PAPER GIANT'S GREEN COMMITMENT DISAPPOINTS ENVIRONMENTALISTS
Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Ltd. (APRIL), Indonesia’s second-largest pulp and paper producer, has announced a new environmental policy intended to address criticism of its forestry practices. The announcement came just days after the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, a group of 200 companies that have made commitments to greener business practices, threatened to kick APRIL out if it doesn’t reform its forestry practices and stop clearing rainforests and peatlands on the island of Sumatra. APRIL’s new policy includes a moratorium on plantation development in areas that have not yet been assessed for their conservation value, a pledge to stop establishing new plantations by December 2014, and a plan to eliminate deforestation for fiber production by 2019. While the World Wide Fund for Nature has “cautiously welcomed” APRIL’s policy, other environmentalists argue that the company’s pledge falls far short of the green commitment made by its biggest competitor, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP). While the pledge APP made last year covers all of its subsidiaries, APRIL’s new policy does not apply to the company’s sister companies and suppliers—a significant weakness, according to the Rainforest Action Network’s Lafcadio Cortesi. For the full story, see http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0131-april-forest-policy.html and http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0117-april-wbcsd.html.