Agreement signed for conservation and forest management
Jakarta, Indonesia — WWF-Indonesia has today signed an agreement with Asia Pulp and Paper Co. Ltd. (APP) and its Indonesian fiber suppliers, the Sinar Mas Group forestry companies (SMG), to work together to protect the natural heritage of Riau and Jambi provinces, in Sumatra, Indonesia.
This agreement represents a considerable shift in the way the pulp and paper industry in Indonesia and its stakeholders work together to manage and conserve the country’s natural resources.
Under the agreement, APP and SMG will prepare a multi-year action plan on the sustainability of its forest resources, conservation of high conservation value forests, the legality of its wood supply, and the resolution of land conflicts with communities.
Among a range of initiatives, the agreement establishes a series of land protection arrangements that conserve vital parts of Sumatra’s landscape. The area being set aside under permanent and temporary moratoriums links two existing regional Conservation Areas in Bukit Batu and Giam Siak Kecil to create a contiguous conservation area of over 165,000 hectares — an area more than twice the size of Singapore.
SMG has now set aside nearly 50 per cent of its government-allocated concessions in this part of Riau for conservation.
WWF, APP, and SMG have also agreed to develop a management plan for the areas in consultation with local communities, NGOs, and the government.
Mubariq Ahmad, Executive Director of WWF-Indonesia, said: “WWF-Indonesia is pleased with the commitments made by APP and SMG, and is ready to assist with their implementation over the coming six months. This is an important step in APP and SMG’s continuing efforts in the area of environmental sustainability and social responsibility.”
At the signing, representatives of both APP and SMG expressed their satisfaction at being able to take a leading role in developing partnerships between the private sector and non-governmental stakeholders in Indonesia.
Michael Black, Deputy CEO of APP in Indonesia, said: “APP is committed to working with a wide range of stakeholders, as is seen by this agreement. We recognize that today’s progressive pulp and paper companies work in a way that benefits society and the environment as well."
WWF, APP, and SMG also agreed on an initiative to help resolve conflict within SMG’s plantation concession areas concerning local communities’ customary rights to forests.
Muktar Widjaja, representing SMG added: “Our forestry companies follow strict rules to ensure that the environment is protected. This includes setting aside significant areas of our concessions for conservation and community heritage but we need the wider community’s participation in managing those areas.”
In addition to these land management changes, APP and SMG will together develop a chain-of-custody system to provide conclusive proof of the legality of the wood entering APP’s Indonesian pulp mills. This will be based on the legal verification process outlined in the LEI Chain of Custody procedures.
The agreement signed today marks the second phase of SMG’s partnership with WWF-Indonesia. SMG and WWF-Indonesia have previously collaborated to block the access roads of illegal loggers in Tesso Nilo, a key elephant forest also in Riau.
Black continued: “APP is changing. We are taking steps to make sure our stakeholders’ voices are clearly heard within the company”.
For further information:
Director Species Programme, WWF-Indonesia
General Manager - Corporate Communications & Public Relations, Sinar Mas Group