APRIL Group Announces Expanded RER Eco-restoration Project
As governments meet in Paris to finalize a global climate treaty, APRIL Group has announced it is more than doubling its peatland restoration commitment in Indonesia to 150,000 hectares and investing US$100 million over the next decade in conservation and restoration.
This increased commitment to Riau Ecosystem Restoration (RER) is believed to be the largest investment by a private sector company in a single eco-restoration project in Indonesia, covering assessment, restoration, protection and management and partnerships.
“Sustainability, conservation, restoration and inclusive growth for the local community must be the core of every business strategy,” Anderson Tanoto, shareholder of APRIL and Director of RGE said in his remarks at the RER expansion announcement at the Indonesian Pavilion at COP21, Paris.
“We hope our announcement will be one of many from the private sector as it plays its part in the COP21…The global community can come together and make a real difference,” he said.
The RER programme, which was established by APRIL Group in partnership with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and local NGO Bidara in 2013, protects and restores important peatland areas on the Kampar Peninsula in Indonesia’s Riau Province under eco-restoration licenses granted by the Indonesian Government.
Indonesia’s peatland areas are some of the most sensitive ecosystems in the world, while the Kampar Peninsula landscape is one of the largest peatland areas in Southeast Asia. Kampar’s tropical forests are rich in biodiversity and support endangered wildlife species, including the Sumatran tiger, bearded pig and sun bear.
The RER expansion announcement was held at the Indonesia Pavilion at the COP21 in Paris following a panel discussion on landscape-level peatland restoration by the Director General of Sustainable Forest Management of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Putera Parthama, Deputy of Food and Agriculture of the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs Musdalifah Mahmud and Global Managing Director of Land at The Nature Conservancy, Justin Adams.
Rachmat Witoelar, climate change special envoy of the President of the Republic of Indonesia witnesses the announcement of APRIL’s additional commitment to restore ecologically important peat forest at Kampar Peninsula, Riau province, Indonesia.
During the panel discussion, Dr. Petrus Gunarso, APRIL’s Conservation Director, presents the details of the multi-year Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER) project that has entered its third year.
“RER is about collaboration between private sector, community and NGOs,” Dr. Gunarso said. “In our experience, we’ve learned that unless we protect conservation areas it will be vulnerable to encroachment.”
Drawing on the expertise of APRIL Group, FFI and Bidara as well as local communities, RER employs a four-phase model of protection, assessment, restoration and management to rejuvenate previously degraded areas of forest and peatland. This model, complemented by APRIL’s Fire Free Village Programme and water management strategies, ensured that the Kampar Peninsula largely remained free of fire during the recent haze crisis.
This commitment illustrates how private sector organizations like APRIL Group can support Indonesia’s climate goals, going beyond pledges and committing investment and resources on the ground.
It is also indicative of APRIL Group’s broader business case for restoration that encompasses the value of ecosystem services and the need to have an inclusive approach with the community. As the RER project evolves, APRIL’s programmes will continue to deliver environmental benefits, economic opportunity through jobs and infrastructure, as well as social progress for local communities.
APRIL Group’s conservation and restoration activities delivered and committed now account for 400,000 ha – 150,000 in restoration and 250,000 in conservation – of forest in Indonesia, an area close to six times the size of Singapore, while nearly matching its commercial plantation area.
This 1-for-1 goal of conservation to planted area is one of the commitments made by the company under its strengthened Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP) announced six months ago, which ensured deforestation was eliminated from its supply chain.
More on RER: http://www.rekoforest.org/