2016-04-14

Operations of another APRIL supplier suspended over forest fires


JAKARTA (foresthints.news) - Indonesia's Minister of the Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya, has suspended the operations of PT Rimba Lazuardi (RL), one of APRILs long-term suppliers located in Sumatra's Riau province, as the company was found to have committed a number of violations with respect to last years forest fires. The suspension of the companys operations took effect from the middle of March 2016.

Based on the ministerial decree suspending the operations of the APRIL supplier, its violations include not exercising control over forest fires in its concession area as well as not exercising control over air pollution originating from the fires.

In addition, Rimba Lazuardi is also said to have failed to perform its waste management obligations in accordance with Indonesia's applicable laws and regulations. This includes not reporting on the implementation of environmental management plans and not paying due regard to environmental functions.

This is an environmental case. It should be brought into the realm of law enforcement. The government needs to demonstrate that it is taking clear legal steps to deal with incidents of forest fires such as those involving this company, Riko Kurniawan, Executive Director of Walhi Riau ("Friends of the Earth Indonesia" Riau Office), told foresthints.news on Tuesday (Apr 12).

Riko added that the APRIL's longterm supplier, along with any other companies which had incurred similar administrative sanctions, should additionally be taken to court by the government to obtain legal clarity on their actions.

For us as a civil society group, and also on behalf of the people of Riau, we would like to see the establishment of legal certainty through a trial process. If an accused company is duly convicted, then it must be severely punished. The Ministry of the Environment and Forestry needs to adopt a clear law enforcement strategy - a strategy which is based on providing legal certainty, he asserted.

Meanwhile, APRIL reacted to the suspension of PT RLs operations by declaring that it had been informed of the administrative sanction imposed by the Environment and Forestry Ministry by the supplier itself.

With regard to the administrative sanction concerned, we have asked PT Rimba Lazuardi to meet all conditions set by the ministry, to always report any developments in carrying out instructions given to it, and to remain fully responsible, said Agung Laksamana, Director of Corporate Affairs at APRIL, on Tuesday (Apr 12).

Agung was keen to underline that PT RL is one of APRILs suppliers and not an affiliate or subsidiary of the APRIL Group.

APRIL does its utmost to ensure that all our suppliers adhere to our sustainability policy. We remain subject to and committed to obeying all of Indonesia's prevailing laws and regulations, and we hope that all our suppliers do the same, explained Agung.

APRIL cannot simply wash its hands of this matter

Vanda Mutia Dewi, Executive Director of Greenomics Indonesia, reacted to the development by saying that in reality PT RL's operations are controlled by APRIL, so the pulp and paper giant is misleading the public by giving the impression that this company is merely an independent supplier.

APRIL cannot just wash its hands of this issue, as if the company's operations are not under its control. On the contrary, APRIL actually does exercise control over the operations of what it says is just a supplier. APRIL must acknowledge that it is responsible, Vanda explained to foresthints.news on Wednesday (Apr 13).

Vanda pointed out that this was the case not only for PT RL. In fact, the operations of another company which had its license suspended by the ministry in November 2015, PT Sumatera Riang Lestari (SRL), were also under the control of APRIL.

The operations of APRIL-owned concessions, including those of its long-term suppliers, are controlled by the management of APRIL. This is a fact, said Vanda emphatically.