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11 Oct 2019

Joshua Martin, Environmental Paper Network

Indonesia: Study reveals Asia Pulp & Paper/Sinar Mas involvement in hundreds of community conflicts

"New Study Reveals Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) Involved in Hundreds of Conflicts with Local Communities as Haze Crisis in Indonesia Intensifies," 01 October 2019

A new report conducted by a coalition of Indonesian organizations and the Environmental Paper Network has found that Asia Paper & Pulp (APP), one of the world’s largest pulp and paper companies, is involved in hundreds of conflicts with communities across the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo. The research results show that in just five provinces of Indonesia, at least 107 villages or communities are in active conflict with APP affiliates or its suppliers...

The controversial expansion of APP’s pulpwood plantations has had vast social impacts on local communities, including land-grabbing and displacement of local populations –– sometimes involving brutal violence. Similarly, APP has been connected to forest fire crises in the past. Notably, Singapore temporarily banned APP products from being sold in 2015 after the company was strongly linked to the haze crisis that may have prematurely killed 100,000 people that year. Although the company has issued commitments to resolve all of these social conflicts, the new report finds that little has changed. 

APP itself has admitted to the existence of hundreds of conflicts between their wood suppliers and local communities, claiming to have mapped the conflicts and to have resolved 49 percent of land disputes associated with its operations. But no specific information –– including names or locations of the villages, size of areas involved, details about the process, or outcomes –– has been shared with the public.

Results of the independent research...show that APP is far from implementing its own commitments to resolve social conflicts. APP has failed its commitment towards “complete transparency” declining to share detailed information about social conflicts, as well as full reports on biodiversity values and peat assessments in its suppliers’ concessions.