6 myths Indonesia's biggest forest destroyer wants you to believe

By   /   July 16, 2014  /   Comments Off on 6 myths Indonesia's biggest forest destroyer wants you to believe

MIL OSI – Source: Greenpeace NZ –

Headline: 6 myths Indonesia's biggest forest destroyer wants you to believe

Pulp and paper company APRIL, along with its sister companies, is the greatest threat to the Indonesian rainforest. But these destructive companies are telling fibs to stop their customers deserting them. Here are APRIL’s six biggest porkies.
Myth #1: “APRIL is not deforesting Indonesia”
Last year APRIL’s then-public relations director was busted in an interview with The Guardian claiming that APRIL isn’t involved in deforestation (from 2.30 minutes onwards – it’s well worth a watch!). He left the company soon after, but we have again caught APRIL making this baffling claim in a leaked customer briefing, claiming “We reforest, not deforest”.
APRIL and its sister companies in the Royal Golden Eagle group (RGE) imply that tearing down a rainforest and replacing it with a monoculture plantation is actually a good thing!

Recently deforested peatland inside a PT. Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (PT RAPP) concession on Pulau Pedang, Riau Province. PT RAPP is a subsidiary of APRIL, the pulp & paper division of the RGE Group. 05/30/2014 © Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace. 1°0’53″N 102°18’24″E.
Myth #2: “Sustainability is in the company’s DNA.”
In May, we visited one of RGE/APRIL’s concessions in Padang Island, Sumatra. The company has claimed to protect high conservation value forest since 2005 (here, first paragraph) – but apparently this dense natural forest on swampy deep peat didn’t meet the criteria set out in these “rigorous assessments”.
APRIL refuses to make its assessments public, but it’s crystal clear they don’t include identifying and protecting forested areas like this, as our exclusive photos show.

Recent large-scale clearance of peatland forest inside a PT. Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (PT RAPP) concession on Pulau Pedang, Riau Province. 05/20/2014 © Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace. 1°0’59″N 102°17’39″E.
Myth #3: RGE/APRIL claims its sustainable forest management policy has “strong support from external stakeholders”.
APRIL likes to pretend that WWF and even the Norwegian government are on its side – see a letter they sent to a customer below.
However WWF have actually said that APRIL’s policy “needs to be strengthened and more clearly defined”. It should “extend its commitment to the rest of the RGE group of companies” and include “a moratorium on all forest and land clearance and peat development activities”. RGE/APRIL has yet to do any of these things.

Myth #4: APRIL does not source from high conservation value (HCV) forests, as proven by peer reviewed, independent assessments.
The fact is, APRIL does not make its HCV assessments publicly available. The organization APRIL claims has peer reviewed all of them – the HCV Resource Network – told us it has done nothing of the sort. It has only peer reviewed the assessments for two concessions, neither of which are on Padang Island. 
We’ve also obtained confidential information (RGE/APRIL has never published information on their supply base) which showed that APRIL is supplied by approximately 50 concessions.

Drainage of peatland forest inside a PT. Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (PT RAPP) pulpwood concession on Pulau Pedang, Riau Province. 05/20/2014 © Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace 1°1’53″N 102°17’57″E
Myth #5: Forest fires? Don’t blame us, we have a no burning policy.
APRIL says it banned burning on its concessions 20 years ago. Fine – but swampy peatland doesn’t spontaneously combust. Drained peat soil is highly flammable, and when companies like RGE/APRIL drain these areas – as can be seen in this image – they create a tinderbox.
Peat swamps hold billions of tonnes of carbon and when drained and burned, they can become disaster for the global climate.

Scorched peatland forest inside the PT Sumatra Riang Lestari (PT SRL) pulpwood concession in Rupat Island, in Riau Province. PT SRL is a supplier to APRIL. 05/20/2014 © Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace: 1°55’8″N 101°33’49″E.
Myth # 6: Forest fires? Don’t blame us, it’s the local communities’ fault.
Indonesia suffered from an unusual peak in fire hot spots during in February and March this year, and RGE/APRIL was quick to lay the blame on local communities.
But fire hotspots, based on 2011 data, were 3.5 times more frequent on deforested peatland than on peatland that hadn’t been cleared by unscrupulous companies like APRIL.
It’s like dousing your house in gasoline and blaming a passing smoker when it all goes up in flames.
Until APRIL and all plantation companies in the RGE Group stop the bulldozers and implement a no deforestation policy, everyone that does business with the group is contributing to one of the worst environmental crises in the world.
So if you’re buying paper or pulp from APRIL, stop it. Stop it right now.

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Authorised by Martyn Bradbury, The Editor, TheDailyBlog,