Indonesia: Pulp and paper giant APRIL Group to step up forest conservation 1 Dec 15;

Pulp and paper giant APRIL Group announced on Tuesday that it would double its peatland restoration activities in Indonesia and invest $100 million for the next ten years in conservation and restoration activities.

Tony Wenas, managing director of APRIL Group Indonesia Operations, said that the firm would increase peatland restoration activities to 150,000 hectares within the next decade, adding that the commitment was included in the Riau Ecosystem Restoration (RER) program.

The firm is also to increase its restoration of peatland areas by 150,000 hectares, reaching a total 400,000, nearly six times the size of Singapore.

The investment follows the company's Sustainable Forest Management Policy announced earlier this year, in which it pledged to cleanse its supply chain of any link to deforestation.

"This commitment illustrates how private-sector organizations can support climate goals not just in terms of pledges but by going beyond them and actually putting resources on the table," Tony said in a press statement on Tuesday.

Anderson Tanoto, a shareholder of APRIL Group and director at conglomerate Royal Golden Eagle, ARIL's parent company, said that the global community had an opportunity to make a difference for the future at the ongoing COP21 climate conference in Paris.

"This investment indicates our broader business case for restoration, which encompasses the value of ecosystem services and the need to have an inclusive approach with the community," he said in the statement.

The company cooperated with international environmental NGO Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and local NGO Bidara to establish the RER program in 2013. Its main purpose was to protect and restore peatland areas in Riau's Kampar peninsula, the largest peatland areas in Southeast Asia.

Indonesia’s peatland areas are among the most sensitive ecosystems in the world.

Kampar's tropical forests are also known for their biodiversity, and are home to endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger and the sun bear.

APRIL's RER restoration area was protected from burning during recent forest and peatland fires. (rin)

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