Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) today announced that three of its mills have secured SVLK certification, marking the first pulp and paper mills in Indonesia to achieve certification under the country's new Wood Legality Verification System. The certifications were granted in a ceremony hosted by Indonesia's Ministry of Forestry in Jakarta today.
Enacted in 2009 by the Indonesian government, the SVLK system creates a rigorous chain of custody process designed to ensure that mills only receive and process timber from legal sources and that all products exported from the country are traceable to verifiable points of origin.
APP's SVLK certification audits were conducted by PT TUV Rheinland Indonesia, an independent testing and assessment organization, headquartered in Germany. APP's mills that have received certifications are PT Pindo Deli Pulp & Paper Mills in Karawang, PT Pabrik Kertas Tjiwi Kimia in Sidoarjo, and PT Ekamas Fortuna in Malang. All of these mills are located in Java. The company's remaining operations are currently undergoing assessments with the goal of securing certification by the end of the year, well ahead of the national target.
Indonesia's SVLK certification standard has been developed through years of multi-stakeholder engagement and consultation involving government, industry, civil society and the academic community. Certification is provided through the National Accreditation Committee (KAN) and independently monitored by the Forestry Independent Monitoring Network, which consists of civil society and forestry industry experts.
Aida Greenbury, Managing Director of Sustainability at APP, said:
"The SVLK program is a bold move by the Indonesian government. The certifications of our mills represent a significant milestone, advancing APP further toward the goals set out in our 2020 Sustainability Roadmap. SVLK provides assurance to our trading partners, customers and ultimately consumers that the products we provide are verifiable and meet our nation's stringent legality, chain-of-custody and sustainability requirements. As countries around the world seek greater transparency and accountability, SVLK establishes a new standard by which Indonesian forest-based products are legally procured and processed. In fact, we believe other countries should view SVLK as a new benchmark."
In 2008, a collaborative effort between the Indonesian government and the United Kingdom, known as the Multi-stakeholder Forestry Programme (MFP Phase II), began working with key stakeholders to guide implementation of the Timber Legality Assurance System in Indonesia. The MFP helped foster the 2009 signing of a Ministerial Decree that provides a framework for the SVLK program. Subsequently, several agreements and commitments have been developed. Most notably, in April 2011, Indonesia and the European Union concluded the Voluntary Partnership Agreement under the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan. Under this agreement, the design of SVLK is recognized as the credible system to guarantee the legality of timber from Indonesia.
Andy Roby, EU FLEGT VPA facilitator and UK Co-Director of the Multi-stakeholder Forestry Programme, said:
"We are pleased with the work that has been done thus far to bring greater transparency and verification to the industry through the SVLK auditing process. These audits represent a critical first step in the evolution of an industry that must meet increasingly stringent market expectations concerning timber legality and chain of custody. Furthermore, when fully implemented and endorsed by Europe through the Voluntary Partnership Agreement, SVLK should provide sufficient encouragement to the global community that Indonesia is making tangible progress toward becoming a global leader in responsible forestry practices."