Back in March, I attended the 2nd High Level Market Dialogue 2012 which focused on boosting the exports of Indonesian timber products to Europe, the United States, Japan and China and ensuring those products meet the highest standards of legal, verifiable wood from sustainable managed forests.
This event represented another significant step towards world-class timber production in Indonesia, as my colleagues and forestry partners worked together with the Government of Indonesia to create a set of standards and practices for SVLK (Wood Legality Verification System). The SVLK is Indonesia’s legality verification system for wood and wood-based products, which ensures wood products exported from the country are legal and traceable to verified points of origin. Though Indonesia is a developing country with a young forestry industry compared to most nations, this progressive certification program highlights our country’s serious commitment to developing a thriving and sustainable forestry industry that will benefit our citizens long-term.
At the event, our Sustainability Director and other representatives of the forestry associations pledged to fully support a new SVLK declaration. This declaration includes eight practical steps that any company, stakeholder or trade partner can implement in an effort to support the Indonesian government’s work to achieve world-class timber production and trade standards. These steps help all levels in the forestry industry – from smaller, community-based companies to larger trade partners – work together so that only legally verified wood products enter the global market.
As an Indonesian wood-based industry, APP fully supports the new SVLK declaration and is committed to the complete implementation of Indonesia’s national timber legality and traceability standards. APP finalized its SVLK audit preparation earlier this year and I’m pleased to report that the full audit is currently being implemented by an independent auditing body, with a target deadline for completion by the end of 2012.
In fact, in the past two months three of our mills became the first paper mills in Indonesia to be officially certified under SVLK. It was followed with another two mills certified under SVLK which as of today there are six APP mills that have received the SVLK certificate.
As the first Indonesian company to achieve certification under this new scheme, we are extremely proud of this development. The certifications of our mills represent a significant milestone, advancing APP further toward the goals set out in our 2020 Sustainability Roadmap. SVLK provides assurance to our trading partners, customers and ultimately consumers that the products we provide are third-party verified and achieve our nation’s stringent legality and chain-of-custody standards.
While SVLK certification is an important goal for Indonesian companies nationally, it also has vast implications internationally. In April 2011, Indonesia and the European Union made an agreement that the SVLK certification would be recognized as the credible system to guarantee the legality of timber from Indonesia. While the details are still being finalized, once implemented this effectively means that SVLK certified products will have a stamp of approval from our own government and the European Union.
It is in our best interest and the best interest of the communities and economies of Indonesia to achieve the SVLK standards. The pulp and paper industry is an essential part of Indonesia’s emerging economy, but processes must be put in place to ensure that all growth is responsible and sustainable. As we become a larger part of the global forestry-based industry, adherence to these standards will remain a top priority for APP and our partners in the forestry and forestry-based industry.