A report from environmental lobby group Greenpeace has given qualified approval to the work Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) has undertaken to end the practice of deforestation in its supply chain.
Greenpeace’s APP’s Forest Conservation Policy: Progress Review examines APP’s recently implemented forest conservation policy (FCP), which resulted in a moratorium on all natural forest clearance.
Greenpeace, which has been campaigning for APP to change its behaviour for several years, subsequently suspended action against the paper manufacturer.
The report concluded: “Our view, nine months in, is that the company is serious about its FCP plans and its key senior staff are genuinely committed to driving the delivery of these new commitments. The risk of APP again reneging on its promises appears limited at this time.
“However, there have been, and will continue to be, many challenges. Some of these are internal, with a complex corporate structure making delivery sometimes cumbersome across 2.6m hectares of land in Indonesia alone.”
Greenpeace, which led a decade of protests and helped stoke up media coverage so damaging it prompted more than 100 companies, including giants Lego and Xerox, to suspend contracts with APP, stopped short of complete endorsement.
“Several former customers of APP have asked Greenpeace whether they should re-engage it as a supplier. As this review makes clear, there are several encouraging signs about APP’s delivery of its FCP commitments, as well as some outstanding concerns.”
The report suggested companies should continue to closely monitor and engage with the company over its implementation of the FCP. They should seek assurances there would be no further breaches of forest clearance and peatland development moratoriums as outlined in the FCP.
Greenpeace International senior campaigner Phil Aikman said: “APP is moving quite swiftly in some areas and not so in others, partly because they have to hire people to help them deliver. They are being very transparent, but I think they will always have to be monitored and bring in third-party auditors.”
APP managing director of sustainability Aida Greenbury said she was encouraged that Greenpeace’s report recognised progress made to date.
Greenbury said: “We know many years of work lie ahead, but this report has given us additional confidence that we are on the right path as we aim to put a permanent end to deforestation in our supply chain.
“Scrutiny from Greenpeace and other NGOs has been an important driver for us and we hope to continue to work with all stakeholders in this way over the coming years.”
The Greenpeace report highlighted positive steps taken since the launch of the FCP in February 2013. These included: self-disclosure of two breaches of the FCP, action to improve the management and implementation of the FCP and commitment to consulting stakeholders.
The report also raised several challenges for improvements. These included setting out a plan to engage other stakeholders to help address the issue of overlapping licences and share details of remaining challenges on its online monitoring dashboard.
APP should publish a sustainable forest management planning schedule on the dashboard, speed up progress on peatland assessment and management, take input from “credible” experts on conservation plans and increase transparency on work in China.
Greenbury added: “We believe additional scrutiny provided by buyers can only help APP in its continued implementation of the FCP. We believe this level of engagement with customers will send a clear signal to the market that the action being taken by APP is genuine and should be rewarded.”
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To see Greenpeace’s report click here