JAKARTA Feb 5 One of the world's biggest pulp
and paper companies said it would stop using timber from
Indonesia's natural forests and only use trees from plantations
in a drive that an environmental group said may be a milestone
if the company keeps its promise.
Tropical Indonesia is seen as an important country in the
fight against climate change and is under international pressure
to stop rampant deforestation and destruction of carbon-rich
Jakarta-based Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP), long accused by
environmental groups of plundering Indonesia's rain forests,
said it would not use any timber from suppliers that has been
cut in natural forest concessions, nor would it cut timber from
its own such concessions, under measures it adopted on Feb. 1.
"Only plantation forest," Aida Greenbury, managing director
of sustainability at APP, told Reuters on Tuesday.
An independent company and member of Indonesia's Sinar Mas
brand, APP is a major supplier of paper, pulp and packaging in
Asia but been it has been regularly criticised over the years
for its clearing of forests.
The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) recently urged
HarperCollins, a division of News Corp, not to do
business with APP after tests showed that some children's books
were printed with rainforest fibre.
Teguh Ganda Wijaya, chairman of the APP Group, said in a
statement the company was changing its ways in the interests of
"This is a major commitment and investment from APP Group,"
Wijaya said. "We are doing this for the sustainability of our
business and for the benefit of society."
Green groups welcomed the APP's plans but were cautious.
"Though we welcome APP's new rainforest commitments as a
milestone, the hidden story here is the controversial paper
giant's long history of broken promises, land conflicts and
human rights violations," Lafcadio Cortesi, Asia director for
RAN, said in a statement.
"APP will not be seen as a responsible company in the
marketplace until its new commitments are implemented and
resolve the devastating rainforest and human rights crises it
has caused in Indonesia."
PRESSURE FROM PALM OIL
Forests in the archipelago are also being cut for an
expanding palm oil industry, which green groups blame for
speeding up climate change and destroying wildlife.
Palm oil giant Sinar Mas Agro Resources & Technology, or
SMART also operates under the Sinar Mas brand, and was
accused by Greenpeace in 2010 of bulldozing high
conservation-value forests and damaging peatlands.
SMART's parent firm, Golden Agri Resources, then agreed to
adopt green policies in collaboration with the Forest Trust, a
group that promotes green business. SMART has since won back
customers like Nestle and Unilever.
Faced with international concern over its disappearing
forests, Indonesia's president signed a two-year forest
moratorium in May 2011, although critics say breaches still
But companies were allowed to continue cutting in
concessions awarded before the moratorium was announced.
Last year, Greenpeace said it had evidence that Barbie doll
packaging came from Indonesian rainforests, accusing toy
manufacturers such as Mattel Inc and Walt Disney
of contributing to deforestation.
APP is also linking up with the Forest Trust which said the
company's commitment could be a "watershed in the fight against