Leading paper producer to end its deforestation in Indonesia

One of the world’s largest paper producers has pledged to protect rainforests and restore the habitats of endangered species, a decision cautiously welcomed by environmental campaigners

Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) say they hope to help restore the habitats of the rare Sumatran tiger and orangutan by immediately halting the clearing of natural forest and using ‘high-carbon stock’ forests instead.

“APP’s decision marks a turning point for the role of industry in the destruction of the world’s most vulnerable forest regions,” said Scott Poynton, the executive director of TFT, a not-for-profit organisation that worked closely with APP and Greenpeace in negotiating the company’s new conservation guidelines.

“If one of the world’s largest paper producers can identify a way to clean up the complex social and environmental issues that plague its supply chain, then others can do so too,” he added. “This should mark the start of a global push to address the most destructive drivers of deforestation worldwide.”

As well as a vital habitat for endangered species, Indonesia’s rainforests are also home to thousands of forest communities. The Indonesian government has identified the pulp and paper sector as a lead driver of deforestation in Indonesia, along with the palm oil sector.

Sarah Christie, Zoological Society London’s head of regional programmes, has been working in Sumatran tiger conservation for 20 years. She told Positive News: “We are very pleased to see this announcement. It’s very encouraging that they have announced an intention to reduce their impact on the natural forest and we look forward to seeing how it develops.”

The news comes after Indonesian officials last year said they would conserve nearly half the country’s share of Borneo – which is covered in dense rainforest – to help them meet their greenhouse gas emission reduction targets of 26% by 2020.