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Rainforest Alliance Evaluations for Asia Pulp and Paper

The Rainforest Alliance has conducted two evaluations for Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) - an evaluation of its progress to meet its Forest Conservation Policy and related additional public commitments, and an evaluation of a wood supply study conducted by The Forest Trust (TFT)/ATA MARIE. The public reports from both evaluations are available for download below.

Evaluating APP's Progress in Implementing Its Forest Conservation Policy

During 2014 the Rainforest Alliance conducted an independent evaluation of the progress made by Asia Pulp and Paper Group (APP) in implementing the commitments in its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), announced in February 2013, as well as additional related commitments that the company subsequently made.

The Rainforest Alliance evaluation reports that Asia Pulp & Paper’s (APP’s) progress to meet these individual commitments varies, but determines that overall progress to meet its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) Commitments has been moderate.

Key Evaluation Findings

The Rainforest Alliance evaluation found that APP had:

  • Halted natural forest clearance by its supplier companies. Natural forest clearance by third parties (not supplier companies), whether due to illegal logging, encroachment or issues of overlapping tenure, is continuing.
  • Halted new canal development on peatland and established a Peatland Expert Team to provide guidance to APP. Best management practices for peatland management and new Standard Operating Procedures to implement them are yet to be developed.
  • Mapped social conflicts and established processes to begin resolving these conflicts. A small proportion of the several hundred conflicts mapped are currently moving through the process and of those, only one pilot social conflict resolution project has been completed.
  • Carried out 38 High Conservation Value and six (6) High Carbon Stock assessments. Some specific recommendations from those assessments have not been implemented. A new process of Integrated Sustainable Forest Management Plans (ISFMPs) will incorporate the information from these assessments, social mapping and other initiatives. One pilot project ISFMP has started in Jambi, Indonesia, covering three concessions out of 38 that supply APP. Others are being planned. The Jambi ISFMP process was in its very early stages.
  • Stopped all transport to mills of mixed tropical hardwood (MTH) for its own pulp supply by August 31, 2013. As of August 15, 2014 APP pulp mills in Indonesia are receiving only plantation fiber from its supply sources in Indonesia. 525,000m3 of MTH cut before the February 1, 2013 moratorium, but not transported to the mill before the August 31, 2013 cutoff date, remains in concessions.
  • Developed measures to assess its global supply chain using a self assessment scorecard approach for future pulpwood suppliers and ensured existing suppliers meet APP’s Responsible Fibre Procurement and Processing Policy and APP’s Association Procedure. APP has terminated a wood supply contract with one supplier who would not stop harvesting natural forest.
  • Improved its transparency and stakeholder outreach with the establishment of an online APP FCP Dashboard, creation of a Solutions Working Group (4 international NGOs, 1 Indonesian NGO and APP’s advisors are members) and the organization of a number of Focus Group Discussions throughout the concessions to socialize the FCP. APP has invested great energy in increasing its transparency with the international NGO community. In the communities within and nearby the supplier concessions community members expressed a desire for a greater level and more consistent approach to local communication.
  • Begun Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) outreach with communities in the area around the proposed OKI Mill in South Sumatra. APP’s current Standard Operating Procedures related to FPIC limit its application to new developments – either new plantation establishment or new mill development. Field evidence, including interviews with numerous local communities and individuals, indicates that more needs to be done to implement the agreements or action plans, or the principles of FPIC with indigenous peoples and local communities in forestry operations. Concerns remain on social, forest tenure and economic dynamics among NGOs (local, national and international) and in affected communities.

FCP Evaluation Method

The evaluation is the result of eight months of preparation, field examinations and subsequent analysis of evidence on progress between the time of the announcement of the FCP and August 15, 2014. It was conducted using established, independent auditing procedures, including evidence submissions by APP and other observers, field visits in concessions supplying APP, and stakeholder consultations with affected communities, individuals and organizations. The evaluation framework was built on a publicly vetted set of commitments, elements, Performance Indicators (PIs), and Performance Measures (PMs) that were used as a guide for evaluation and are downloadable below along with the full report.

Evaluation of The Forest Trust (TFT)/ATA MARIE Growth and Yield - Wood Supply Study for APP

APP commissioned a Growth & Yield - Wood Supply Study (referred to as the Wood Supply Study) to provide key partners - including Greenpeace and a number of paper buyers with additional assurances that APP could meet its FCP commitment without using fiber from Indonesian sources linked to deforestation.

The Rainforest Alliance conducted a desk-based evaluation to evaluate the independence, technical robustness and therefore the reliability of the TFT/ATA MARIE Wood Supply Study. Overall the Rainforest Alliance considered the Wood Supply Study was based on sound data and was without bias, was technically sound based on the scope of the study and presents a baseline from which APP can make future management decisions.

The Rainforest Alliance evaluation team considered the TFT/ATA MARIE study as a useful first step in developing a more comprehensive forest estate model or forest description system that provides for an ongoing program of monitoring plantation performance by APP and its supplier companies. The reliability of forest resource data diminishes over time until it is updated, a fact acknowledged within the TFT/ATA MARIE Wood Supply Study. Given short rotation times (five years), frequent monitoring is required to make management decisions to enhance productivity or to plan for potential threats to the supply. The question of whether APP has sufficient wood supply to meet the demands of its mills deserves to be continually asked particularly by APP management.

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