Pages tagged "april"

APRIL Makes A Mockery Of Its Own "Sustainable" Forest Policy


Almost six months after the release of its Sustainable Forest Management Policy, Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd (APRIL)—the second-largest Indonesian pulp & paper company—continues business-as-usual rainforest destruction, betraying the spirit and substance of its policy.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported in May that APRIL-owned PT RAPP cleared massive swaths of carbon-rich peatlands on Pulau Padang, an island off the Sumatran coast that APRIL promised to help restore. Members of island community Desa Bagan Melibur have called on APRIL to terminate operations on their community land, and Desa Bagan Melibur’s May 17 protest is the most recent clash in a stark legacy of land disputes between APRIL and Padang’s thirteen villages since 2009.

Pulau Padang’s peatlands store millions of tons of carbon and are home to endangered species and communities that depend on these forests for their livelihoods. You could also say the island itself is endangered: decaying peat causes the low-lying island to subside, and scientists warn that if no action is taken, Padang may very well be under sea level and useless for any type of cultivation by 2050.

APRIL’s forest policy itself is rife with loopholes and allows APRIL to continue slashing natural forests in its concessions through December and source rainforest fiber until 2020. Yet the company’s refusal to uphold even its weak policy commitments brings APRIL’s intentions entirely into doubt. In addition to the Pulau Padang case, earlier this year, APRIL suppliers were caught clearing natural forests on legally protected peat land in Borneo and high conservation value forest on peat land in Riau. In the latter case, not only were internationally protected ramin trees cut down, but APRIL supplier PT Triomas allegedly attempted to hide the evidence by burying the contraband logs.

There is mounting recognition that APRIL’s policy and actions are insufficient and not credible. Last Friday, RAN and an international collation of allies co-authored a letter highlighting the severe shortcomings in APRIL’s policies, such as the lack of a moratorium on natural forest and peat land conversion, unclear commitments on resolving social conflicts, and the policy’s narrow scope, which does not extend to cover APRIL’s sister companies within owner Sukanto Tanoto’s rogue cartel of companies, such as Toba Pulp Lestari, Sateri, and Asian Agri. The letter also points to the inadequacy and questionable credibility of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) APRIL set up to help develop, implement, and monitor the forest policy in a transparent and independent manner.

APRIL’s new policy and the SAC risk being nothing but a parade of environmental lip service built on teetering scaffolds of environmental destruction, social conflict, and corruption. Customers and financiers must cut ties with APRIL and other companies owned by Sukanto Tanoto and pressure APRIL to end rainforest clearing and respect community rights.

TAKE ACTION: Tell APRIL owner Sukanto Tanoto to stop pulping Pulau Padang’s rainforests.

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.

APRIL Misses the Mark with New Forest Management Policy

insetOn Tuesday, Indonesia's second largest pulp and paper company, Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), released an updated Sustainable Forest Management Policy. While this policy is notable, especially given APRIL’s recent suspension from the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD), it falls far short of what is needed for APRIL to clean up its act. It should also be noted that over the years, APRIL has repeatedly failed to meet similar commitments, raising the possibility that this is simply another PR move to alleviate pressure and scrutiny from consumers and NGO’s.

For years, APRIL has been the subject of controversy related to deforestation and human rights violations, due to ethically dubious business practices on the part of both APRIL and its owner Sukanto Tanoto.

Sukanto Tanoto, an Indonesian business tycoon, is also the head of Royal Golden Eagle International (RGE), and has dealings in palm oil and viscose staples fiber (dissolving pulp) as well. This new commitment is rife with policy gaps and, in fact, could allow the continued pulping of rainforests for paper until 2020. APRIL has not committed to stop natural forest conversion until the end of this year, and is continuing to feed its 2 million ton-capacity mill with rainforest fiber. Furthermore, the commitment does not address the fact that April and suppliers have cleared and converted vast areas of high conservation value and natural rainforest, despite these areas being identified as HCVs in need of protection.

APRIL has also omitted any safeguards to prevent ongoing land-grabs and human rights abuses by Toba Pulp Lestari (an RGE-affiliated company) perpetrated on Indigenous people in areas under development. As recently as last week, new protests over land-grabs have broken out near PT RAPP, where APRIL’s massive pulp mill is located.  Local community members are blocking logging trucks to the mill and organizing to resist APRIL encroachment, highlighting the continued non-cooperation with local people impacted by APRIL’s operation.

