JAKARTA, 30 September 2013 – Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) today welcomed the signing in Brussels of the EU-Indonesia Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). The agreement between the EU and Indonesia sets common standards of licensing for timber exports to the EU.
When Indonesia’s domestic licensing system for timber formally meets those standards, EU importers will be able to trade with Indonesia in full confidence that they are meeting the EU’s strict due diligence standards on timber legality under the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR).
APP Managing Director for Sustainability Aida Greenbury said: “APP is a strong supporter of the FLEGT process and welcomes the signing of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement. Once it is activated the VPA will provide our customers another layer of assurance of timber legality, giving them a level of confidence in Indonesian timber products that they do not have in any other Asian market.
“APP is currently implementing the most far-reaching forestry conservation plan in its history, which takes us a step beyond legality by freezing clearance of all natural forest. We see our own Forest Conservation Policy as part of a much wider shift towards better global stewardship of forest resources, and the VPA is an important part of this.”
The Indonesian government introduced its Timber Legality Assurance System (Sistem Verifikasi Legalitis Kayu – SVLK) licensing system in 2009 in parallel with the VPA negotiations, and the system is currently subject to an independent assessment of its deployment.
APP as a company has embraced the SVLK verification process. An APP mill was used as a pilot implementation project as early as 2007 and APP has met all deadlines set by the Indonesian government to ensure that all of its facilities are SVLK compliant.
In February 2013, APP launched its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), in which the company committed to an immediate halt to all natural forest clearance. This moratorium remains in place, while a number of assessments are carried out to determine which areas of APP’s suppliers’ concessions are of High Carbon Stock (HCS) and/or High Conservation Value (HCV), all of which will be protected.
Notes to editors
The European Union’s Forestry Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) process was launched in 2005 as a means of ensuring that only legally harvested timber could be imported in the European Union Single Market. The FLEGT system has two important parts:
- The 2013 EU Timber Regulation, which establishes strict due diligence requirements for all traders who place timber or timber products on the EU market to ensure their products have been legally harvested.
- Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs), with which the EU and a third country agree and enforce timber certification and legality standards that are sufficiently rigorous to allow EUTR due diligence requirements for goods from that market to be relaxed.
The EU and Indonesia completed substantive VPA negotiations in 2011 and signed the final VPA on September 30 2013. It will be ‘activated’ when a final review of the Indonesian SVLK licensing system is complete and confirms that the SVLK system meets the standards agreed in the VPA. At that point all covered timber products exported from Indonesia will be classified as ‘FLEGT-licensed’ and will be treated as automatically legal under the EUTR.
The EU is also negotiating VPAs with a range of other markets.
For more information and comments, please contact:
Darragh Ooi, Global Head of Communications
T: (62-21) 29650800
Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) is a trade name for a group of pulp and paper manufacturing companies in Indonesia and China. The APP Group of companies is one of the world’s largest vertically integrated pulp and paper companies, with an annual combined pulp, paper, and converting products capacity of over 18 million tons. APP-Indonesia and APP-China currently market their products in more than 120 countries across six continents. The majority of APP’s production facilities are Chain-of-Custody certified by SVLK, LEI and PEFC.
APP launched its Sustainability Roadmap Vision 2020 in June 2012 and its Forest Conservation policy in February 2013, to further improve its environmental performance, biodiversity conservation, and protection of community rights. More information can be found atwww.asiapulppaper.com