APRIL’s largest supplier still committing peat violations  

(foresthints.news) - PT SRL, the largest long-term acacia supplier of Singapore-based pulp and paper giant APRIL, is still buying time in an attempt to avoid its obligation of legal compliance, as shown by its submission of a revised 10-year work plan (Nov 21) which remains unaligned with new peat regulations as well as by its continuation of business-as-usual practices on the ground level.

The Indonesian Ministry of the Environment and Forestry has already issued PT SRL with two warning letters due to its non-compliance and it is one of the pulpwood companies whose permit has previously been suspended by the government in relation to 2015’s peat fires.

A ground-based inspection carried out by the ministry (Dec 4-9) proved APRIL’s largest supplier’s practice of buying time by revealing how the company is still operating without a peat recovery plan which should have been incorporated into its revised work plan in line with the new peat regulations.

“A strict sanction will be immediately imposed on PT SRL as this company is simply continuing to buy time as a way of avoiding legal compliance.”

These were the words of Rasio “Roy” Ridho Sani, the Ministry’s Law Enforcement Director General, in a presentation to Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya at the ministry building (Dec 10), a few hours before the minister headed off for the Paris One Planet Summit to represent President Joko Widodo. 

The director general explained that, based on both administrative facts as well as the facts on the ground, APRIL’s largest acacia supplier has been declared not in compliance with the new peat regulations, thereby warranting the imposition of a strict sanction on it from a legal perspective.

“This company (PT SRL) also has a bad track record in legal terms, seeing that almost every year its concession is linked to peat fires,” Roy pointed out. 

The three photographs below - taken during the ground-based inspection in PT SRL’s Rupat Island concession (Dec 5-6) - depict the APRIL supplier’s ongoing business-as-usual operations, which are being conducted without any peat recovery plan whatsoever.

Sanction on the way

The director general said that, given PT SRL’s revised work plan has yet to be approved by the ministry since it is not consistent with the new peat regulations, the replanting of acacia in peat protection zones (peat domes) scattered throughout the APRIL supplier’s concession would be forcibly stopped as part of the government-enforced sanction.

“What PT SRL is demonstrating on the ground level is perfectly clear in a legal sense; that is the company is plainly committing peat violations,” he asserted. 

Roy described how PT SRL would be immediately ordered to stop the replanting of acacia in at least three blocks in its concession.

The director general then spelled out his next move: “I am going to the location shortly to seal these blocks as part of our law enforcement measures aimed at ending peat violations in the PT SRL concession.” 

APRIL’s supply chain has been proven to be linked to peat fires over the last two years at least, not to mention its own concessions. In fact, the APRIL company PT RAPP was also hit with a sanction from the ministry due to evidence of 2016’s peat fires.   

There are no doubts about the consistency shown by President Joko Widodo with regard to peat recovery efforts. The current administration continues to apply a no-compromise approach, whereby any party found to have committed peat violations is liable to face strict sanctions from Minister Siti Nurbaya with the full backing of the President. Giant corporations, such as APRIL, are no exception.