APRIL Refutes Canopy’s ‘High Risk’ Classification with Independently Verified Sustainable Forest Management

view stands: this is a subjective categorization that demonstrates an exclusionary approach and risks undermining the objectivity of Canopy’s assessment framework.

Since 2015, APRIL and Canopy have met multiple times to address issues raised by Canopy and to offer a contextual understanding of the local landscapes. Canopy has also visited APRIL’s operations and the RER restoration area. This engagement has been led by APRIL’s Chairman Bey Soo Khiang and included representatives from APRIL’s various advisory groups to provide Canopy as many opportunities as possible to discuss progress and ongoing challenges.

However, the continued misrepresentation of the Island of Sumatra – home to more than 50 million people – as consisting entirely of what Canopy calls ‘ancient and endangered forest’ essentially renders any sustainable agriculture and plantation forestry in Sumatra as high-risk. Indonesia has the fourth largest population in the world and the tenth largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity. It is a significant producer and market for textiles and apparel in its own right, and an exclusionary approach will not be conducive to the advancement of a sustainable and circular value chain model that supports the global fashion industry’s sustainability agenda.

Our company believes that forest conservation can sit side-by-side with responsible development and we have demonstrated that with transparent actions and serious investment, supported by a host of independent advisors, NGOs and certification programs. We acknowledge that sustainability is a continuing process of improvement and that challenges remain particularly in third party supply which we’re working hard to address and welcome inputs from stakeholders. However, we also have a track record of progress in sustainable forest management, based on which we encourage a critical examination of the claims made by Canopy, and we offer the following evidence:

  • All of APRIL’s wood supply is 100% legal, traceable and comes from renewable plantations that are certified under global and national forest management standards.[3]
  • APRIL’s Sustainable Forest Management Policy commits us to no deforestation and no new peatland development across our supply chain [1], whether from our own sources or from our suppliers. All wood supply must be in compliance with our sustainability policy. Annual independent third-party assurance audits show that we have adhered to these commitments.[2]
  • In establishing its plantations in the past, APRIL only developed degraded forest areas into plantations based on the conduct of High Conservation Value assessments which were adopted from 2005. This means APRIL does not operate on or source fiber from Ancient and Endangered Forests. Starting 2015, APRIL also adopted the High Carbon Stock Approach which needs to be conducted prior to any new development.
  • We conserve or restore 369,420 hectares of forest in Indonesia, including 150,000 hectares of peat forest as part of the Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER) program. We aim to reach a 1-for-1 target where we protect one hectare of conservation forest for every hectare of our plantation and have accomplished 81% of this target.[4]
  • Some of APRIL’s concession areas are on peatland.[5] We have gone to significant lengths to effectively and scientifically manage peatland to mitigate impacts, measure our GHG emissions and maintain hydrological balance. [6] APRIL’s Independent Peat Expert Working Group (IPEWG) was formed in 2016 to provide objective science-based recommendations to inform our responsible peatland management strategy.[7] The IPEWG consists of six peatland scientists from UK, Finland and Indonesia.
  • We have not established a new pulp mill and have only converted one of our pulp production lines to dissolving pulp.
  • More than 80% of our energy comes from a renewable source which is a byproduct of the manufacturing process, while 90% of our water is reused and more than 95% of our chemicals recovered. This results in high rates of resource efficiency in the manufacture of dissolving pulp for viscose.
  • Despite complex land ownership and mapping processes in Indonesia, APRIL has no major social or community disputes. All grievances filed with the company are transparently documented on our Sustainability Dashboard, and we are working directly with the parties involved and with government to resolve outstanding land claims.

The most recent audit of APRIL’s implementation of its sustainability policy was completed by KPMG PRI Canada in April 2019 and the report will be published in July. Meantime, the 2018 audit report, which concludes that all key commitments have been generally upheld, is publicly available.[8]

We remain keen to engage in a constructive dialogue with Canopy, and to work with all other stakeholders and industry players in shaping a vision for sustainable viscose that supports global climate and development goals in a balanced and inclusive manner.

[1] See: Sustainable Forest Management Policy 2.0, Section I and II
[2]Report on APRIL Group’s Implementation of Sustainable Forest Management Policy 2.0,’ KPMG Performance Registrar Inc., July 2018
[3] See: ‘Report on APRIL Group’s Implementation of Sustainable Forest Management Policy 2.0,’ pp.17-26.
[4]Empowering Development: APRIL Sustainability Report, 2017,’p.6.
[5]Empowering Development: APRIL Sustainability Report, 2017,’p.6.
[6]Empowering Development: APRIL Sustainability Report, 2017,’p.17.
[7] See: APRIL Sustainability Dashboard, ‘About IPEWG’
[8]Report on APRIL Group’s Implementation of Sustainable Forest Management Policy 2.0,’ KPMG Performance Registrar Inc., July 2018.

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