Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) announces a new commitment to support the economic development of 500 villages in the landscapes surrounding APP’s supply chain. The aim of the programme is to demonstrate that economic development can be pursued in a sustainable way that supports rather than undermines the protection of Indonesia’s forests.
APP’s announced its latest sustainable development commitment at the UN Climate Conference in Paris, COP21. The announcement was made after APP presented details of its forest and peatland protection initiatives, which support Indonesia’s ambitions to achieve a 29% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030.
Supporting the economic development of local communities has been an integral part of APP’s forest protection programmes. Since the launch of its Forest Conservation Policy in February 2013, APP has implemented initiatives to help communities develop alternative livelihoods, to reduce the risk of fires and achieve economic development while keeping Indonesia’s forests intact.
This new commitment to Indonesia’s communities is in addition to APP’s existing pledge to support the protection and restoration of 1 million hectares of forest landscapes and to channel and coordinate USD $10 million a year of in-kind and financial support into forest conservation across Indonesia, announced in 2014.
APP’s commitment will be delivered through a series of pilot community agroforestry programmes. The programmes could include the sharing of: rearing initiatives for livestock; sustainable fruit and vegetable farming techniques; and forestry and business skills to enable alternative livelihoods that do not require the clearance of natural forest for further economic development.
These programmes will help to reduce the pressure on Indonesia’s remaining natural forests whilst simultaneously improving the livelihoods of local communities. In addition, the programmes will be designed to help reduce instances of conflict over land by providing less land-intensive development options and will help to reduce instances of land encroachment and slash and burn activities.
APP’s programmes will focus on bringing together agriculture, forestry and vocational skills development. The programmes will be designed to build upon the local knowledge of communities by bringing in best practice and applicable techniques from across industry and academia.
Aida Greenbury, Managing Director, Sustainability at APP said, “A key theme of COP21 is to ensure that economic development goes hand-in-hand with environmental protection. We believe that this new agroforestry programme will help communities to achieve economic development while protecting Indonesia’s forests. The issues facing Indonesia’s forests need to be managed at the landscape level, and local communities have a very important stake in the forest. Whilst these programmes are at an early pilot stage, we will be working to help introduce and spread sustainable farming techniques that are compatible with forest protection.”