Asia Pulp & Paper says independent research shows it has enough supply from its existing plantations to meet current and future demand without destroying natural forest.
The soon-to-be-released study by environmental NGO The Forest Trust (TFT) was commissioned by APP as part of its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), in which the giant paper manufacturer pledges to end deforestation and source all its fibre from plantations.
According to APP’s 18 month FCP update, the company has sufficient supply, from its current plantations, for its eight Indonesian mills plus the under-construction Oki mill in South Sumatra that begins production in 2016, besides one minor shortfall in 2020.
This means APP will have enough paper to supply Australian printers, and everyone else, from existing plantations – in other words APP will not have to downsize its operations in light of its new zero-deforestation strategy.
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However, TFT is also in the process of conducting High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) assessments in all 38 APP concessions, which will likely limit the amount of land available for plantations.
APP Australian and New Zealand sustainability and communications manager Darragh Brennan says HCV can occur in plantations and ‘if this happens it is managed according to the recommendations of HCV experts’.
TFT executive director Scott Poynton says the 2020 deficiency can be easily filled by increasing the productivity of plantation operations between now and then.
APP sustainability managing director Aida Greenbury says this will be done through better efficiency and new technology. Because APP plantations are in the tropics they are ready for harvesting faster than those of competitors based in northern Europe.
“It is clear that with a harvesting rotation of around five years, improvements made now can bridge that gap by increasing productivity of supplier plantations through improved yield, better tree stock and reduction of waste,” she says.
“The FCP is central to our business model and this study proves that the model works – we can continue our operations and expand profitably without having a detrimental impact on forests in Indonesia or anywhere else in the world.”
The FCP evaluation by environmental NGO Rainforest Alliance, due out late this year or early 2015, will also investigate APP fibre supply, and evaluate the conclusions and methodology of the TFT study.
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The 18 month FCP update also includes an progress report on the company’s commitment to the protection and restoration of one million hectares of forest in Indonesia, saying APP is in a planning phase with a variety of key stakeholders including NGOs and governments.
So far initial mapping has been completed for the 10 landscapes selected for conservation, which also identified conservation opportunities, key threats, and stakeholders with land rights in each of the landscapes.
Greenbury says while APP has come a long way since the FCP was introduced 18 months ago, but there is still much left to do.
“A lot has been achieved in a short time and we are confident that we are on the right track,” she says.
“When we launched the policy, we were moving into uncharted territory, but since then the ‘zero deforestation’ movement has become more and more global.
“With growing support from businesses, governments and civil society, we are proud to be playing a leading role in helping the world end deforestation.”
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