SINGAPORE, May 16, 2019 (Press Release) -Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) is pleased to announce that it has received the Singapore Environment Council’s (SEC) Enhanced Singapore Green Label Scheme (SGLS+) certification.
The SGLS+ award that will see APP products return to shelves in Singapore, is a testament to the company’s intensified commitment to battle the threat of fire and haze since the 2015 haze that affected Singapore, Malaysia and parts of Indonesia.
The SGLS+ certification sets out more stringent requirements than its predecessor, taking a robust risk-based evaluation across APP’s entire supply chain, to ensure that products are not only sustainably made, but also meet the highest standards in forestry practice to combat fire and haze.
The enhanced certification incorporates elements of best-in-class standards to ensure certified companies comply with sustainable and environment-friendly practices. To earn the label, companies are required to comply with a 25-point audit criteria, that includes a zero-burning policy.
Between December 2017 and March 2018, APP suppliers were audited by a team of inspectors from SEC and its appointed auditors, sustainability experts Control Union, to ensure that it was in compliance with these enhanced standards. This included full disclosure of APP’s supply chain and ensuring that all fibre is sourced from plantations, as well as ensuring suppliers are not engaged in burning, and have implemented strict processes for fire and peatland management.
Bernard Tan, Country President for Singapore at Sinar Mas said, “APP has invested heavily in sustainability and fire prevention, to ensure that our entire supply chain is responsibly managed. With climate change causing dry seasons to become hotter and longer, fire and haze remains a real threat and requires a multi-stakeholder cooperative effort to overcome, and APP has upped its game in such efforts, building on the lessons learned from the 2015 haze.”
Since the implementation of the Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) in 2013, APP has adopted a zero-burning throughout its supply chain, but the challenges of preventing fire go even further. Lessons from 2015 revealed that climate change, land-use change, and even human activities of indigenous communities such as the traditional practice of slash-and-burn in preparation for the planting of crops are still critical factors.
APP has invested over US$100 million in an Integrated Fire Management System (IFMS) to combat fire and haze since 2015. Apart from employing over 2,700 firefighters and state of the art firefighting equipment, APP has also initiated the Integrated Forestry and Farming System (IFFS), a programme to improve the local community’s welfare and educate them on modern farming techniques and of the dangers of land clearance by burning, reaching up to 191 villagers to date and benefitting 13,800 households.
These investments have seen a marked reduction in forest fires on APP and APP supplier concessions since 2015. The management of haze originating from our concessions is testament to the impact of APP’s on-ground efforts in firefighting and fire prevention.
APP has committed to zero deforestation, no new plantations on peatland, and requires all its suppliers to comply with FCP and its Responsible Fibre Procurement and Purchasing Policy (RFPPP). These policies, along with a Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) supplier scorecard are audited by the Earthworm Foundation (formerly known as The Forest Trust). In the event of supplier non-compliance, APP will take immediate action, including termination.
“The Enhanced SGLS is a robust and coveted award. APP is prepared to raise the bar and meet higher standards in the ever-evolving goal of making the business more responsible to all stakeholders,” said Mr Tan.