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APP denounces Greenpeace claims on Indonesian P&P industry as ‘inaccurate and misleading’

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APP denounces Greenpeace claims on Indonesian P&P industry as ‘inaccurate and misleading’

July 30, 2010 - 00:10
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KENT, UK, July 30, 2010 (Press Release) -Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) is aware of recently released reports from Greenpeace regarding deforestation in Indonesia.

The general claims made against the pulp and paper industry in Indonesia are inaccurate and deliberately misleading. We are disappointed that Greenpeace continues to make misleading accusations against companies including APP and we would like to set the record straight. Greenpeace, by misrepresenting the efforts of Indonesian companies, is undermining the sovereign right of the Indonesian government and people to use their natural resources responsibly for economic development and poverty alleviation.

Natural resources are an important contributor in Indonesia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Agriculture, forestry and mining constitute about 25% of Indonesia's GDP, with the forestry sector alone contributing roughly US$ 7 billion a year to state income. Indonesia - a developing nation with over 35 million of its people living below poverty line - understands that a balance between social, economic and environmental needs is crucial for sustainable development. Therefore, its government developed a Spatial Plan that identifies which areas should be protected for conservation and which areas should be responsibly managed for production.

Out of Indonesia's 191-million hectares of landmass, 110 million hectares has forest cover. The government of Indonesia has set aside 47% of that forest cover - about the size of Sweden - expressly for conservation and biodiversity protection. This is significantly more than the commitment of most developed countries. For the pulp and paper industry, the government allocates denuded wasteland and degraded forest for the development of plantation forest, which currently amounts to only around 3% of Indonesia's landmass.

Despite Greenpeace's scurrilous allegations, Indonesia has strict and clear regulations and laws that are implemented to protect high-conservation areas within production forest concession areas. Before any development for the pulp & paper industry can ensue, independent third parties perform multiple socio and environmental assessments - including AMDAL (Environmental Impact Assessment) - and macro and micro-delineation assessments. Analysis from these assessments is used to develop the plantation forest management's working plan, which will require authority approval before operation. This is to ensure that high‐conservation value areas, such as critical peatland, which the government identifies as protected, remains protected. Contrary to Greenpeace's report, APP's pulpwood suppliers only operate on land that has been expressly designated for plantation forest development and they rigorously adhere to government rules and regulations, which were designed to protect environmentally sensitive areas.

APP welcomes the recent letter from Greenpeace, inviting us to meet and discuss a way forward. We have responded back to state our willingness to work together in a transparent, respectful, and thoughtful manner, as we believe that these issues are complex and require equally well-thought-out solutions. At the same time, we request Greenpeace to respect the national laws and regulations in which APP is conducting its business. As a responsible corporate citizen, we cannot do otherwise. APP respects the concerns and the insight of international stakeholders, but we believe they should also respect the sovereignty of Indonesia - and the rights of its people - for sustainable development.

Finally, in response to the accusation that APP endangers the habitat of endangered animals such as the Sumatran Tiger, we can categorically state that this is not the case. APP is fully committed to the protection and conservation of all endangered and threatened wildlife and fauna throughout Indonesia