Yesterday, Greenpeace announced its decision to withdraw its engagement with APP after 5 years of cooperation. The issues flagged by Greenpeace that resulted in this disengagement came to light when Associated Press raised some of these concerns in an article in December last year. Since then APP has worked specifically to address the problems that fall within the scope of responsibility of the company, including agreeing on a detailed action plan with TFT to address these issues.
Despite concerns raised by Greenpeace, our teams remain confident that maintaining an open dialogue and a strong working relationship with APP and all its stakeholders is essential to achieving success. We have witnessed this along our journey of supporting APP’s Forest Conservation Policy since 2013, where we faced similar challenges and found solutions collectively. Hence, TFT recommends that customers stay engaged with APP and their supply chain, closely tracking the company’s progress till the issues are resolved. Markets should also not move away from the transformation journey. Their support for transformation is essential to make sure this positive move happens.
Since becoming a TFT member, APP has worked with our teams to put its Forest Conservation Policy into action across 2.6 million hectares in Indonesia, as well as its wider supply base stretching across Asia. For TFT, the key is drilling deeper into the remaining challenges with APP, as they present an opportunity to bring about constructive and continual improvement. TFT will continue to work with APP and other stakeholders to ensure that both progress and obstacles met along the way are shared in a fully transparent way with customers and all stakeholders through robust monitoring and verification.
TFT chief executive, Bastien Sachet, says: “TFT will continue to work with APP because we believe it is committed to improving its accountability and solving the complex issues that have been raised, such as deforestation and social conflicts; it has made significant progress, working very hard since announcing its Forest Conservation Policy, and it still needs support. Up to now Greenpeace’s contribution on this journey has been invaluable and we hope that even without a formal partnership they will see the value in maintaining a constructive dialogue with APP in the future.”
We are proud of what has been achieved to date through APP’s FCP. To protect habitats, support biodiversity and capture carbon APP has designated and protected High Carbon Stock (HCS) and High Conservation Value (HCV) areas across its forests and those of its suppliers. APP has worked hard to resolve social conflicts and has formed a multi-stakeholder Social Working Group that has seen considerable success in some areas and can be replicated in others. And today, APP’s fibre is 100% plantation sourced – a substantial achievement in itself as no natural forest fibre is used as raw material.
TFT and APP have developed robust procedures to ensure that suppliers working with APP do not cut natural forest. This is already yielding results. The specific issue of supply chain connections raised by Greenpeace is also being investigated by TFT. APP has committed to reviewing all wood suppliers in Indonesia including those not yet within its supply chain. It will also map out any relationship between the board members of these companies and APP shareholders, BOD, BOC and APP employees to rule out any financial involvement between wood suppliers and APP. This process is to begin this month.
TFT is exploring with APP how to develop closer collaboration between its forest security and environmental teams and communities to develop solutions to combat illegal logging. We are working to strengthen its Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) processes across its suppliers and mills, and show more active leadership in engaging in harmonious relationships with local communities and indigenous people. To strengthen stakeholder engagement, APP must better demonstrate transparency through public forums and help independent observers stay informed by keeping its Forest Conservation Policy Monitoring Dashboard up to date with progress reports. Additionally, we will continue to support APP to fully implement its Integrated Sustainable Forest Management Plan (ISFMP), which sets out how APP would work towards rectifying environmental, social and production concerns.
TFT Senior Manager for Indonesia, Arief Perkasa, says: “Forest and human rights protection is not the responsibility of any one company or organisation; it is a common goal we all share. APP’s role is fundamental here in serving as an important example to other companies of how, despite complexities, effective NDPE policies can be realized for the good of people and nature.”