Articles, posts and podcasts about sustainable supply chains, mostly


Sustainable forestry In Indonesia: Asia Pulp & Paper and forest protection

Asia Pulp & Paper / Sinar Mas concession area, February 2014

Here’s an image-based presentation with notes, which I put together on sustainable forestry, Asia Pulp & Paper / Sinar Mas, and Indonesia.

The company took me out there* a few weeks ago to see how they are managing sustainable forestry a year or so into their commitment not to cut any more natural forest.

The concession they took me to, Bukit Batu, is not a ‘Potemkin’ area of showcased sustainable practices.

I saw the challenges first hand and they are explained below, and here in the presentation.

Three quick points about APP/Sinar Mas and sustainable forestry:

1) The deal with Greenpeace and the Forest Trust to monitor and assess progress and not cut natural forest, has so far, despite a couple of expected hiccups, held well. Greenpeace reported progress here. However, WWF Indonesia supports rival April, a company committed to using rainforest fibre until 2019, whilst behaving rather oddly towards APP. This is a mystery given APP’s progress.

2) In the area I saw, on the ground and by helicopter, the problems of encroachment by communities, migrant communities, often burning peat forest for oil palm planting were obvious. From what I could see APP/Sinar Mas were protecting what remains of the natural forest as best they can.

3) The key question now is when the Western brand customers will return to sourcing from APP, which now only uses plantation fibre, having left in droves prior to 2013. Under what circumstances will they come back? This is both an interesting and important question.

Here’s some coverage of the recent anniversary event held in Jakarta with APP and their critics together on stage. I was there and am impressed by their willingness to publicly engage critics.

I will be following up on this in Ethical Corporation in the coming months. Here’s the presentation: (best view it full screen to read the text on the images)

Sustainable Forestry In Indonesia: Asia Pulp & Paper and Forest Protection from Tobias Webb

*(APP paid for my trip and organised the logistics, but I went as an independent commentator who has previously been highly critical of the company prior to 2013. I have not been paid by APP and they did not offer any payment. Media trips such as these are quite common. Without them, writers would simply not get to places such as these)