The Indonesian Ministry of Forestry (MoF) has said paper manufacturer Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) was not illegally logging an endangered tree species after a Greenpeace investigation found ramin at one of its plants.
Greenpeace reported to the MoF that a year-long investigation found traces of the endangered tree species at APP’s Indah Kiat Perawang mill. Ramin is protected under Indonesian law and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and those trading in it are required to possess a licence.
Ramin was discovered in APP’s log yard, as Greenpeace suggested, but it had been quarantined after it failed to pass APP’s control points and was identified as unqualified wood. The MoF, which investigated the incident, suggested the logs had made it into the supply chain by mistake.
At a press conference making the announcement, MoF director general of nature conservation Mr Darori said: "Indeed we found ramin in APP's supply but it was not their fault - the logs were delivered by suppliers. Furthermore, these ramin logs were not processed by APP."
APP said it had reported to the Indonesian authorities, but as logging of ramin is not a criminal offence, it would only face further action if it was found to be handling the endangered tree.
APP managing director of sustainability Aida Greenbury said: "If we find that a supplier is not compliant with our policies, we give them a time frame to enforce corrective actions to abide by these. If this does not happen, APP will reaffiliate the contract or disengage with the supplier."
Mr Darori said: "I would recommend that APP ask its suppliers for a licence to process ramin. In return we will ask APP to develop and plant more ramin trees so someday it will no longer be a part of the CITES appendix."
APP’s products currently consist of around 10-12% mixed timber hardwood (MTH) fibres, as enforced by Indonesian law to ensure that MTH residues from concession areas are incorporated into saleable wood products to prevent further degradation or burning.
The company aims to limit the quantity of MTH in the future, claiming the quality is not adequate for APP products.
APP is voluntarily undergoing an assessment to be awarded High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) accreditation, an internationally-recognised standard to be decided in 2013.
Greenbury said: "It is a challenging path but I am sure we will get the accreditation. The HCVF commits APP to the highest standards in the world and we will transparently report all our business every three months to tie in with our responsible sourcing policies.
"We will ensure that our Natural Forest Policy will apply to all of our current mill operations and any future expansion."