Two prominent NGOs disengage from APRIL’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee

(foresthints.news) - Two key stakeholders of APRIL’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC), Greenpeace and the WWF, have announced that they are suspending their engagement with the committee, which was formed by APRIL in order to supervise the implementation of its “zero deforestation and no-peat development policy” launched in early June last year.

Greenpeace firmly stated its opinion that, although APRIL's sustainability policy is strong in terms of substance, there is a big disconnect between the policy and its implementation.

“APRIL’s management is not serious about implementing its own sustainability policy. APRIL is also lacking when it comes to following up on key issues surrounding the policy implementation,” Rusmadya Maharuddin, forest campaigner for Greenpeace Indonesia, told foresthints.news on Friday (Dec 9).

Greenpeace also sharply highlighted APRIL's ongoing peatland violations, such as canal constructions in Pulau Padang as well as in the Kampar Peninsula Landscape, both of which are located in Sumatra's Riau province.

“APRIL has provided an incorrect interpretation of government regulations to the SAC. In other words, APRIL has misled its stakeholders,” lamented Rusmadya.

According to the Greenpeace forest campaigner, the peat violations committed by APRIL are clearly unacceptable, considering that not only do these violations contravene APRIL’s own sustainability policy, but they are also not in line with Indonesia’s regulations.

“Greenpeace has come to the conclusion that APRIL is not serious about its own sustainability policy at the implementation level. APRIL and its parent company, RGE, cannot be trusted to deliver their own commitments.”

Slow and non-transparent

Just like Greenpeace, the WWF considers APRIL's compliance with its own sustainability policy in terms of its operations to be slow and non-transparent, with numerous peatland violations discovered on the ground.

“We are quite suspicious of APRIL because they never divulge complete and transparent information to us. APRIL also still frequently commits peatland violations. On this basis, we have decided to disengage with APRIL,” Aditya Bayunanda, WWF-Indonesia’s Forest Commodity Leader, told foresthints.news (Dec 9).

He said that the WWF’s presence on APRIL’s SAC was at the request of APRIL’s own management, adding that it should be giving truthful information to the WWF, not vice versa.

“What’s the point of us engaging with APRIL’s SAC if they continue showing a lack of transparency with regard to their operations related to the implementation of APRIL’s sustainability policy?” asked Aditya.

Both APRIL and its SAC were asked for their views about the disengagement of these two leading NGOs, but by the deadline given to them, even with an extension, foresthints.news had yet to receive any response from either of them.

Recent monitoring conducted by the Environment and Forestry Ministry has clearly demonstrated that both APRIL and Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) are still carrying out business-as-usual practices in peatlands across their supply chains which are linked to the violations being committed by their companies.

Environment and Forestry Minister Dr Siti Nurbaya has shown that she has absolutely no tolerance for any company, even if it is a giant corporation, proven to have committed peatland violations. This forms part of her efforts to ensure that President Joko Widodo's directive to abandon business-as-usual practices in peatlands is actually manifested in the field.