In order to translate to change on the ground, the commitment must extend to all of RGE and APRIL’s sister companies and suppliers, and must close loopholes on the critical issues of human rights, peatland development and high conservation value forests. Even the commitment itself is murky, as APRIL fails to disclose the most basic information needed to understand what is being promised and assess the company's performance. Transparency and reporting on progress are necessary to ensure that commitments are met.

While, this is a positive commitment, APRIL has yet to undertake a path to true reform. Pulp and paper customers must demand more before considering doing business with any of Sukanto Tanoto's vast network of companies, which still remain entirely unaccountable for the consequences of their actions. In the meantime, the WBCSD should continue high level scrutiny of APRIL's actions until APRIL has proven that it can fully turn its practices around.

Pulp and Paper Giant APRIL Rebuked, Put On Notice

 interiorThe World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a group of 200 international corporations who claim commitments to sustainability, has put APRIL, Indonesia’s second largest and now most destructive pulp and paper company, on notice. APRIL has been placed on probation and the WBCSD will revoke its membership unless it can prove that it has ended its long-standing practices of rainforest destruction. The WBCSD, which counts PepsiCo and Monsanto as members, isn’t your usual advocacy group. It’s essentially a club of large multi-national corporations. To have them find that one of their own is so bad they are expelled sends the unequivocal message that APRIL is a rouge company. It’s also a clear signal to businesses that buy pulp and paper or finance the company that they should sever ties with APRIL as well as the web of companies controlled by Sukanto Tanoto, APRIL’s notorious owner. However, it is unclear whether this condemnation will be sufficient to push an end to the egregious practices of APRIL and its sister companies. RAN worked with WWF and Greenpeace last year to convince the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to disassociate itself from APRIL due to its destructive social and environmental practices. Unfortunately, the FSC action failed to achieve any major changes from APRIL, which is still logging and converting to monoculture plantations an estimated 12,000 acres of rainforest a month, often on land stolen from local communities. APRIL has 12 months to comply with the WBCSD Roadmap, which outlines proposed steps to end forest conversion and to conserve natural forests. If APRIL and its sister companies follow the principles of the Roadmap that the WBCSD has laid out – which include an immediate cessation of logging of rainforests – it will be a good start. But the WBCSD provisions do not go nearly far enough to ensure responsible forestry practices by APRIL. The scope must apply to APRIL and its sister companies and their supply chain partners. Suppliers and their performance must be independently verified. These companies must address the myriad of social issues, land conflicts, and human rights violations that they and their suppliers are responsible for. They must end any further incursions on carbon-rich peatlands. And they must address the legacy of negative environmental and social impacts, properly resolve land and social conflicts, and restore key ecological and hydrological areas that have been destroyed. APRIL has a long history of broken promises, forest destruction, and human rights abuses. Clearing intact rainforests to feed its pulp mills appears to be its key business model, with 60% of its fiber supply coming directly from the rainforest. This is a clear signal from the business community that APRIL’s current practices cannot continue. This must stop now. Twelve months is too long. For years, APRIL has offered only broken promises. Until APRIL can come into compliance with responsible forest practices, even beyond what is outlined in the WBCSD’s Roadmap, companies must cancel their contracts with this notorious forest destroyer. To read the full text of the WBCSD complaint, click here.

