Making the Case for Production-Protection
The benefits of APRIL’s production-protection model, where productive fibre plantations effectively fund and protect conservation forest areas, were highlighted during discussions at a number of international forums recently, namely the Responsible Business Forum, Innovation Forum and UNFCCC COP 25.
Speaking at the Innovation Forum’s Sustainable Landscapes and Commodities Forum in London, Lucita Jasmin, Director of Sustainability and External Affairs, APRIL Group, explained the model’s effectiveness in an Indonesian landscape context as a way to protect conservation forest and advance forest restoration to a gathering of international sustainability professionals, conservation experts and NGOs.
“Our production-protection model recognises that development and sustainability must be seen as two sides of the same coin particularly in a developing economy context such as in Indonesia. “Apart from the economic contribution at local and national levels, production supports conservation and restoration by providing financial resources and technical and operational capacity. Production areas also serve as a physical landscape buffer, which helps prevent fire and deforestation,” she said. Her remarks were part of a wider discussion on the need for collaboration across public and private sectors to address land use, social and environmental issues in Indonesia and elsewhere. “Ultimately, our model acknowledges the needs of the different actors in the landscape. This is why it is absolutely essential to find a balance between economic development, social empowerment, and environmental conservation.”
The need for collaboration to support forest conservation and restoration was also emphasized at COP 25 in Madrid by Sihol Aritonang, President Director of PT. Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper, the operating arm of APRIL Group. At a discussion in the Indonesia Pavilion at COP 25, he spoke about the Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER) program as an example of how different actors from the public and private sectors can work together on major sustainability programs. “As a private sector actor, we work with national and provincial Government authorities, NGOs and communities on the protection of what was formerly degraded land,” he said.
The RER program also featured on an Innovation Forum webinar, held in advance of the conference in London, where Lucita Jasmin and Brad Sanders, Deputy Head of Conservation, APRIL Group, discussed the ecosystem restoration program as an example of production-protection in action. The RER program on the Kampar Peninsula in Riau province, in Sumatra, Indonesia, covers more than 150,000ha – about the size of London – and is made up of five concessions operating under 60-year ecosystem restoration licenses granted by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry.
“In most developing countries, public funds are normally not available or adequate for conservation initiatives, and those funds that are available normally do not come with long-term strategies, said Sanders. “This is our way of protecting our conservation initiatives from market downturns. The model also allows the company to fund R&D and research into peatland management and GHG emissions”.
The importance of the production-protection model in protecting the RER was also highlighted last month at Responsible Business Forum, in Singapore. Speaking on a panel on landscape restoration and biodiversity, Nyoman Iswarayoga, Director of External Affairs, RER, said the model was an example of how peat forests could be responsibly managed as part of a wider landscape approach. “For us, a landscape approach brings together stakeholders to achieve a balance between multiple and sometimes conflicting objectives in a landscape. Production-protection enables us to implement this approach,” he said.
Nyoman Iswarayoga, Director of External Affairs, RER, speaking at RBF
Meanwhile, also at the Responsible Business Forum, APRIL Chairman, Bey Soo Khiang, joined the event’s opening plenary to share his view on how circular business approaches can contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Citing APRIL’s production-protection model as an example, he discussed the alignment between specific SDGs and circular approaches to sustainable forest management, including protecting and restoring biodiversity in HCV forests, eliminating waste, and using proven clean technology for closed loop manufacturing. “By 2030, we plan to substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse,” said Mr. Bey.