Since January 2019, TFT has become Earthworm Foundation.
Yesterday, Greenpeace announced its decision to withdraw its engagement with APP after five years of cooperation. The issues flagged by Greenpeace that resulted in this disengagement came about when an article published by Associated Press in December last year raised concerns about transparency of the ownership of some APP suppliers possibly linked to deforestation. Since then APP has worked specifically to address those issues that fall within the scope of responsibility of the company, including agreeing on a detailed action plan with TFT to address these issues. TFT and APP will report transparently on progress.
Through our work to implement APP’s Forest Conservation Policy over the past five years, TFT and APP have developed robust procedures to ensure that suppliers working with APP do not cut natural forest. Given the concerns raised by Greenpeace, 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, Board of Directors, Board of Commissioners and APP employees, to rule out any financial involvement between wood suppliers and APP. This process will begin this month. To add further reassurance, TFT is also investigating these issues to ensure no deforestation can be associated with APP’s supply chain.
TFT urges APP to address the Greenpeace challenges related to adopting an NDPE policy at Sinar Mas Group level, particularly to effectively deal with the deforestation activities of Golden Energy and Resources Limited (PT GEAR), and to fully investigate links with PT Muara Sungai Landak (PT MSL).
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 until the issues are resolved.
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 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 realised for the good of people and nature.”