Forest campaigner Daniela Montalto assesses APP's latest attempts to convince everyone that it really does like trees. Honestly.
It didn't take too long for the notorious rainforest destroyer Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) to make another desperate attempt to distract from the facts. This is not the first report that lacks credibility commissioned by industry apologists at APP this year to persuade customers of their sustainability claims, and they're getting worse at it.
Today, George Monbiot described the latest failed chapter in APP's ongoing saga to clean up its image, instead of cleaning up its act. A clean act for APP would be announcing a moratorium on peatland and forest destruction in Indonesia, but APP still isn't ready to give up on greenwashing and take real action - as Monbiot makes clear. It's worth a read.
It seems to me quite obvious that APP's new PR company, Cohn and Wolfe, is going to have their work cut out to dig APP out of this hole. It's worth noting that APP's previous agency, Weber Shandwick, walked away from the company earlier this year. What will Cohn and Wolfe do next, one may wonder...
Well, I know what we will do. We will continue to focus on what is really happening on the ground, like when in August this year, Greenpeace activists dropped a banner at APP affiliate concession PT Tebo Multi Agro, in the southern part of the Bukit Tigapuluh landscape.
Bukit Tigapuluh is one of the last refuges for critically endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger, Clouded leopard, Malayan tapir, Sumatran elephant and the orang-utan. The area is also home to the indigenous peoples of the Orang Rimba and Talang Mamak tribes.
In spite of what APP's greenwashing exercises may try to convey, the reality is that the company continues to source natural forest timber from parts of this forest. In March, we also documented timber was being supplied to APP mills from PT Artelindo Wiratama, in the same forest area.
And the Indonesian government has said that huge areas of forest and peatland are ear-marked for 'development'. Last year, the Ministry of Forestry presented plans to open up a total of 33 million hectares of timber plantations to provide (among other things) pulpwood. This will have a heavy toll on biodiversity and GHG emissions.
APP's concessions cover millions of hectares, half of which are on peatlands. Company documents show it is planning to expand production, even though, by its own admission, it still relies on deforestation of natural forest areas to meet its fibre needs. And photographic evidence shows APP is converting deep peat areas.
Summing up, despite what its spin-doctoring might lead you to think, the sad reality is that APP is responsible for widespread rainforest and peatland degradation and destruction in Indonesia. If the company wants to do things right, it needs to announce a moratorium on peatland and forest destruction, instead of trying to create a complete fiction.