Today 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.