 2nd anniversary of Asia Pulp and Paper’s (APP) Forest Conservation Policy commitments (FCP), an evaluation of APP’s progress by the Rainforest Alliance (RA) suggests that the company has put “the building blocks in place but considerable additional work is required to fully implement the FCP commitment.” This finding corresponds to the finding from a report by a coalition of Indonesian and international NGOs published in January that said “Although the company has put a host of building blocks in place to implement its commitments, in most cases, changes have yet to reach the ground... where many practices remain the same as prior to APP’s announcement of its FCP.”

Responding to the release of the Rainforest Alliance evaluation and APP’s Action Plan, Rainforest Action Network’s Lafcadio Cortesi issued the following statement.

“Despite APP’s response to the Rainforest Alliance evaluation in the form of an ‘Action Plan,’ RAN’s conclusion is that it’s still too soon to resume business with APP. APP needs to implement its FCP policy, the new Action Plan and address the findings and gaps found in the evaluation and joint NGO report in a way that demonstrates satisfactory and verifiable positive progress on the ground. 

“For example, Rainforest Alliance’s evaluation finds that there are hundreds of land and social conflicts remaining in APP’s land bank and that resolution agreements have only been reached with one community. Further, the Rainforest Alliance evaluation finds that it is too early to evaluate if APP’s Integrated Sustainable Forest Management Plans (ISFMPs) will deliver measurable landscape level conservation because none of these plans have been developed or implemented yet. Without these plans - which are the linchpin in APP’s conservation strategy - and without scaling up conflict resolution efforts and effectively involving communities and other key stakeholders in developing conflict resolution action plans and agreements, significant risk remains that APP’s commitments may not be met and have positive impact on the ground. 

“Another troubling and unexpected finding of the RA assessment is that there was widespread and ongoing clearance of remaining natural forests - including High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) areas - by third parties in ‘every APP supplier concession visited by the Rainforest Alliance.’ Further, ‘Based on field evaluation and interviews, recommendations from the HCV assessments have not been implemented, and HCS area recommendations are not yet in place at the field level. The ISFMPs, which are the delivery mechanism for these recommendations are at a very early stage.’  

“APP needs to stop nickel and diming local communities and the environment. To scale up conflict resolution and prevent further deforestation by third parties taking place in the remaining natural forests in their concessions, the company will need to address land and income equity issues. APP must give back more of the land it is currently using for pulpwood plantations so that some of the main drivers of the deforestation and conflict -- namely, lack of land to meet community livelihood needs and failure to address land claims -- can be addressed.

“Although APP’s current Action Plan represents a start in addressing core issues and gaps, the Action Plan still lacks specificity and, as with action plans relating to conflict resolution and deforestation by third parties, it fails to involve or incorporate input from affected communities and other key stakeholders.

“There’s still a long way to go before we see satisfactory change on the ground for communities and forests affected by APP’s 30-year legacy of adverse social and environmental practices. To say that there has been ‘moderate progress,’ as Rainforest Alliance has stated in several sections of the evaluation, is to ignore the fact that hundreds of land and social conflicts, as well as significant loss of natural forests, continue in APP’s land bank. It’s simply too soon to tell the extent to which APP will follow through on its social responsibility commitments. And, because the company’s implementation has significant gaps, lacks transparency and is still at an early stage, there is a clear need for continued and ongoing independent monitoring and verification of the company’s performance.

“RAN believes that if investors and customers demand verified performance and results on the ground before resuming business with APP, it will provide powerful motivation for APP to improve and implement its Action Plan and Forest Conservation Policy.”  

 

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New Report Finds Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) Lagging on Social Responsibility Commitments; Provides Recommendations for Improvement

On-the-ground interviews with 17 affected Indonesian communities reveal policy implementation problems while hundreds of unresolved land conflicts remain

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Laurel Sutherlin, 415 246 0161, laurel@ran.org 

San Francisco, CA – A field-based survey to investigate Asia Pulp and Paper’s (APP) performance, provide input into an evaluation of APP’s progress on fulfilling its social responsibility commitments, and make recommendations to the company finds little on-the-ground evidence to date that APP is taking sufficient action to resolve land conflict issues.

