As founder and chairman of RGE Group, one of the world’s leading producers of materials such as palm oil, forestry products, and other commodities, Indonesian entrepreneur Sukanto Tanoto works to ensure that his companies meet a high standard of corporate social responsibility. Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), an RGE firm that produces close to 3 million tons of pulp annually, as well as fiber and paper products from its mill in Sumatra’s Riau Province, focuses on sustainable environmental stewardship and is committed to its unprecedented 1-for-1 conservation plan.
APRIL’s Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP) stated that the company pledges conservation areas equal to the size of its plantations – more than 450,000 hectares. This commitment sets a new standard for the pulp and paper industry in Indonesia.
"Sustainability is in the company’s DNA. We’ve had a no-burn policy since we began forestry operations in the 1990s. We’ve been protecting HCV forests since 2005 and working closely with neighboring communities," Praveen Singhavi, president of APRIL told Jakarta Globe.
APRIL’s effort in reforesting Indonesia can been seen in the more than 250,000 hectares of prime forest that has been preserved. Independent conservation assessments to identify and protect High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) are conducted and plantations are developed only on areas that are non-HCVF, in other words, degraded forests.
APRIL created Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER) under a under a government concession and works with partners including Fauna & Flora International, Bidara, to employ an integrated scientific approach to restore and protect 20,265 hectares of peat forest as a biodiverse forest reserve area in Kampar Peninsula. According to a preliminary estimate by WWF-Indonesia, a well-managed Kampar Peninsula could be home to as many as 60 tigers, providing a safe haven to a species that sees only 400 to 500 of their kind left in the wild.
Under the SFMP, APRIL will initiate a new ecosystem restoration project to restore additional 20,000 hectares of degraded peatland at the core zone Pulau Padang.
Praveen said that APRIL’s track record in applying best practice sustainable forestry management through a responsible, managed approach provides confidence that such a 1-for-1 goal is reachable.