2016-03-13

New APP mill must avoid deforestation, Greenpeace warns


JAKARTA (foresthints.news) - Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) has unexpectedly declared that its OKI mill - the pulp & paper giant's new mill operating in Indonesia's South Sumatra province - is to raise its annual production capacity from 2 million to 2.8 million tons. This production capacity increase plan was announced by an APP executive several months into the operation of the new mill.

At an event marking the third anniversary of the implementation of its Forest Conservation Policy (Feb 4), APP had said that its OKI mill would begin operations gradually, not immediately producing its maximum production capacity of two million tons per year. However, without even getting to this stage, APP made the surprise public announcement that it is in fact to ramp up the OKI mill's annual production capacity to 2.8 million tons.

"The plan to boost the annual production capacity of the OKI mill must comply with the commitments already made by APP as part of its forest conservation policy," Yuyun Indradi, Greenpeace Indonesia spokeperson, told foresthints.news on last Sunday (Mar 6) in Jakarta.

“If the increased annual production capacity entails using raw materials sourced from pulpwood plantations, we would say go ahead. However, what concerns us is whether APP is going to remain in compliance with its forest conservation policy or not. APP's zero deforestation policy explicitly states that the company will not contribute to deforestation and will not use raw materials sourced from natural forests," Yuyun stressed.

"That’s not all – APP is also still bound by its commitment to restore peatlands,” he added.

Yuyun also emphasized that it is essential for APP to explain how it plans to go about fulfilling the proposed 2.8 million ton annual production capacity of its new mill.

The Greenpeace spokesperson went further still, explaining that APP would then also have to say from where it is going to source the fibers it plans to use.

Meanwhile, WWF has raised serious doubts as to APP’s ability to ensure that the new mill’s operations don’t impinge on any natural forests. The conservation organization is genuinely worried that APP may revert to its former destructive forest practices.

With regard to the planned production increase of the OKI mill, APP has gone on record as stating that the mill's operations will fully comply with its forest conservation policy, in particular by not using fibers derived from natural forests, converted peatlands or from sources which violate community rights.