BREAKING: Paper Giant APP Moves to Stop Pulping Forests; Now It's APRIL's Turn

Indonesia deforestation_565_350Today is a day many of us only dreamed would come. Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), the controversial paper giant once referred to by the UK Guardian as "one of the most destructive companies on the planet," claims it has silenced its bulldozers and pulled them from the most endangered rainforests of Indonesia. After years of relentless pressure and almost 100 major customer cancellations achieved by Rainforest Action Network and our allies, APP has finally seen the writing on the wall and says it is immediately implementing major environmental and social reforms throughout its operations. APP’s new forest commitment extends beyond lands controlled directly by the company to cover its entire supply base—about half of APP’s paper fiber comes from "independent" suppliers. The company says it will also defer clearing and conversion of natural forests and carbon-rich peatlands while conservation and carbon values are assessed. In addition, the commitment acknowledges the company’s problems associated with land conflict, and recognizes Indigenous and local community rights to land. Given APP’s legacy of broken promises, we maintain a healthy dose of skepticism. Serious concerns remain about ongoing human rights violations and APP's plans for a new mega pulp mill in Sumatra. APP has already deforested an area of rainforest the size of Massachusetts to feed its existing Sumatran pulp mills. Though we welcome APP's new rainforest commitments as a milestone, the hidden story here is the controversial paper giant’s long history of broken promises, land conflicts and human rights violations across its operations. APP will not be seen as a responsible company in the marketplace until its new commitments are implemented and it resolves the devastating rainforest and human rights crises it has caused in Indonesia. Read our official press statement here. But if the company follows through on these new commitments it is hard to overestimate how huge the impact could be for Indonesia's rainforests and communities. APP, Indonesia’s largest pulp and paper producer, and Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL), APP’s biggest competitor, together produce some 80% of the pulp and paper that comes out of Indonesia. With the momentum created by today's historic announcement by APP, now is the time to push APRIL to meet or beat APP’s new rainforest commitments. Can you write to APRIL CEO Sukanto Tanoto and tell him to stop pulping Indonesia’s rainforests for paper? APP has made a significant move and showed that it is possible for a pulp and paper company to commit to preserving, rather than destroying, Indonesia’s precious rainforests, which are some of the most biologically diverse landscapes on Earth, home to critically endangered Sumatran tigers, orangutans, and elephants. APRIL, on the other hand, continues to destroy Indonesia's precious forests and peatlands, wreaking havoc on local communities' rights—and currently has no plans to stop.

 Unless we stop them. APP’s announcement shows what we can achieve together. Help us make the most of this moment and let's finally change business as usual for the paper industry as a whole. It’s time for APRIL to meet or beat APP’s commitments to protect forests and human rights.

10 out of 10! RAN Brings Seismic Shift to US Publishing Industry; Next Stop: APP

Deforestation in IndonesiaWow. You know your brand is in the gutter when even Rupert Murdoch won’t buy from you because of your company’s bad reputation. But few companies have done as much to earn their bad name as Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). Responding to RAN’s campaign, Murdoch’s HarperCollins has just announced they will no longer buy paper connected to rainforest destruction, which means they will not be buying from the likes of APP. This would be major news on its own, but on the heels of Disney’s historic policy announcement to stop using rainforest-destroying paper last October, HarperCollins’ new public commitment signifies a seismic, sector-wide shift in an industry that was recently rife with controversial paper. Just over two years ago, independent fiber tests commissioned by RAN revealed paper linked to Indonesian rainforest destruction in books sold by nearly all top American publishers. Today, all top ten US publishers in the country recognize that customers will not accept books with paper that is connected to deforestation and human rights abuses. This sends an unmistakable message to forest-destroying, community-displacing paper companies like APP and APRIL that consumers are demanding they clean up their acts. Please use your voice to amplify this message by contacting APP right now to tell the company to quit logging precious rainforests to make paper. Rainforest Action Network first alerted the US publishing industry to problems in its paper supply chains in May of 2010 with a report titled "Turning the Page on Rainforest Destruction: Children's books and the future of Indonesia's rainforests". Over the following year, eight of the top ten publishers in the country, including Hachette Book Group, Pearson, and Simon & Schuster, agreed to adopt commitments to stop buying paper connected to the loss of Indonesian rainforests.Deforestation in Indonesia Indonesia is home to some of the most biologically diverse forests in the world, but it also has one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation. APP and its main competitor, APRIL, produce over 80 percent of Indonesia’s pulp and paper and are the main source of controversial pulp found globally. Both companies have caused widespread deforestation and displacement of forest communities from their land. The habitat destruction they cause is a leading threat to the survival of the Sumatran tiger, of which only a few hundred remain So, congratulations! We could not have achieved this milestone without you. And please, help us pile on the pressure by sending an email directly to APP today.  

