One of the world’s largest paper companies is destroying Indonesia’s rainforests, the global environmental group Greenpeace said Tuesday.
Greenpeace said the Asia Pulp and Paper Co (APP), a unit of the Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas Group, used logs from two rainforest areas on Sumatra island, home to the endangered Sumatran tigers and orangutans as well as carbon-rich peatlands, to feed its paper mills.
“Sinar Mas is operating on a business model that will see the destruction of our precious remaining rainforests and will secure Indonesia’s ranking as the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet,” Greenpeace’s South-East Asia campaigner Bustar Maitar said.
Asia Pulp and Paper insisted it was not violating Indonesian laws.
“Operating in Indonesia, APP needs to, first, comply with national law and regulations and, second, support the country’s plan to achieve sustainable development,” it said.
Greenpeace said its report “How Sinar Mas is Pulping the Planet” showed how major international companies were complicit in driving the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests and peatlands by sourcing paper from the company.
The report said a two-year logging moratorium declared by the Indonesian government as part of a 1—billion-dollar deal with Norway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be undermined if it did not cover all forest and peatlands.
“Millions of hectares of forests — including hundreds of thousands of hectares under Sinar Mas control — are not part of the deal with Norway,” Maitar said.
Environmentalists said deforestation and peatland destruction accounted for the vast majority of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
They said Indonesia is the world’s third—largest polluter after China and the United States, mainly as a result of the ongoing destruction of its forests and their peaty soils.
Globally, 1 million hectares of forests are destroyed every month — an area the size of a football pitch every 2 seconds — emitting so much carbon dioxide that deforestation is blamed for about 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.