November 8, 2018

APRIL supply chain still tied to HCS forest clearing

(foresthints.news) - Singapore-based pulp and paper giant APRIL is still far from cleaning up its supply chain from deforestation, considering that as of today it is still purchasing acacia fiber from a supplier that continues to clear high carbon stock (HCS) forests in Indonesian Borneo.

The APRIL supplier in question, PT Tanjung Redeb Hutani (TRH), persists in razing HCS forests in its concession spanning the equivalent of almost 190 thousand football fields to expand its pulpwood plantations situated in East Kalimantan’s Berau regency.   

In spite of the fact that APRIL declared its zero deforestation policy in early June 2015, more than 90% of the acacia fiber harvested by PT TRH during 2016-2017 was sourced by APRIL, while deforestation in the concession escalated drastically. 

Even in this year, while PT TRH relentlessly levels its HCS forests, nearly 100% of its acacia fiber stock (data as of September 2018) has been bought by APRIL, which counts PT TRH among the sources of its fiber supply to feed the paper giant’s mill based in Sumatra’s Riau province.

These matters were among the key highlights of a report presented by Greenomics Indonesia in Jakarta (Nov 6) which assesses the level of APRIL’s zero deforestation commitment and its links to Borneo’s vanishing HCS forests. 

“This very clearly proves that APRIL has been unable to detach its supply chain from HCS deforestation practices over the past three years,” Greenomics Executive Director Vanda Mutia Dewi asserted.

The Planet Explorer images below, delivered in the presentation, portray several parts in the concession which include secondary forests (HCS forests) that over the course of this year have been extensively cleared by the APRIL supplier. 

Still driving HCS deforestation

The ongoing engagement between APRIL and PT TRH, which continues to demolish HCS forests to make way for new pulpwood plantations, essentially means that APRIL is still driving HCS deforestation despite its sustainability policy.

“APRIL’s sustainability policy has been shown to be one of the key drivers in the disappearance of HCS forests in Indonesian Borneo through the open market acacia fiber sourcing policy adopted by the company,” Vanda explained.

Using the following Planet Explorer images, Greenomics also demonstrated that in other parts of the PT TRH pulpwood concession, HCS forests dominated by secondary forests have been eradicated in 2017-2018. 

While PT TRH has continued to get rid of large swathes of HCS forests in its pulpwood concession, as depicted in the images above, APRIL has carried on sourcing virtually all of PT TRH’s acacia fiber.

Meanwhile, Korindo is one of the business groups among the major buyers that are sourcing natural forest logs derived from the logging and clearing of HCS forests by the APRIL supplier.

In its response to a report published by a coalition of CSOs in mid-August this year, which included an exposition of APRIL’s purchasing of acacia fiber from another supplier (PT FSS) involved in HCS forest clearing, the pulp giant didn’t discuss this ‘open market’ supplier's association with HCS deforestation.  

Instead, APRIL merely claimed that its acacia fiber supplier (a pulpwood company belonging to the Djarum Group) was not engaged in pulpwood plantation development in high conservation value (HCV) areas.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that APRIL is still keeping its supply chain attached to suppliers of acacia procured from the open market which continue to clear HCS forests for new pulpwood plantation development. 

Nonetheless, APRIL’s President Praveen Singhavi, in the company’s latest sustainability report released yesterday (Nov 7), wrote: “We are an organization that is quietly passionate about sticking to our commitments - it’s the right thing to do, it’s expected of us and it makes good business sense."