HarperCollins Paper Policy Under Construction - An Opportunity to Get it Right

This morning I logged onto to HarperCollins' website to check out the company's paper policy. What I found was something different than I'd seen before—just the first paragraph of their previous policy. I suspect that the policy may be under construction as we speak, and if that's the case, I am urging HarperCollins to be a leader by meeting or beating other best in class policies. Luckily, there are many examples within the publishing industry to look to for guidance. Scholastic, Hachette, and Disney all have robust, comprehensive paper policies. Write to HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray now and urge him to get it right. In a letter to HarperCollins' CEO earlier this week, we urged the company to adopt a meaningful, comprehensive, company-wide paper policy with numeric, time-bound goals to a) eliminate controversial sources, b) maximize post-consumer recycled content, and c) give preference to fibers and products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) if virgin fiber or materials are used. HarperCollins’ UK division’s policy, last updated in 2008, incorporates many of these elements, yet they are not present in HarperCollins’ U.S. policy. RAN is looking to HarperCollins to adopt a globally consistent, comprehensive policy. [caption id="attachment_20575" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="HarperCollins Paper Policy Friday 12/14/12"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_20577" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="HarperCollins Paper Policy Tuesday 12/11/12"][/caption] In our letter we also urged HarperCollins to eliminate its use of controversial Indonesian fiber and publicly sever all financial ties with Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL) and their affiliates until key reforms are adopted. While the company stated that it "currently does not do business with APP or APRIL" in a Mother Jones article that came out today, it has not yet answered key questions, such as: Does this commitment includes APP subsidiaries and affiliates, such as Gold East? Given that APRIL is primarily a pulp company supplying paper mills in China and elsewhere, has HarperCollins learned from printers and paper suppliers whether the mills they are purchasing from use pulp from APRIL? Has the decision to stop working with APP and APRIL been communicated to printers and paper suppliers and has this requirement been inserted into all HarperCollins' contracts and purchase orders? HarperCollins looks to be heading in a positive direction—now it has the opportunity to cross the finish line with a robust paper policy, and clarification and strong implementation of its commitments to avoid controversial suppliers APP and APRIL. Hopefully HarperCollins won't be ruining any more Christmases with rainforest destruction in its books.

Attention Holiday Shoppers: HarperCollins is Grinding up Rainforests to Make its Kids Books

Charismatic children’s character Fancy Nancy may be well known for saying that ‘every day is Earth Day,’ but her books have now been linked to one of the world’s most severe deforestation crises. Independent forensic fiber tests commissioned by Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and released today reveal significant quantities of Mixed Tropical Hardwood (MTH) and acacia fiber in the paper of one of HarperCollins’ best-selling children’s books, Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas. MTH pulp is produced using timber logged from the rainforests of Indonesia, home to critically endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger. RAN is calling on its members to contact HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray to tell him they don’t want books linked to rainforest destruction. HarperCollins is owned by Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp. Here's an image you can share on Facebook to alert your friends and family: [caption id="attachment_20546" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Click image to share on Facebook"]Where the wild things aren't[/caption] “No child or parent should become an unwitting participant in rainforest destruction this holiday season,” said Robin Averbeck, a Forest Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network. “It is past time for HarperCollins to sever ties with Indonesian rainforest destroyers APP and APRIL and join its peers like Scholastic, Hachette, and Disney by adopting a comprehensive global paper policy to keep deforestation, tiger extinction and human rights abuses out of its books.” High risk acacia fiber was found in HarperCollins titles including Splat the Cat: The Perfect Present for Mom and Dad and Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past. Experts estimate that 90% of global acacia pulp comes from Indonesia. This acacia fiber is often linked to social conflict related to the conversion of natural rainforests and peatlands into mono-culture plantations. RAN first alerted the US publishing industry to problems in its paper supply chains in May of 2010 with a report titled Turning the Page on Rainforest Destruction: Children's books and the future of Indonesia's rainforests. Over the following year, eight of the top ten publishers adopted commitments to stop buying paper connected to egregious practices leading to loss of Indonesian rainforest, but Disney and HarperCollins did not follow suit. After extensive negotiations with RAN, this past October Disney announced a robust and comprehensive global policy covering the company’s vast array of businesses and licensees. Indonesia is home to some of the most biologically diverse forests in the world—but it also has one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation. The Indonesian government estimates that more than a million hectares of rainforests are being cleared every year. Logging for pulp, along with the expansion of palm oil plantations, is a leading driver of this destruction. Indonesia is now listed as the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, after the US and China. An estimated eighty per cent of its emissions come from the conversion of peatlands and other natural forests.

