INDONESIA – Indonesian haze-linked firm Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) has failed to address the cancellation of ties with green group Greenpeace over allegations that it was still destroying forests for pulpwood.
On 16 May, Greenpeace shared in its statement that it has put these allegations to APP/Sinar Mas.
“The group failed to provide a credible response or take meaningful action. As a result, Greenpeace has ended all further engagement with APP/Sinar Mas,” said Greenpeace.
Sinar Mas Group is the parent company of APP.
The company was accused of being among the causes of the 2015 haze in the region in 2015.
Following the crisis, APP was said to have improved its fire-suppression strategies, and also said that it was reaffirming its commitment to the zero-deforestation pledge it had previously made in 2013.
Greenpeace disagreed with the position taken by APP, and said that investigations showed that the firm had gone back on this promise.
It was further revealed through satellite imagery and company deeds that almost 8,000 hectares of forests and peatland had been cleared in two concessions owned by pulpwood company Muara Sungai Landak and a Sinar Mas mining company, Golden Energy and Resources.
Greenpeace added that both concessions were linked to APP and the Sinar Mas Group. APP has since disputed this.
The allegations against APP followed an Associated Press report from last December, which stated that APP had covered up links to suppliers that practise deforestation.
According to a spokesman, it was reported in the Straits Times the businesses cited by Greenpeace were not under “the direct jurisdiction of APP”.
The APP spokesman said an unnamed independent auditor had in 2014 concluded that Muara Sungai Landak had no relationship with APP.
“As a result of the allegation made in the Associated Press report, we conducted an investigation and found that three of (the company’s) shareholders, and not two as stated in… Greenpeace’s statement, had relationships with APP.”
APP also stated that two were former employees, and one was an employee who had not declared his shareholdings and position within Muara Sungai Landak. “The employee was terminated with immediate effect,” said the APP spokesman. He added that he was unable to speak on behalf of Golden Energy and Resources as it “operates independently from us and does not supply wood to APP”.
Strangely, APP issued a release on 23 May, stating how it was marking the 5th anniversary of its landmark sustainability commitment, the Forest Conservation Policy (FCP).
It didn’t address the cutting of ties with Greenpeace, nor provide an update on its reinstatement to the Forest Stewardship Council accreditation.
There has also been no action on APP by the Singapore government despite the repeated requests for information following the 2015 haze under the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act.