2016-06-07

Peat Agency Chief calls APP an uncooperative business group


JAKARTA
(foresthints.news) - Chief of the Indonesian Peat Restoration Agency, Nazir Foead, has roundly denounced Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), one of the world's largest pulp and paper producers, for being uncooperative with the peat agency.

“It’s just APP that hasn’t provided the data required by the peat agency in order to expedite its peat restoration efforts. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of hectares of the burned peatlands are located in concessions under the control of APP,” Nazir told foresthints.news on Monday (Jun 6) in Jakarta.

“It's very strange that a business group like APP has failed to cooperate with BRG (the peat agency). It's almost as if they never even read the presidential regulation that established BRG. One of BRG's duties is the restoration of the 2015 burned peatlands, many of which are situated in APP-linked concessions,” Nazir remonstrated.

Seemingly annoyed, Nazir also said it is apparent that APP wishes to control the peat agency with respect to their obligation to submit relevant data to the government.

“I’m sorry, but neither the peat agency nor the Environment and Forestry Ministry is willing to be dictated to whatsoever by APP. We are the ones in government so we call the shots, not APP. They mustn’t even try to dictate to us.”

He suggested that certain companies were not taking up the opportunities presented to them to engage in dialogue and debate regarding the data and information they have about peat restoration efforts that concern their concessions.

“We are not the ones with the data. On the contrary, we are giving companies the chance to share their data regarding their concessions so that peat restoration efforts involving these concessions can be supported by a set of data from the companies in question.”

Nazir pointed out that his institution was tasked with coordinating peatland restoration efforts in seven priority provinces. APP, he added, needs to gain a proper understanding of the coordinated efforts being undertaken by the peat agency, not least because the pulp and paper giant has a supply chain in four of the seven priority provinces.

“Let’s take the province of South Sumatra as an example. This is classified as a priority province along with two regencies in the province. Why were these places designated as priority areas? It’s because severe peat burning took place in APP-linked pulpwood concessions there last year.”

Nazir further highlighted APP’s incompliance by describing how data from the Environment and Forestry Ministry released in March 2016 revealed that of the almost 300 thousand hectares of peatland burned in South Sumatra, in excess of 200 thousand hectares were located in concession areas, most notably in APP-linked pulpwood concessions.

The Agency Chief ended by issuing a warning to APP, condemning its lack of respect towards the peat agency.

“Don't assume the peat agency has no authority. It would be completely mistaken to think that and to try and manipulate the peat agency. I warn you not to try pit us against the ministry (of the Environment and Forestry). I will deal sternly with any company that dares to do this.”

APP had not responded to a request from foresthints.news to comment on the Peat Agency Chief's remarks by the deadline given to them.