Victory for Forests: Disney Changes Sourcing On All Its Paper Products, Takes a Stand for Endangered Forests and Animals

[caption id="attachment_20104" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Click image to send a thank you letter to Disney!"][/caption] Today, Disney adds its significant voice to the growing chorus of companies demonstrating that there’s no need to sacrifice endangered forests in Indonesia or elsewhere for the paper we use every day. This entertainment giant, which is the world's biggest publisher of children's books and magazines, has adopted what may be one of the most far-reaching paper policies ever, including groundbreaking safeguards for the climate and human rights. RAN began our Disney campaign in 2010 after lab tests found that its children’s books were printed with rainforest fiber from Indonesia. You might remember the vivid protest where Mickey and Minnie Mouse locked themselves to the gates of Disney's headquarters in May 2011? That risky tactic got the company's attention. Within a week, Disney senior executives flew to San Francisco to meet with RAN’s forest team. Now, after 18 months of productive negotiations, RAN is standing with Disney as the company announces it will eliminate paper connected to the destruction of endangered forests, human rights violations, and the loss of high carbon value forests. In practical terms, this significant new paper policy means that Disney will be eliminating paper connected to the destruction of endangered forests and animals from its extensive operations and those of its licensees; it applies to both the way Disney sources and uses paper, reaching every corner of the company’s business. The policy covers everything from the pages of a Marvel comic book in New York and the copy paper at ABC’s headquarters in LA to the packaging of a Mickey doll sold in Moscow. In the 21st century it is indefensible that any paper still comes from endangered rainforests. And yet, in places like Indonesia, which has one of the most biologically and culturally diverse forests, the pulping of trees for paper is a part of why the country has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. Conservatively, an estimated 2.5 million acres of rainforest are lost in Indonesia per year. Thanks to this policy, Disney will be joining the growing list of major brands that have cut ties to notorious Indonesian rainforest destroyers and paper giants Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings (APRIL). Disney’s commitment will reduce the demand for paper made at the expense of rainforests while creating incentives for improved forest management and green growth. So, just how big is this announcement? For a bit of perspective, consider that Disney products are produced in almost 25,000 factories worldwide, 10,000 in China alone. Disney owns a vast media empire including media networks such as ABC and ESPN alongside studios including Pixar and Touchstone, and is the largest licensor of toys and the largest operator of theme parks in the world. All that takes a LOT of paper—none of which can be connected to the destruction of endangered forests and animals in Indonesia or elsewhere. What excites me most about Disney’s commitment is its depth, affirming that the company will avoid not only tropical deforestation, but also go above and beyond to protect human rights and to recognize the high carbon value of rainforests – two things rarely seen in policies of this kind. Join me in thanking Disney for taking this stand. It is time every company acknowledge that Rainforests are more valuable left standing than being pulped for paper!

Who is Using All the Rainforest?

UPDATE: On October 11, 2012, Disney announced a comprehensive paper policy that maximizes its use of environmentally superior papers like recycled and eliminates controversial sources like those connected to Indonesian rainforest destruction. For more info, visit "We got to wondering...who is using all the rainforest that is being destroyed in Indonesia?" - "Toying With Forest Destruction" video Two weeks ago Greenpeace International released a YouTube video detailing how pulped rainforest trees are ending up in the packaging of toys sold all over the world.  The video begins, "We got to wondering...who is using all the rainforest that is being destroyed in Indonesia?" The sad truth is that the answer to Greenpeace's question is me, you, and probably our friends and family. [youtube pWTKD2zjj5g 550] Greenpeace's investigations revealed that several famous toy companies, including Mattel, Lego, Hasbro, and Disney, are using fiber from cleared Indonesian rainforests in the packaging for Barbies, Cinderella dolls, Transformers, Star Wars games, and more. Two major pulp and paper companies, Asia Pulp and Paper and APRIL, are clearcutting Indonesia's rainforests and replacing them with monoculture acacia plantations to make cheap paper for all sorts of consumer products. Last year, RAN discovered that fiber from Indonesia's rainforests and the acacia plantations replacing them was also ending up in children's books sold in the U.S., and in March we launched a campaign demanding that Disney, the world's largest children's book and magazine publisher, get Indonesian rainforest destruction out of all its paper products. APP and APRIL: Stop destroying rainforests It's absurd that children's books, Barbie boxes and other paper products are driving the destruction of some of the world's most biologically diverse rainforests, and it's infuriating that everyday people are being made into unwitting participants in this travesty.


Join the global campaign to tell APP and APRIL that enough is enough. It's time to stop destroying precious rainforests, abusing forest peoples' rights and fueling climate change.

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