With the exception of progress in two communities where it is piloting conflict resolution approaches, there has been little change for communities embroiled in land disputes with the company. Hundreds of land conflicts remain and APP has been failing to involve affected communities and other key stakeholders in the identification, analysis and resolution of these conflicts.

The study, which was initiated by a coalition of Indonesian and International NGOs and community-based organizations, conducted interviews with village leaders and community members from 17 communities impacted by APP and its affiliates. Communities were visited in the Indonesian provinces of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan and East Kalimantan between May and September 2014, including visits to  three APP concessions where the company has initiated conflict resolution pilot projects.

APP’s 30-year legacy of adverse social and environmental impacts from its widespread deforestation and pulp plantation expansion across Indonesia is well documented.  Following decades of public criticism, community opposition and pressure from its customers and investors, in February 2013 APP announced a much-welcomed new Forest Conservation Policy, which sets out the companies commitments to reform its forestry practices and to address its legacy of land grabs and human rights violations, climate pollution, deforestation, and wildlife habitat destruction across its 2.6 million hectares of concessions.

The study is a contribution towards ongoing independent monitoring of the company’s performance. The study was submitted to an evaluation of APP’s progress against its Forest Conservation Policy Commitments being conducted by the Rainforest Alliance. 

Commenting on the coalition’s findings, Patrick Anderson from Forest Peoples Programme said:

“APP still has a tremendous amount of work to do before we can say that their commitments are yielding satisfactory remedies to conflicts on the ground. We’re very concerned that at least one of the the two land conflict agreements that have been reached did not follow all the requirements in APP's policy on respecting community rights and that there are many hundreds of conflicts with communities remaining to be resolved. APP is still failing to effectively involve communities and other key stakeholders in developing action plans and efforts to scale up its conflict resolution. If the situation doesn't change, we’re concerned that the company’s efforts will not secure durable and equitable agreements  at scale.”

Aidil Fitri, campaign director at Wahana Bumi Hijau stated that “our research on APP’s implementation of its Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) commitment relating to the new Oki Pulp Mill, one of the world’s largest, finds that the company has not gotten FPIC from at least one rights holding community and that the company has started construction of Oki Pulp Mill before the FPIC process was completed. We see this as a clear violation of FPIC and the company’s own policy.”

“If APP wants to regain the trust and business of customers and investors, it must improve transparency, work more effectively with stakeholders and prove that it has sufficiently implemented its commitments to a  point where it can demonstrate widespread and positive impacts on the ground,” said Lafcadio Cortesi of Rainforest Action Network. “Because the company’s implementation is still at an early stage, there is a clear need for continued independent monitoring and verification of the company’s performance. In order for APP to scale up  conflict resolution and prevent further deforestation in the remaining natural forests in their concessions, the company will need to give back more of the land it is currently using for pulp wood plantations to meet community livelihood needs and land claims.” 

“Our report provides detailed recommendations for how APP can address current problems and how it can ensure that the foundation that it has established leads to positive outcomes for communities and forests and delivers the results it has promised. The study suggests to buyers and others that it’s still too soon to tell whether APP’s promises will become a reality,” Cortesi said.

The full report, available to download here: http://www.ran.org/app_performance_2015, includes a table outlining the research findings from each community, and the executive summary and recommendations, available to download here: http://www.ran.org/app_performance_2015_summary, provides an overview of the full report’s findings and detailed recommendations of improvements APP can make.

For a Bahasa Indonesia translated version of this press release, download one here: 

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Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit:www.ran.org






Constant Conflict? Unresolved Land Disputes Still Haunt Asia Pulp and Paper

On-the-ground interviews with 17 affected Indonesian communities reveal policy implementation problems while hundreds of unresolved land conflicts remain

Nearly two years after Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) made groundbreaking commitments to transform its notoriously destructive business practices, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has partnered with one international and nine local Indonesian allies to produce a report that documents the company’s performance in meeting its social responsibility promises. Recent on-the-ground research in 17 Indonesian communities affected by APP reveal significant APP policy implementation problems, and hundreds of unresolved land conflicts remaining in APP’s concessions.

