1. What is the SVLK?
SVLK is the mandatory certification of legality for timber products required by the Government of Indonesia. It was developed in part due to the high import standards of the EU as set out in the EU Timber Regulation, but it will cover both timber for the domestic market and for export. SVLK provides assurance to our trading partners, customers, and ultimately consumers that the products we provide are verifiable and meet our nation’s stringent legality and chain-of-custody requirements.
As countries around the world – including the United States, Canada, Australia and the EU – seek greater transparency and accountability, when fully implemented across Indonesia, SVLK will establish a new standard by which Indonesian forest-based products are legally procured and processed.
2. What is the status of APP’s SVLK certification?
APP’s pulp and paper mills were among the first to be SVLK certified under the first phase of the SVLK system. This system creates a more rigorous process designed to ensure the mills only receive and process legally procured timber from legal sources, and that all products exported from the country are traceable to verifiable points of origin.
All eight APP Indonesian mills are certified to SVLK plus pulp sourcing and have been audited by TUV Rhineland, an international Certification Body headquartered in Germany, as of December 2012. All 38 APP suppliers in Indonesia are SVLK certified.
3. Do the Indonesian standards of sustainable forest management, LEI and PHPL, stand comparison with international standards?
APP’s position is to embrace all credible certifications, recognising that each certification scheme has its own set of strict standards to assure certain attributes of the product carrying its seal of approval. Certification is a way for our customers to ensure that they are procuring responsibly produced products. There is a wide range of certifications available in the paper industry, each with its own set of principles and criteria, and each with its own strengths and weaknesses.
APP is also a member of Indonesian Forestry Certification Cooperation (IFCC), an Indonesian forestry certification scheme established in 2011 whose target is to achieve full endorsement by PEFC. Once the IFCC standard is fully developed and endorsed by PEFC. APP’s source of fibre is from 100% sustainably managed forest as certified by PEFC.
4. Does APP have sufficient plantation fibre to meet its existing and any additional pulp mill production capacity?
The Earthworm Foundation and Ata Marie carried out a detailed and comprehensive study of APP’s plantation growth rates and pulpwood yields covering all 38 suppliers’ concessions. The wood supply study found that there was sufficient plantation fibre to supply APP’s pulp mills in Indonesia – including the demand of its new pulp mill at OKI, South Sumatra – through to 2022. The study also provided recommendations for improving plantation productivity, reduce wastage, and to adopt a more integrated Plantation Yield Regulation System (PYRS), which would extend fibre supply beyond 2022.
Surely it is better for the planet to have some recycled content
We wholly support the role of recycled content in the global pulp and paper supply chain. Indeed, we manufacture many products with recycled content. However, wood fibre can only be recycled a limited number of times due to degradation, so a source of virgin fibre will always be needed. With the rapid harvest rotation of our forest plantations, APP has a sustainable source of renewable virgin fibre that can ultimately be used as recycle.
5. How long are APP concession rights for this period?
The typical duration for an industrial plantation forest concession permit in Indonesia ranges from 40 to 100 years. When that runs out, the company can request an extension of the license, or can return it to the government.
Why do you claim plantation fibre is renewable? It’s not like solar energy or wind power.
Plantation fibre is renewable because we replant trees to replace those that have been harvested. These trees grow very quickly thanks to Indonesia’s tropical climate, so we are able to harvest them at shorter intervals.
6. What are APP’s future land needs?
APP may, in the future, source from new suppliers who have new or established plantations developed from non-forested lands, to augment the wood supply for its operations. These are commercial decisions to be made by APP, and all new sourcing will be expected to comply with the terms of our FCP, the Responsible Fibre Procurement & Processing Policy, and Supplier Evaluation & Risk Assessment.
APP sources some of its wood from Open Market Suppliers, which are not under APP’s control. How does the company ensure that these plantations are carrying out unsustainable farming practices?
We require all of our suppliers, both in Indonesia and globally, to comply with the commitments of our Forest Conservation Policy (FCP). To ensure that all global fibre suppliers support responsible forest management, we have developed a Responsible Fibre Procurement and Purchasing Policy (RFPPP) and, with the support of the Earthworm Foundation, a Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) supplier scorecard. In the event of any non-compliance, such as burning, APP will not hesitate to take immediate action to ensure that the company’s sustainable policies are adhered to strictly. In addition, we have a rigorous Supplier Evaluation and Risk Assessment (SERA) to ensure the integrity of our supply chain.
7. How can we be sure that APP will keep to its sustainability promises?
Since 2015, APP has invested over US$150 million in an Integrated Fire Management System (IFMS) to combat fire and haze. Apart from employing over 3,000 firefighters and state of the art firefighting equipment, APP has also initiated the Integrated Forestry and Farming System (IFFS), a programme to educate local communities on modern farming techniques and of the dangers of land clearance by burning. We also plan to continue to engage in such sustainable efforts and work together with our stakeholders to act responsibly.
While these sustainability commitments have required significant investment, APP has benefitted from greater access to markets. We have also been able to spend more of our time looking after the business instead of fending off attacks. On the whole, being sustainable has been profitable for APP, and there is no reason for us to go back on our sustainability promises.