December 19, 2009
Fidelis E Satriastanti & Belinda Lopez The Jakarta Globe
Greenpeace Takes Shot At Sinar Mas Pulp And Paper
A day after Indonesian officials at the UN Climate talks praised PT Sinar Mas, the country’s largest palm oil producer, for its sustainable operations, international conservation group Greenpeace took another swing at Sinar Mas, this time taking aim at its pulp and paper arm.
The Greenpeace report launched in Beijing on Thursday entitled, “APP: Thirty Years of Forests Destruction,” said Sinar Mas subsidiary Asia Pulp & Paper has been responsible for clearing away an immense amount of forest land over the last three decades.
Joko Arif, a member of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said independent laboratory results from five samples of paper produced by APP showed three of the samples contained mixed tropical hardwood pulp originating from protected forests in Indonesia.
“Businesses and the public are voting with their conscience, and their wallets, against companies like Sinar Mas, but the government has yet to do anything even though the company has clearly broken national laws and are undermining President Yudhoyono’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Joko said.
“SBY should order an immediate review of all Sinar Mas concession permits and investigate their illegal forest destruction activities,” he added.
APP emitted 5.1 tons of carbon for every ton of pulp logged in natural forests, and 29 tons of carbon from peatland forests, according to Greenpeace’s report.
Greenpeace has also criticized the Sinar Mas’s palm oil division recently. Although Indonesian delegates in Copenhagen on Wednesday night defended the palm oil industry’s sustainability, another Greenpeace report the week before accused the country’s largest palm oil producer of deception and illegal practices.
In the reports, Greenpeace accuses the company of clearing land without permits, including peatland forests, which breaches Indonesian law and criteria set by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, a collective of oil producers of which Sinar Mas is a member.
Of the country’s much-lauded commitment to reduce its emissions by 26 percent before 2020, Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said 9.6 percent would come from making the nation’s plantations more efficient. A 2009 decree on environmental protection plans to use law enforcement, improved technology and better management to ensure these efforts,” Hatta told a news conference.
Agriculture Minister Suswono said that despite “mismanagement in the past,” the focus in the future will be on increasing the production of existing palm oil plantations, instead of converting more forest land.
“As a developing country we need to use our land and natural resources to provide people with better personal income,” Suswono said, adding that the palm oil industry had provided food, infrastructure and electricity in underdeveloped parts of the nation.