Does the paper trade help with the actual trade

Paper from Sumatra in German trade

Indonesian paper made from tropical wood should finally be taken off the market

by Marianne Klute


One of the largest pulp mills in the world is in Indonesia's Riau province. With 2 million tons of pulp produced annually, the capacity of the Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP) plant exceeds that of Toba Pulp Lestari, formerly Indorayon, many times over. RAPP belongs to the APRIL concern of the Raja Garuda Mas Group, as does the Riau Andalan Kertas (RAK) paper mill with a capacity of 350,000 tons of paper. APRIL's official headquarters are in Bermuda and the main office is in Singapore. APRIL is financed by an international bank consortium and deliveries are made to all parts of the world. Germany also purchases paper from APRIL. The German buyers can probably be reassured by APRIL's motto: "APRIL harmoniously combines the notion of land (Asia) and water (Pacific) to communicate our commitment to protect natural resources and improve the environment and communities we touch." / Http: // www.april.com.sg; Friends of the Earth: Paper tiger, hidden dragons 2: APRIL fools. The forest destruction, social conflict and financial crisis of Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Ltd (APRIL), and the role of financial institutions and paper merchants, February 2002 /

The wood for the paper industry based in Riau should actually be felled in wood plantations. However, APRIL's management admits that plantation wood only accounts for 25% of the total and that 75% of rainforest wood is processed. The fact that APRIL does not operate sustainable forestry that is adapted to its capacity in order to secure the new generation of the required raw material wood is not only due to neglect. The reasons are deeper: indebtedness, overcapacity, arrogance towards people and nature. According to APRIL's own assessments, the plantations will not be sufficient to meet demand in the next six years either. This is why valuable tropical trees are felled in the rainforests and entire areas are cleared. Since the start-up of RAPP in 1995, APRIL has accounted for 220,000 hectares of rainforest in Riau. Another 250,000 hectares (according to APRIL: 147,000) will suffer the same fate and will be made into paper. However, Riau no longer has so much forest to offer in the vicinity, as the paper and pulp industry with its high capacities has already largely destroyed the forest. APRIL will continue to destroy natural forests in an “aggressive manner”, process the tree trunks into paper and plant acacias and eucalyptus on the bare areas. No forest will regenerate on these plantation areas. Only alang-alang grass can grow here. But even felling in natural forests is not enough to fill the oversized systems. The appetite for wood can only be satisfied by buying illegally felled wood. Observations by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have confirmed the suspicion: APRIL also processes illegal wood in its RAPP pulp mill and in its RAK paper mill, for example into "Paper One" branded copy paper. / Information Robin Wood, 2002 and 2003 /

Pulp production in Indonesia, and in Sumatra in particular, is an ecological disaster. If the industry does not drastically reduce its production capacity in the short term and cover its raw material requirements exclusively with the plantations created so far, all of Sumatra's lowland forests will have disappeared in two (!) Years. One can only guess where the huge paper mills will get their wood from. Do industrial ruins on bare land then only remind the population that their forest, land and livelihood have long since ended up in wastebasket? And do we know "that the home of the Sumatran elephants wells up as paper from our copiers and printers"? As consumers or traders, we are complicit in the disappearance of the Indonesian rainforest. /http://www.wwf.de/eventticker/event_00586.html/

Indonesian and international non-governmental organizations therefore hold trade accountable. Robin Wood moved in November 2002 with chainsaws and banners (“Indescribable! Papier Union sells paper made from tropical wood!”) In front of the administration building of the German wholesaler Papier Union in Hamburg and protested against the sale of copy paper made from tropical wood. So far, however, the Papier Union has shirked its social and ecological responsibility and has not yet removed APRIL paper from its range. "If Papier Union cares about the preservation of the natural heritage of mankind, the paper trader may no longer buy the overexploited products from corporations like APRIL," demands Robin Wood / Indescribable paper from tropical wood, taz, 20.11.02 /.

The paper trade and printing works were advised that only a disregard for human rights clears the way for the practices of the wood and paper industry. The first production facilities built in the Suharto era were based on illegal expropriations, circumventing traditional land rights. The independent auditing agency SGS found that the RAPP factory was built on land that the local population can claim. But protests have been and are suppressed by the police and the military. One villager was imprisoned for three years and another was kicked to death. An unequivocal warning to all who try to stand in the way of the machinations of those who want to profit from Indonesia's forests was the fate of the journalist Abi Kusno Nachran, who was mutilated with machetes by the timber mafia on Kalimantan. He got lucky. When he was about to be buried, someone discovered that Mr. Nachran was still breathing / “Mutilated by the wood mafia”, in: Indonesia Information No. 3/02 /.

German retailers are still resisting to forego the sale of cheap Indonesian paper. Few dealers are willing to run out of stock. Paper Union is not one of them; the wholesaler tries rather to drive a wedge between the environmental organizations instead of improving its image with confessions and deeds. The Paper Union believes that it can read from the WWF's analysis that APRIL is actually trying to improve the environment. The federal government could lead by example. Through her ownership of Deutsche Post AG she could work towards the fact that the stationery chain McPaper - a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Post AG since 1998 - removes paper from APRIL, which is offered under the brand name “Dunia Mas”, from its range and replaces it with paper from sustainable forestry replaced.

Indonesian non-governmental organizations working with the victims of the paper industry are calling on those in German and European politics and business to stop investing in the Indonesian pulp and paper industry. We as German consumers are called upon to become aware of the environmental degradation and the social consequences of paper consumption. <>