APP Sustainability Claims Are Misleading

Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) often claims it is regularly assessed and certified by many of the top authorities on sustainable forest management and environmental auditors.

But a WWF survey has found these claims to be misleading.

The survey’s results show that these certifications do not cover the most controversial operations of APP’s wood suppliers: mass clearing of natural forests that are home to critically endangered tigers, elephants and orangutans, and clearing and drainage of peat areas, which result in massive greenhouse gas emissions.

Responding to Sustainability Claims

The survey stems from a statement by APP where they cited:

“In fact, APP is regularly assessed and certified by many of the world’s leading authorities on sustainable forest management and environmental auditors -- including Geneva-based SGS, TUV, AFNOR, the official French auditors for the European ‘ EcoLabel’, PHPL, Indonesian sustainable forest management standard, LEI, Indonesian voluntary sustainable forest management standard, and PEFC Chain-of-Custody, the world’s largest forest certification program.”

WWF asked all of the certification systems and assessors named by APP what operations or products were covered by their certifications, and whether those certifications demonstrated APP’s sustainability.

In their responses, the systems and assessors did not endorse the APP statement, and no certificate or assessment that had been issued was found to evaluate the sustainability of APP’s natural forest sourcing or sustainability of the APP group as a whole.

The WWF survey found that none of the certifications demonstrated the legality of the APP wood supply as a whole.

Additionally, SGS noted that some plantations had been established on deep peat (more than three meters deep) but Indonesian law lacked clear definition of the conditions under which this was prohibited.

What APP Needs To Do

  • Immediately stop clearing natural forest in Indonesia and stop buying any mixed tropical hardwood fiber from suppliers until areas of high conservation value and high carbon value have been identified and protected.
  • Stop any additional pulp or paper production until an independent audit can ensure that fiber from additional natural forests is not required for existing or expanded operations.
  • Employ an independent third party, acceptable to independent civil society groups in Indonesia, to monitor the implementation of and continued adherence to the above conditions and report regularly to the public on its findings.

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