Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) welcomes the announcement by President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and President Donald Tusk of the European Council that the European Union and Indonesia are ready to move towards the start of the first ever Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) licensing scheme.
The announcement is based on the joint assessment that Indonesia is fully ready to implement the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), a form of bilateral trade agreement agreed through the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) action plan. The VPA with Indonesia aims to guarantee that any wood products exported from Indonesia to the EU comes from legal sources. Under the VPA, Indonesia developed the SVLK system to verify that its export of timber-based products are legal, and the EU agreed to accept only licensed imports from Indonesia.
A related regulation, the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) aims to reduce illegal logging by ensuring that no illegal timber or timber products can be sold in the EU by placing responsibility for control through due diligence on to EU businesses. The VPA once fully implemented, will enable Indonesia’s SVLK system to begin issuing V- legal licenses, enabling EU businesses to automatically demonstrate compliance with the EUTR.
The start of the FLEGT scheme represents a landmark development in the global campaign against illegal logging, an illegal trade that was recently estimated to havecost Indonesia alone close to $9 billion between 2003 and 2014. Legal Indonesian exporters will be at a significant competitive advantage over other tropical timber producing countries due to automatic compliance with the EUTR. The start of the FLEGT scheme demonstrates how global trade can be focused to both support legality and deprive illegal logging of an export market.
Commenting on this landmark development
Aida Greenbury, Managing Director Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement said: “APP warmly welcomes the new partnership between Indonesia and the European Union to work together on trade and sustainability, a partnership that could redefine how countries collaborate on sustainability and forest protection. For the first time, timber consumers, suppliers, civil society and NGOs and governments across the world have come together to forge a trade deal that will conserve forests that are crucial to avoiding catastrophic climate change.
The start of the FLEGT scheme is a huge opportunity and a tribute to the work of industry, policymakers and NGOs in Indonesia and in Europe. APP will continue to support the EU and Indonesian government and its sustainable economic development and trade, and will look to drive sustainable forestry practices to the highest standards.”
APP became the first Indonesian mill group to achieve full SVLK certification status in November 2012.
In the picture: Aida Greenbury, Managing Director Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement