Early indications show APRIL to be compliant with sanctions

(foresthints.news) - The Indonesian Ministry of the Environment and Forestry discovered various peat violations, in the form of new peatland development, committed by PT RAPP - a subsidiary of pulp and paper giant APRIL - in late November last year.

Subsequently, in early March this year, the ministry imposed administrative sanctions on the APRIL company. The peat violations were carried out in one of APRIL’s pulpwood estates in the Kampar peninsula landscape of Sumatra’s Riau province.

These administrative sanctions compelled the APRIL company to remove all recently-planted acacia from its newly-developed peat areas, as well as to close and restore all newly-constructed canals.

With respect to the law enforcement measures undertaken by the ministry, the subsidiary of the giant pulp company reported on its progress in complying with the sanctions imposed on it by letter (Mar 31).

In its letter, the APRIL company said that ever since it received the ministerial decree (Mar 14) imposing the sanctions which was issued five days earlier, it had started to comply with the provisions of the sanctions.

Nevertheless, the company did ask for a 30 day extension to carry out in full everything stipulated by the sanctions. The ministry has yet to respond to this request.

“Everything reported by PT RAPP indicates that the company is trying to stick to the requisite level of compliance, as it should be,” Dr Rasio “Roy” Ridho Sani, the Ministry’s Law Enforcement Director General, told foresthints.news (Apr 20).

The following photo depicts the removal of recently-planted acacia by the APRIL company as part of its compliance.

Elaborating on the ministry's position on the APRIL company's report, Roy said: “We continue to monitor the progress of every instruction set out in the sanctions imposed on the company."

“At a later point, after we receive the final report from the company, my team will initiate a comprehensive verification process in the field. While we certainly appreciate the progress, any decision to lift the sanctions will be determined by the final verification results on the ground,” Roy explained.

Business transformation required

The director general reaffirmed that all the law enforcement actions undertaken by the ministry against peat violations are integral to the Joko Widodo administration's consistency in striving to end any new peat development, which has been banned since early November 2015.

“The imposition of these sanctions should be seen in the context of business transformation for the sake of sustainability, meaning that all companies have to be truly free from new peat development and peat drainage,” Roy urged.

The two photos below show the blocking of recently-developed canals, as reported by the APRIL company to the ministry. According to Roy, this represents an example of the company's compliance with the sanctions imposed on it.

The Ministry’s Law Enforcement Director General went on to express his disappointment with the pulp giants' previous involvement in peatland offences. “Major business groups like APRIL and APP should be the leaders of business transformation, not involved in peat violations.”

To follow up on the numerous directives of President Joko Widodo calling for no hesitation in acting against peat violations, Environment and Forestry Minister Dr Siti Nurbaya has continuously and consistently sought to apply law enforcement actions, most notably against large business corporations linked with peat violations.