Our vision is to be one of the world’s largest, best-managed and sustainable pulp and paper companies; the preferred supplier to our customers, and the employer of choice among our people. This report, and the work that underpins it, demonstrates our continued progress towards this goal.
This report covers the period from the beginning of 2013 to the end of 2014. In that time we launched our Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP), applying a set of commitments and standards across our company and its long-term suppliers. In establishing our SFMP, we reaffirm that to be a viable business in the long-term we must operate sustainably in the best interest of our business, customers and partners, the environment and communities where we operate.
Since its publication, our SFMP has proven to be an effective catalyst, steering our progress under the guidance and counsel of an independent Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC), NGOs and civil society partners. The SAC provides independent oversight of our SFMP implementation. As at December 2014, the SAC has met twice and made a series of recommendations to APRIL Group management and its sustainability team. The SAC also appointed KPMG Performance Registrar Inc. to assess the SFMP’s implementation with its results and recommendations released in November 2014.
Our SFMP will continue to evolve as we progress further along our 15-year plus journey towards a sustainable forestry model that balances renewable plantation alongside forest protection and conservation, where we work towards conserving one hectare for every hectare planted.
Since 2005, we have conducted High Conservation Value (HCV) assessments before proceeding with plantation development, resulting in the conservation of more than 250,000 hectares of HCV forest. In addition, eco-system restoration projects contribute a further 40,000 hectares, ensuring that sensitive ecosystems and wildlife are effectively protected.
We are pleased to report, that wildlife listed as rare, threatened and endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has been identified inside the ecosystem restoration area by camera monitors installed to assess the area’s biodiversity. This includes the Sumatran tiger, Sunda Clouded Leopard, Malay Civet and Crestless Firebacks. This information is now being calibrated by our conservation teams and integrated into the conservation plan for the area.
No less important are the community engagement initiatives we have implemented alongside these restoration projects as a pioneering example of public-private sector partnership.
Part of APRIL Group’s ongoing commitment is to create jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities in Indonesia’s rural areas and contributing to the country’s social and economic development. Thus far, we have generated 90,000 employment opportunities, with more than 5,400 directly employed. We also continue to invest in Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) development, infrastructure as well as education and heath programmes to build human capability and foster economic growth in the communities where we operate.
We remain commited to our programmes to reduce the impact of fire and haze. In 2014, APRIL Group introduced a pilot project to incentivize villagers in Sering, Pulau Muda, Teluk Meranti and Teluk Binjai to adopt no-burn policies and prevent land or forest fires within their areas. Under the program, APRIL Group acknowledges the efforts of villages that successfully prevent land and forest fire for three consecutive months. This is proving to to be a successful programme and continues to evolve.
In conclusion, I wish to thank those whose efforts have contributed to our continuous improvement across our operations during this reporting period. Your efforts in ensuring our SFMP is implemented on the ground in our plantation and conservation areas, in the community and at our mill, ensure we remain on track to achieve our sustainability goals and operate every day in a way that is consistent with our founder’s vision.