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APP discusses issues and multi-stakeholder solutions at 9th Stakeholder Advisory Forum

Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) today held its 9th Stakeholder Advisory Forum to share the progress of its Sustainability Roadmap to its stakeholders, including NGOs, to highlight issues and discuss solutions. At the Forum, APP also reveal the updated goals for 2030, along with an updated Forest Monitoring Dashboard, which is publicly available online. The Dashboard aims to assist interested parties to better track and understand the zero deforestation commitment including forest cover monitoring on protected conservation area within its supply chain. These initiatives are just some examples of APP’s endeavor to be open and accountable.

Many of the allegations presented by Greenpeace today have been previously addressed, including on platforms such as the Stakeholder Advisory Forum. Contrary to these allegations, APP has undertaken no peatland conversion since 2013. It has also been implementing Zero Burning policy across its operations and will continue to do so. This is in line with APP’s commitments under the Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), and in accordance with Indonesian law.

On the subject of peatland, it is unclear which maps Greenpeace is using to conduct its analysis. APP, together with peat expert Deltares, have conducted comprehensive LiDAR mapping of all supplier concessions, including both plantation and conservation areas. The latest mapping was conducted in 2018, which produced highly accurate peat map. These have been shared with the The Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) to be used as the basis in determining critical peat dome that needsto be protected under the new peat regulation.

APP is committed to protect more than 600,000 ha of conservation area and has developed roadmap for restoration of more than 100,000 ha degraded area, which includes critical peat dome for the next 5 years. We are engaging various experts and research organizations to support and assist us on the restoration methodology and implementation. The progress of the restoration is monitored annually. We continue to look for ways to integrate technology to measure the performance of the restored area.

On the subject of fires, APP does not engage in, nor encourage, the use of burning for land clearance. While APP suppliers are prohibited from land clearance by fire, this does not mean that no fires will ever take place within concessions. There are, however, still challenges on the ground due to the complexity of the land use within our suppliers’ concessions. This can include villages located inside and around the concessions.

APP recognizes the risks forest fires and has implemented several programs to address this challenge. APP’s Integrated Forestry & Farming System (Desa Makmur Peduli Api/DMPA) works closely with rural communities to promote sustainable agriculture, educate smallholders on the dangers of fires, and works to address poverty - which is a leading cause of fires - in these communities. So far APP has implemented DMPA program in 335 villages, impacting more than 21,000 households.

APP has also made tremendous progress in building up fire prevention and fire fighting capacity to address the serious problem of seasonal land fires. To date, we have spent more than US$150 million on strengthening our Integrated Fire Management Plan and have trained and equipped a force of more than 3,000 firefighters to help. We acknowledge our responsibility to protect our suppliers’ concessions from the threat of fires. While we still encounter challenges on that front from fires started by other parties, or from encroaching fires originating outside our concessions, we have managed to significantly reduce fire impact on areas under our watch. The result of these efforts enable us to manage the impact of fire to less than 2% of total suppliers’ concession area.

There is no foolproof system. We have encountered lapses in the past and will likely make mistakes in the future, but our willingness to close loopholes and stick to our commitments is clear. APP works closely with local and central government as well as many organizations on conservation, restoration and social projects in order to support the implementation on the ground. This is often challenging work, and we appreciate the effort by partners to work alongside us.

Organizations like Greenpeace play an important part in holding businesses accountable, and their feedback is appreciated. However, creating credible and lasting change requires hard work, approaching these challenges with objectivity and engagement. It is important to focus on the achieved milestones and continuously improve on areas that still remain challenging.

As part of our Sustainability Commitment, APP has implemented a robust grievance mechanism to provide room to address issues supported by adequate evidence. We are more than willing to work together to investigate any allegations thoroughly and take the necessary steps to find the best solutions.

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