Companies that produce the pulp used to make rayon and viscose fabrics clothing profit from clearing and planting monocrop pulpwood plantations on forests and farmlands owned by Indigenous and frontline communities. After decades of campaigning led by Indigenous and frontline communities, fashion companies throughout the apparel supply chain—from Disney to producers like Asia Pulp & Paper (APP)—have made policy promises to eliminate deforestation and human rights abuses. Still, not enough has changed on the ground.
Sign the petition to demand that Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) keep its promises to respect human rights by resolving its conflicts with communities and actively supporting the return of community-owned lands.
I care about where my clothing comes from. I do not want my clothing to be linked to harm to the world’s forests and climate, or violations of human and land rights of Indigenous and frontline communities. I care that no one is hurt, intimidated or arrested for standing up for their rights.I know your company has taken steps to address these issues, including developing a policy designed to eliminate egregious practices, and provide restitution for communities who have experienced harm in the past. I appreciate this first step. Yet change is coming too slowly. I strongly urge you to listen to the voices of frontline and Indigenous communities, and take urgent action to remedy the past harm they have experienced and to prevent future violations of their rights. Prioritizing this action is necessary to living up to your promises, and is necessary to addressing the concerns of consumers across the world. I look forward to seeing swift progress in Lubuk Mandarsah among many other areas, and I will avoid purchasing from companies who buy from APP until there is verified evidence of change on the ground.
This photo shows paper giant Asia Pulp & Paper (APP)’s plantations on the Kampar Peninsula, Sumatra. In 2002, this was pristine rainforest and carbon rich peatlands––one of the biggest carbon sinks on the planet. Today, APP has drained and cleared over 52,000 hectares of forests and peatlands on the peninsula.
Peatlands safely store huge amounts of carbon, but when drained and burned for monocrop plantations, release massive amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change. Deforestation and the burning of peatlands contribute to making Indonesia one of the largest climate polluters in the world.
Photo credit: Wetlands International
“The commitments Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) announced in February 2013 attracted worldwide attention, but the company...is covered in blood and has numerous conflicts in many places…The companies with commitments must respect Indigenous people and their land, and resolve any conflicts. But most importantly, they must ensure that the processes are conducted fairly, and that the community can gain access to the land they claim as their customary land.”
In 2013, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) responded to years of public pressure regarding its legacy of land grabbing and human rights abuses and promised to resolve land conflicts with communities. To date, there are hundreds of community conflicts like those with Lubuk Mandarsah that remain unresolved.
“The community knows that this is their land, even without the support of the government, police, and others. The community took the initiative to occupy the land for their survival because they know it is their right. The community, especially the farmers, know that they will not survive without their land. That is why fighting for their land means fighting for their lives.”
For the people of Lubuk Mandarsah, farming is more than a way of life; it's an act of resistance. Many years ago, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) took the community’s customary land and cut down their farms for eucalyptus plantations. After APP harvested the eucalyptus, community members returned to the land and reclaimed it by planting their crops before APP could replant it with another monocrop pulp and paper plantation.
“As farmers, our only demand to Asia Pulp & Paper is to give us a chance to manage our land. We are not out to get rich, but only to make a living and provide for our grandchildren’s future...Let’s unite our will and strength, because if all farmers unite then nothing is impossible.”
Since 2003, when (APP) first took community land for its plantations, local and regional farmers’ groups have organized to unite farmers to demand their rights and customary land be respected by the company.