APP’s OKI Mill, one of the largest mills in the world, under construction before community Free, Prior and Informed Consent obtained:

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Asia Pulp and Paper is recognized as one of the world’s foremost forest destroyers due to its 30-year legacy of egregious  social and environmental impacts resulting from its insatiable acquisition of land and conversion of diverse rainforests to monoculture pulp plantations across Indonesia.

Following decades of public campaigning by RAN and allies, widespread community opposition and pressure from its customers and investors, in February 2013 APP announced a much-welcomed new Forest Conservation Policy. The policy sets out the companies commitments to reform its forestry practices and to address its long history of land grabs and human rights violations, climate pollution, deforestation, and wildlife habitat destruction across its 2.6 million hectares of concessions.

Our study is a contribution to ongoing independent monitoring of the company’s performance. The study was submitted as input into an evaluation of APP’s progress against its Forest Conservation Policy commitments being conducted by the Rainforest Alliance.

The community based research at the core of this report were part of a field based survey to investigate Asia Pulp and Paper’s (APP) performance, provide input into the evaluation of APP’s progress on fulfilling its social responsibility commitments, and  recommendations to the company. The study finds little on-the-ground evidence to date that APP is taking sufficient action to resolve land conflict issues.

With the exception of progress in two communities where it is piloting conflict resolution approaches, there has been little change for communities embroiled in land disputes with the company. Hundreds of land conflicts remain and APP has been failing to involve affected communities in giving free, prior and informed consent to new projects or  involving affected communities and other key stakeholders in the identification, analysis and resolution of land  conflicts. Given how far the company still has to go to demonstrate and verify that satisfactory changes and remedies are happening on the ground, it’s still too soon for pulp and paper customers or investors to resume business with APP. The study suggests that potential business partners must scrutinize APP’s performance and require demonstrable and independently verified social and environmental outcomes from the company as a prior condition of business.

 The study, which was initiated by a coalition of 11 Indonesian and International NGOs and community-based organizations, conducted interviews with village leaders and community members from 17 communities impacted by APP and its affiliates. Communities were visited in the Indonesian provinces of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan and East Kalimantan between May and September 2014.

Commenting on the coalition’s findings, Patrick Anderson from Forest Peoples Programme said:

“APP still has a tremendous amount of work to do before we can say that their commitments are yielding satisfactory remedies to conflicts on the ground. We’re very concerned that at least one of the the two land conflict agreements that have been reached did not follow all the requirements in APP's policy on respecting community rights and that there are many hundreds of conflicts with communities remaining to be resolved. Currently APP is failing to effectively involve communities and other key stakeholders in developing action plans and efforts to scale up its conflict resolution. If the situation doesn't change, we’re concerned that the company’s efforts will not secure durable and equitable agreements needed at scale.”

Aidil Fitri, campaign director at Wahana Bumi Hijau stated that “our research on APP’s implementation of its Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) commitment relating to the new Oki Pulp Mill, one of the world’s largest, finds that the company has not gotten FPIC from at least one rights holding community and that the company has started construction of Oki Pulp Mill before the FPIC process was completed. We see this as a clear violation of FPIC and the company’s own policy.”

“If APP wants to regain the trust and business of customers and investors, it must improve transparency, work more effectively with stakeholders and prove that it has sufficiently implemented its commitments to the point where it can demonstrate widespread and positive impacts on the ground,” said Lafcadio Cortesi of Rainforest Action Network. “Because the company’s implementation is still at an early stage there is a clear need for continued independent monitoring and verification of the company’s performance. In order for APP to scale up the resolution of land conflicts and prevent further deforestation in the remaining natural forests in their concessions, the company will need to give back more of the land it is currently using for pulp wood plantations to meet community livelihood needs and land claims.”

