A New Way of Thinking: Fiber Age Should Set the Benchmark for Environmental Standards
TORONTO, Canada – Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) today confirmed that by 2015 it will source 100 percent of its Indonesian pulpwood from plantations (tree farms), as part of its recently-launched Sustainability Roadmap for 2020 and beyond. The company’s prediction that it will be wholly plantation-reliant by 2015 puts APP 10 years ahead of the publicly-stated goals coming out of other global paper industry players.
“The old way of gauging a paper product’s sustainability was to look at percent of recycled content, but this should not be the only barometer,” remarked Ian Lifshitz, North American director of sustainability and public affairs for APP. “Fiber age is equally if not more important. Our business aim is to be wholly reliant on tree farms in Southeast Asia, and trees from these plantations can be harvested, re-planted, re-grown and harvested again in just six years. That is obviously in stark contrast to the process of harvesting old-growth trees in North America – a process that takes 70 to 80 years.”
APP’s move to plantation-only fiber is a win for the environment, as the overall demand for paperboard and related products continues to grow globally and cannot be sustainably supported by harvesting natural forests. According to Finnish price indexing firm FOEX, global paper and paperboard deliveries may, for the first time, exceed 400 million tons for the first time this calendar year. APP is committed to meeting growing global demand and offering customers sustainable options.
Fortunately, sustainable tree farms in Southeast Asia enjoy an optimal ecosystem that allows for accelerated growth and shortened maturity cycles compared to trees grown in the Northern Hemisphere. These plantations are designed to grow and harvest trees in the same manner as crops such as corn or wheat, ensuring a rapidly-renewable global supply of paper while natural forests remain untouched. Equatorial plantation trees are characterized by young fiber – which is able to absorb carbon more quickly than older trees – representing an added benefit for the environment.
“There are so many misconceptions about what it takes to be environmentally conscious,” added Lifshitz. “For example, despite all its benefits, recycling does require intense amounts of energy and chemicals for the de-inking process. The important thing to remember is that trees grow back. In that regard, they should be considered a crop, and nowhere in the world do trees grow faster than in Indonesia and China.”
Indeed, the higher yield and the speed-to-market of trees grown in Southeast Asia is revolutionizing the supply chain of forest products in terms of meeting not only burgeoning global demand, but also fulfilling increasingly stringent international criteria for sustainable sourcing.
“APP is committed to an all-plantation business model, not only to help meet growing global demand for paperboard, but also to protect natural forests and the precious ecosystems within them,” continued Lifshitz. “It’s our obligation as one of the world’s largest pulp and paper companies to ensure our customers feel confident that their paperboard is sustainable and that its raw materials are completely traceable across every step of the supply chain.”
Today’s confirmation follows APP’s recent announcement that its production mills are the first in Indonesia to achieve SVLK certification, the country’s new stringent wood legality standard.
About APP Indonesia:
Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) is a brand umbrella for paper products, which are produced by several mills in Indonesia such as PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper Tbk, PT Pindo Deli Pulp & Paper Mills, PT Pabrik Kertas Tjiwi Kimia Tbk, PT Lontar Papyrus Pulp & Paper Industries, and PT Ekamas Fortuna. APP is headquartered in Indonesia and markets its product to more than 120 countries. Most of APP’s production facilities are Chain-of-Custody certified by LEI and PEFC. APP supports several main conservation initiatives, including a 178,000 hectare Biosphere Reserve in Giam Siak Kecil – Bukit Batu and an area of 106,000 hectares for the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary. Both are located in the province of Riau, Sumatera. Other APP wildlife preservation initiatives include the support of the Kutai Orangutan Program in Kalimantan and the conservation of the Javan Rhino in Ujung Kulon National Park.
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Redita Soumi, APP Indonesia