Indonesia — The World Business Council for Sustainable Development hasadmitted its first member from Indonesia, a country with a dismal environmentalrecord that provides much of the world’s pulp and paper. Asia Pacific ResourcesInternational Holdings Limited (APRIL), a major fibre, pulp and paper company,was invited to join the council for its work with sustainable plantations.
James Griffiths, managing director of WBCSDs sustainable forestry andecosystems projects, welcomed APRIL as a member at a ceremony in Jakarta today.
“The decision to welcome APRIL to the Council is a recognition of thecommitment of the company, and the country as a whole, to transforming Indonesias forestry management industry,” Griffiths said.
“Globally, the industry faces real challenges to meet the increasing demandfor wood, paper and other forest-based products. In a historically contentiousindustry where illegal logging, deforestation and carbon emissions are majorissues, APRIL has adopted a sophisticated and responsible approach to itsforestry management system and emerged as an industry leader, locally andinternationally.”
He added that he hoped other companies would follow APRIL’s lead and also jointhe council, which has 200 members from Asia Pacific, Europe, Oceania and theAmericas.
APRIL president A.J. Devanesan, who accepted the invitation on behalf of thecompany, said the company had been working towards membership for five years.
“We have worked hard to make our business sustainable, but our approach hasalways been very simple: growing the resources to produce pulp and paper must bedone in a sustainable, socially and environmentally progressive manner,”Devanesan said.
“We have strict measures in place to eradicate illegal logging and allaspects of our operation ensure that we manage our resources effectively andresponsibly. We design plantations to protect high conservation value forestsand offer a solution to Indonesia’s deforestation. Sustainabilityis the key tolong-term viability.”
The South-East Asian state is the ninth largest pulp producer and the 11thlargest paper producer in the world, but demand far outstrips what is possibleto supply through sustainable production.Deforestation each year between 2000and 2005 averaged 2 million hectares – an area almost the size of Wales. It isestimated the Indian Ocean archipelago has lost 72% of its ancient forest coverin total, with half of the remaining forest threatened by legal and illegallogging, forest fires and land clearances for palm plantations. The GuinnessBook of Records will list Indonesia as the country with the world’s fastest rateof deforestation in its 2008 edition, due out this September, after theSouth-East Asian nation was nominated by Greenpeace.
APRIL, which also has manufacturing operations in China, has one of the world’slargest pulp mills with an annual designed capacity of more than 2 milliontonnes in Indonesia. Its flagship product is PAPEROne office paper made from100% renewable acacia plantation fibre and sold in more than 55 countries.
Geneva-based WBCSD is a business association dedicated to sustainabledevelopment through economic growth, ecological balance and social progress. Membership is by invitation only to companies that have made asignificant contribution to the aims of the council and shown commitment toimproving the long-term sustainability of their own operations.