Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) is to sell paper and board made from PEFC-certified Indonesian wood fibre for the first time.
The move, expected by the end of the year, follows the award of Indonesian Forestry Certification Cooperation (IFCC) certification to cover 306,400 hectares of APP suppliers’ plantations.
A further 1m hectares is in the final stages of certification, the group of paper and pulp manufacturers in Indonesia and China said. It has 2.6m hectares of available forest. Previously APP imported its PEFC supply.
In the UK, the change will primarily affect APP’s Extra Print premium pre-print uncoated woodfree range (60-400 gsm), APP’s best-selling UK product, sold through APP’s sales arm Calington.
Extra Print is a long-standing PEFC product but APP having access to its own source of PEFC fibre is likely to lead to an increased availability of PEFC-certified products for UK printers in the long term, something which may affect prices.
In the short term, the company, which has 15 mills in Indonesia and China, with another under construction, said there would be no impact on UK pricing.
The certification is the latest step in APP's initiative to rehabilitate its reputation , launched in 2013, by halting use of virgin rainforest and pushing for the end of all deforestation on the archipelago.
It has since started work with “critical partner” NGOs such as Greenpeace and the Indonesian government in a bid to become 100% certified.
The group has developed an online ‘dashboard’ so customers can track where their supply comes from.
UK and European director, sustainability Lee Henderson said: “We’ve built legality, now we’re starting to build on that with the PEFC. It’s not only risk mitigation for our customers but also to provide that reassurance and gain credibility within the community as a whole.
“There are European Union timber regulations as well, we’ve got to prove the legality side of your fibre. This all helps with risk mitigation.
“We have a legacy, there’s 15 years of negativity that stakeholders have had about the APP. We’ve had to work very hard to address this."
APP managing director, sustainability & stakeholder engagement, Aida Greenbury told PrintWeek in November that APP planned to grow its market share from 5% of the UK paper sales market to 10%-15% by 2020.
It plans to focus on developing products, some bespoke, in its core market of graphical board for packaging applications. Currently this represents 75% of APPs European sales, saving its lower-return commodity products for home markets.
“We are in the growth areas and growth markets where we are working with research and development, we’re working with converters, with brand owners and to develop ideas,” Henderson said.
"The Rainforest Alliance report was critical. We were social pariahs and environmental pariahs among certain groups and we’ve had a complete mindset gear change."
He added: "The UK and Europe is a crucial market to us. We’ve had to introduce these measures not only from a commercial point of view but also from a business health and vitality point of view. We want to be here. We want to have a sustainable business for the next 80 or 100 years.”