“Our report provides detailed recommendations for how APP can address current problems and how it can ensure that the foundation that it has established leads to positive outcomes for communities and forests and delivers the results APP has promised. The study suggests to buyers and others that it’s still too soon to tell whether APP’s promises will become a reality,” Cortesi said.

The full report, available to download here, includes a table outlining the research findings from each community, and the executive summary and recommendations, available to download here, provides an overview of the full report’s findings and detailed recommendations of improvements APP can make.

 


Publisher's Weekly: Asia Pulp and Paper Tries to Recast Its Image

'The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has been one of APP’s most vocal critics. Lafcadio Cortesi, of RAN, said that though APP has made important improvements in its environmental and social commitments, “It still has a long way to go.” He noted that APP has stopped clearing and using natural rain forests for pulp and paper, even putting additional staff and systems in place to implement reforms, but it has yet to address ongoing land conflicts and the harmful legacy of past operations. “The willingness to undertake reform that senior management has displayed has, in many cases, yet to be reflected in the field,” Cortesi said. “Given APP’s history of broken commitments and the enormity of the challenges that still remain, the company must verify that substantial changes have indeed taken place on the ground in order to avoid its products being considered controversial and high risk in the marketplace.”'

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE


Publisher's Weekly: Publishers Making Progress on the Environment, RAN Says

'In its first comprehensive report in four years, the Rainforest Action Network has given 10 leading children’s book publishers generally high marks for the actions they have taken to protect the Indonesian rainforest and other endangered forests. According to the report, RAN’s analysis of recent data from the 10 publishers’ American divisions, “suggests a progressive trend in a sector, that while still in transition, is demonstrating a strong commitment to social and environmental responsibility.”'

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE


Mongabay: Publishing industry dramatically reduces reliance on rainforest fiber

"The world's largest publishing companies have adopted policies that significantly curtail use of paper sourced from rainforest destruction and social conflict, finds a new assessment published by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN)."

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE


A New Chapter for the Publishing Industry: Putting Promises into Practice

pubreport_720x720We don’t get to do this as often as we would like. Today, we get to share some good news with you. Thanks to your hard work and support over the past four years, the world’s top publishers are moving in the right direction when it comes to eliminating rainforest destruction, human rights violations, and species extinction from their supply chains.

We’re publishing A New Chapter for the Publishing Industry: Putting Promises into Practice today, which outlines the shift in the entire sector as the implementation of publishers’ Indonesian forest commitments proceeds. Given the progress that publishers have undertaken in the last four years (since our 2010 report), we can confidently say that you have successfully prodded the 10 biggest publishers—and hence the whole industry—in the right direction. Click here to read the new report.

To really illustrate the point, we are pleased to tell you about two recently announced paper policies from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Macmillan. These policies go farther, in many ways, than past commitments from other companies. They demonstrate a new level of thoughtfulness and attention to detail—and a fierce commitment to eliminating controversial fiber and suppliers in order to protect the forests facing the greatest threats. Over the last four years, RAN has worked closely with publishers to develop and innovate the best practices for eliminating controversial fiber and suppliers from supply chains, and verifying and implementing forest commitments. What has emerged is a set of best practices (spelled out in the report) that could guide companies--not just in paper but in many forest commodities--in tracing their supply chains and protecting forests in the process. Of course, there’s still work to be done.

In order to translate this work to change on the ground, publishers should urge all of their supply chain partners to develop and implement strong, comprehensive paper policies. And, in particular, all companies should either stop buying (or maintain their no-buy stance) on controversial Indonesian pulp and paper giant APRIL and all affiliated companies.

RSVP to join me in a chat on May 27, 2014 to find out how you can help us keep publishers on the right track or to read the report here.

Of course, this transformative work would never have been possible without you. While much of this work has happened behind the scenes, you were with us every step of the way through your commitment to RAN and its work.


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