From Paper Promises to Real Change: Reforming a Global Forest Destroyer

Lindsey Allen headshot By Lindsey Allen

Screen_Shot_2015-02-03_at_3.47.20_PM.pngToday marks two years since Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) abruptly changed course, silenced its bulldozers and announced a groundbreaking Forest Conservation Policy. For decades, the Indonesian logging giant had been one of the globe’s most notorious threats to rainforests and forest communities – taking over and mowing down tens of thousands of acres a year to produce wood pulp for books, copy paper, tissue and packaging.

But after steady years of nonstop pressure from RAN and other groups, we achieved one of the most dramatic shifts in corporate policy ever. APP’s Forest Conservation Policy has the potential to impact millions of acres of some of the most culturally and biologically diverse landscapes in the world — and it would never have happened without the steadfast perseverance of supporters like you. 

So THANK YOU once again! 

But at Rainforest Action Network, we know that promises, especially of the corporate variety, can be broken.

So over the past two years, we have remained vigilant and active behind the scenes, working hard to turn paper promises into real change on the ground. Our goal is not a corporate PR moment, but real positive impact on the lives of local communities in Indonesia, and the protection of crucial habitat for endangered wildlife like the Sumatran tiger, elephant and orangutan. Working with Indonesian and other allies, our efforts have resulted in an improved process for conflict resolution with local communities, a commitment to effectively restore over two million acres of degraded forests, and we are still fighting for improvements and greater transparency throughout APP’s implementation process. 

Just last month, RAN released an in-depth report on APP’s progress. Along with 10 allied organizations – including 9 based in Indonesia – this on-the-ground research consulted 17 Indonesian communities directly impacted by APP – and the results reveal significant policy implementation problems. Our report offers detailed recommendations for how APP can properly address hundreds of unresolved land conflicts remaining in its concessions, Just today the company has released an action plan outlining its response to our concerns and a third party performance evaluation of APP that we helped secure.

While we will continue to hold APP accountable, RAN also directly supports frontline communities living with the historic impact of APP’s deforestation. Our Protect-an-Acre program provides crucial grants that go directly to the local organizations and community groups working on these issues – groups like Yayasan Wahana Bumi Hijau (WBH) which recently supported villagers to successfully negotiate an agreement with APP to return  24,000 acres of their traditional lands  to community stewardship. This story is just one of many, many more – please visit the Protect an Acre site to learn more and to pledge your support directly to the frontline communities that need it most.

Thank you for making this possible – and please help us keep up the pressure in 2015 and beyond.

For the Planet

Lindsey Allen

Executive Director