Paper giants Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL) are two of Indonesia’s, and perhaps the world’s, most destructive corporations. Between them, they produce 80 percent of Indonesia’s pulp and paper. This comes from clear cutting rainforests and replacing them with monoculture acacia and eucalyptus pulp wood plantations.
Indonesia’s rainforests are some of the most valuable ecosystems on earth because of their immense biodiversity, unique forest peoples and their role as massive carbon reservoirs that help to prevent climate change. But Indonesia’s forests and the people who depend on them are in crisis and the country now has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world.
Many leading international companies and consumer brands are contributing to this tragic pattern of destruction, often unknowingly, by purchasing paper products from APP, APRIL, and their affiliates. RAN’s Rainforest-Free Paper Campaign is designed to pressure these companies and their supply chain partners to adopt social and environmental safeguards and to create incentives for APP and APRIL to reform their destructive practices.
APP alone is responsible for pulping an area of rainforest the size of the state of Massachusetts. Even as APP is facing massive legal action by the Indonesian government for its widespread destruction of Sumatra’s rainforests, its parent company appears to be moving forward with plans to build another pulp mill, perhaps the world’s largest, on the same island. Continued habitat destruction by the company poses one of the single largest threats to the continued existence of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger, of which only about 400 remain in the wild.
The destruction of peatlands and forests for fiber production by APP and APRIL is driving carbon emissions on a massive scale. Indonesia is now the third largest carbon polluting country in the world and over 80 percent of its emissions are caused by deforestation. A carbon life cycle analysis conducted by RAN of APP’s Indonesian operations estimated total APP emissions at 67 – 86 million tons of CO2e. This ranks APP ahead of the emissions of 165 countries around the world in 2006.
APP remains in gross violation of agreements signed with international creditors in that aftermath of its staggering $13.9 billion default in 2001. APP committed to protecting high conservation forest and promised to source 100 percent of its fiber from plantations by 2007. Instead, APP has continued to clear increasingly endangered Sumatran rainforest for pulp and new plantations.
RAN’s Rainforest Free Paper campaign is a central part of a global movement to reform Indonesia’s pulp and paper industry. Large companies who have already dropped APP due to deforestation concerns include Staples, Tiffany & Co, Scholastic, Office Depot, Levis, Gucci and Mattel.