A major victory for rainforest conservation came this month as the world’s third largest paper supply company announced it would end its involvement with rainforest deforestation in Indonesia. The Jakarta-based company, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), has faced years of pressure from local and international NGOs, like Greenpeace, to reform its practices and stop rainforest clearing.
In addition to APP’s public commitment, the company also adopted a “Forest Conservation Policy,” which outlines protocol initiatives to enforce its goals and commitments with regard to land management.
Part of the policy that may have been particularly significant to Indonesian Goldman Prize winner Loir Botor Dingit (d. 2005), outlines new protocol to ensure that local communities are consulted about any new plantation development plans on their land. Loir Botor Dingit won the Goldman Prize in 1997 for his efforts to protect the land rights of his native Dayak tribespeople against illegal land-grabbing and logging by timber companies.
An aerial survey from Greenpeace shows an area of deforestation in Sumatra. Photo: AFP/Getty
Another Goldman Prize winner that may be affected by APP’s decision is Prigi Arisandi. Arisandi was awarded the Prize in 2011 for leading the campaign to clean-up and protect the Surabaya River. Arisandi’s work closely monitors Indonesia’s watershed, which is affected by industrial pollution from companies like APP and other resource extraction projects.
APP’s announcement may be part of an encouraging trend seeing major corporations moving toward more sustainable practices. In October 2012, Disney, the world’s largest publisher of children’s books, announced that it would change its purchasing policies to reduce paper use and avoid paper harvested from endangered forests. We hope more companies make the move toward sustainability and a better future for our planet.