Ground inspection reveals APRIL fulfilling peat violation sanctions

(foresthints.news) - A ground inspection carried out by the Indonesian Ministry of the Environment and Forestry (Jun 8-10) on one of the estates of PT RAPP, a company owned by pulp and paper giant APRIL, where peat violations had previously taken place, has revealed that the Singapore-based company has in fact largely fulfilled its promises in terms of legal compliance.

The peat violations committed by the APRIL company involved new peat development in the Kampar Peninsula landscape, in Sumatra’s Riau province, specifically new planting of acacia and the opening of new canals. Such development has been outlawed since early November 2015 by the Environment and Forestry Minister Dr Siti Nurbaya.

“PT RAPP has demonstrated compliance in meeting the (demands of the) sanctions imposed on them for the peat violations they perpetrated,” the Ministry’s Law Enforcement Director General Dr Rasio “Roy” Ridho Sani told foresthints.news (Jun 13) at the ministry building.

This compliance, Roy added, refers to the company refraining from continuing any new planting of acacia in newly-developed peat areas, removing all recently-planted acacia in peat violation areas, ending new canal development and, last but not least, closing those new canals already built as well as cleaning up any biomass which has accumulated after the removal of the acacia.

“The only instruction whose completion is still underway, and they have promised to finish it this week, is the cleaning up of biomass after getting rid of the acacia trees,” the director general explained.

The results of the ground inspection performed by the ministry’s law enforcement team indicated that newly-developed peat areas the size of 600 football fields, where these peat violations occurred, have already had their acacia removed, as seen in the following two photos.

Chronology of APRIL’s peat violations

As reported on several occasions by foresthints.news, the ministry has caught the APRIL company red-handed committing peat violations several times. This first happened through on-the-ground monitoring in late November last year, and was followed by first-hand observations by one of the ministry’s top officials in early December that year.

Subsequently, the ministry ordered the APRIL company to remove all recently-planted acacia and close those canals which had been opened, by sending two letters of instruction - in early and late December last year.

Due to a lack of compliance with these two letters of instruction, in early March this year three director generals from the ministry visited the locations of peat violations by the APRIL company and symbolically uprooted the recently-planted acacia that had been planted in newly-developed peat areas there.

The ministry’s actions did not end there, as it went on to impose administrative sanctions on the APRIL company (Mar 23), compelling it to get rid of the acacia which had been planted in newly-developed peat areas, in violation of peat regulations, as well as close all newly-constructed canals.

Not long afterwards, by means of an official letter to the ministry (Mar 31), the APRIL company conveyed its progress in complying with the sanctions imposed on it. The early indications did indeed indicate compliance on the part of the company.

To follow up on the report it received from the company, the ministry conducted an inspection of the locations of the APRIL company’s peat violations to confirm the extent of the progress described in the letter.

“Of course we are appreciative of the compliance displayed by PT RAPP. They are a big corporation so they should be showing compliance and should not repeat any new peat violations,” Roy advised.

President Joko Widodo has stated on many occasions that there will be no compromises with any party involved in peat violations. The President’s commitment and firmness on this issue has been clearly demonstrated and proven, whereby all perpetrators of peat violations are treated the same whoever they are - giant corporations being no exception.