Under Pressure, Paper Firm to Stop Cutting Indonesia's Natural Forests

Article excerpt

JAKARTA (Reuters) - One of the world's biggest pulp and paper companies said it would stop using timber from Indonesia's natural forests and only use trees from plantations in a drive that an environmental group said may be a milestone if the company keeps its promise.

Tropical Indonesia is seen as an important country in the fight against climate change and is under international pressure to stop rampant deforestation and destruction of carbon-rich peatlands.

Jakarta-based Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP), long accused by environmental groups of plundering Indonesia's rain forests, said it would not use any timber from suppliers that has been cut in natural forest concessions, nor would it cut timber from its own such concessions, under measures it adopted on Feb. 1.

"Only plantation forest,'' Aida Greenbury, managing director of sustainability at APP, told Reuters.

An independent company and member of Indonesia's Sinar Mas brand, APP is a major supplier of paper, pulp and packaging in Asia but been it has been regularly criticised over the years for its clearing of forests.

The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) recently urged HarperCollins, a division of News Corp., not to do business with APP after tests showed that some children's books were printed with rainforest fibre.

Teguh Ganda Wijaya, chairman of the APP Group, said in a statement the company was changing its ways in the interests of sustainability.

"This is a major commitment and investment from APP Group,'' Wijaya said. …