APP addresses report on soaring acacia fiber supply 

(foresthints.news) - Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) argues that the ten-fold rise in the acacia fiber supply going into its OKI mills last year was because 2017 represented a full year of operations, in contrast to 2016 when the new mill had just started up in December.

Meanwhile, with regard to the planned increase of more than 21% in acacia fiber supply this year compared to last year, APP has insisted that this step up still leaves the mill below its licensed capacity.

These statements were delivered by APP’s Sustainability Director Elim Sritaba to foresthints.news (Mar 19) in response to the outcome of an analysis conducted by Greenomics Indonesia which uncovered the aforementioned ten-fold surge in acacia fiber supply to OKI mills last year, as previously reported by foresthints.news (Mar 15).

The photos below, taken by foresthints.news last year, show acacia fiber being supplied to OKI mills. Greenomics has emphasized that last year’s ten-fold growth in acacia fiber supply for OKI mills still only amounted to a mere 63% of APP’s planned target.

Not all acacia fiber allowed

Sritaba explained that not all acacia fiber is allowed to enter OKI and two other existing APP mills since APP declared its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) in early February 2013.

She gave a recent example of a company, which is not part of its existing supply chains, that offered acacia fiber to APP. After conducting a spatial and ground check, according to Sritaba, APP discovered that this acacia fiber was linked to the clearing of high carbon stock (HCS) and high conservation value (HCV) areas after 2013.

She went on to say that this offer of acacia fiber was automatically rejected by APP as it contravened the company’s Responsible Fiber Procurement and Processing Policy.

The following photos are of acacia plantations spread among the three APP pulpwood concessions in South Sumatra’s OKI regency which are targeted for harvesting in the coming years to serve as the main sources of acacia fiber supply for OKI mills.

The Greenomics analysis found that almost 65% of the acacia fiber supply for OKI mills derived from the three APP pulpwood concessions in South Sumatra’s OKI regency, while more than 25% came from the pulp and paper giant’s concessions situated in South Sumatra’s Muba regency.

As such, in total over 90% of the acacia fiber supply for OKI mills originated from these two regencies, both of which are among the four peat restoration priority regencies designated by President Joko Widodo in early January 2016 due to their being so badly affected by 2015’s peat fires.

The remaining less than 10% of acacia fiber supply for OKI mills, according to the Greenomics analysis, came from APP’s pulpwood concessions operating in the provinces of Riau, Jambi and West Kalimantan.

Independent audit required

A number of environmental NGO groups, including WWF, RAN, Wetlands International as well as Indonesia’s largest environmental NGO WALHI, have requested that APP allow an independent audit to be carried out on its pulp production and wood supply to which they should be invited as observers.

This coalition of NGOs fears APP will revert to the clearing of natural forests as a means of feeding its new and existing mills, thereby creating new adverse environmental and social impacts.

In regard to this issue, Sritaba gave an assurance that the wood supplied to APP's mills, including OKI mills, is 100% sourced from acacia plantations, meaning it does not contain any natural forest fiber.

This is consistent with numerous statements given to foresthints.news over the past two years in which APP has constantly reaffirmed that its operations will always remain bound to its FCP, meaning zero deforestation of HCS and HCV areas, including no new peat development regardless of depth.