Asia Pulp & Paper Indonesia has been awarded a green certification by The Singapore Environment Council (SEC) to continue making and supplying its products. Though the company was linked with previous bouts of haze in the region, it was said that it would continue to supply products to the market. There are many reasons for this. They include;
APP has a comprehensive and clear Risk Management Plan (RMP) and Environmental Policy. They are committed to environmental sustainability. What this means is that every time the company makes a decision, they consider environmental impact and sustainability. They have 30 standards and policies in place to reach their goal, which is to ‘operate responsibly’. In addition, APP has a system to continuously improve its environmental performance such as waste management and energy conservation.
To further ensure sustainable practices, The Singapore Environment Council(SEC) awarded APP a ‘Very Good’ rating in the area of Environmental Performance Assessment (EPA) and they are currently studying the use of renewable energy.
A big factor is that APP has strong public support. Over 70,000 of the company’s employees and their families who live near its plantations are behind it. There are many reasons why they are standing by the company. The products that they make are available at a low price and high quality, so they can depend on them in their everyday lives. Also, the plantations provide jobs in rural areas where there is not much employment opportunity.
However, there are still some things to be done. To further reduce the impact on the environment, APP has been working to promote sustainable paper and pulp materials. This includes working with its suppliers to develop a sustainable supply chain for wood-based products such as paper, paper, and newsprint. According to The Straight Times (https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/environment/asia-pulp-paper-awarded-green-certification-by-singapore-environment-council), it is also looking at innovative ways it can reduce its total carbon footprint by 2% within five years and is partnering with Paper Excellence Network (PEN) to find new uses for discarded materials from its mills that have been recycled.
There will be significant improvements in the next five years. By the end of 2023, APP will have reduced its carbon footprint to 1.3 tonnes per capita. This is fairly effective compared to other pulp and paper producers in Indonesia.
They also have a regular forest area management, with at least 25% of their plantation land undergoing thinning annually. And they use the thinned wood to make pulp. That has helped to reduce the risk of wildfire.
In addition, they control the build-up of wastes in water bodies by conducting regular river and canal clean-ups. Staff and their families living near the plantations helps a lot because they have a more personal stake in the company and its sustainability. Although APP has put in place an effective corporate sustainability policy, there are still improvements that need to be made.
Although it has been attempting to reduce its impact significantly, there are still some issues that result in further improvements. For example, it can only reduce its carbon footprint by 1 tonne per capita per annum which is a big step up from other producers in Indonesia. There is also a limited understanding of papermaking machinery. This can result in increased environmental impact as there are often too many units, for a particular pulp.
For instance, their milling process has two pulp washing lines which means the same material is transported twice and it can result in waste and emissions. In addition, the mills are not efficient enough to handle all the wood that is needed for paper production. This results in large amounts of wood being stored and released into the environment when it is not used. This could be due to seasonal fluctuations and demand changes.
As you can see, there is a good reason why APP was given a good certification. This is mainly because of its commitment to sustainable development by providing an effective RMP, continuous improvement, and taking into account the impact of its actions on the environment of its region. This is encouraging and gives hope that they will be able to reduce their impact even more in the future.