WWF concerned APP will revert to old ways

JAKARTA (foresthints.news) - Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) plans to increase the annual production capacity of its new OKI pulp mill from 2 million tons to 2.8 million tons, the Bisnis Indonesia daily reported recently. The new mill is one of the largest in the world and is due to commence operations at the end of the year.

"We are not convinced that the raw material supply for the OKI mill will be sufficient. Even before it was announced that the annual production capacity of the new APP mill would be increased, we already had serious doubts as to whether there would be an adequate fiber supply. Our doubts are greater than ever now that APP plans to increase the mills production capacity," Aditya Bayunanda, WWF-Indonesias Forest Commodities Market Transformation Program leader, told foresthints.news on Monday (Mar 7) in Jakarta.

Aditya acknowledged that a study had been conducted on the adequacy of fiber supply to the OKI mill up to 2020. However, he pointed out that the study had been conducted by APP-appointed consultants. Further, he said it had been conducted prior to last years forest and peat fires that destroyed hundreds of thousands of hectares of APP's pulpwood plantation concessions in South Sumatra.

"They always claim that if indeed the supply turns out to be inadequate, they will make up the shortfall through imports. However, importing acacia is not that simple. Its not as if there is a ready stock stashed away somewhere. Its not easy to import acacia, especially in large quantities," said Aditya.

During an event in early February to mark the third anniversary of APP's Forest Conservation Policy, the company said that importing fiber supply would be the last option for meeting the fiber supply needs of the OKI mill. APP said that it would be reluctant to turn to imports and would instead focus on fiber supply sources in Indonesia.

"Frankly, I have concerns that APP will go back to its old ways and resort to pillaging our natural forests to supply fiber to its new mill," Aditya said.

He urged all stakeholders to be aware of APP's plan to increase the OKI mills annual production, and in particular the companys failure to clearly and quantifiably identify where its long-term fiber supply would come from.

Still in process

APP's head of communications, Randy Salim, told foresthints.news on Monday (Mar 7) that a permit for an increase in the OKI mills annual production was still in process.

Randy said that even after the production increase, the OKI mills operations would strictly adhere to APP's zero deforestation policy and that the mills fiber supply would not be sourced from natural forest clearance, peat forest conversion or sources that could result in violations of community rights.

He said that APP would focus on increasing plantation fiber supply, such as by enhancing growth and yield, and improving the efficiency of harvesting and transportation operations.