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Yudhoyono welcomes US firms’
initiative to combat deforestation

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed his appreciation and strong support for the initiative put forward by a number of US-based companies to help reduce deforestation in Indonesia.

Speaking in his address at the opening of a dialogue held by the US-based Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) in Jakarta on Thursday, the President said he strongly supported any talks that could help Indonesia achieve its carbon emission target.

“The workshop is also relevant to Indonesia, as one of the countries with the largest tropical rain forest in the world, and world’s largest palm oil production,” Yudhoyono said.

Indonesia expects to reduce carbon emissions by 26 percent by its own efforts by 2020 or by 41 percent with international assistance.

Members of the TFA 2020 — a public-private network consisting of 400 companies from the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) with annual sales exceeding US$3 trillion — the Indonesian government and firms assembled in Jakarta for a two-day dialogue to address deforestation in the palm oil, pulp and paper sectors.

TFA 2020, which was born out of discussions between the US government and the CGF, is aimed at stopping deforestation associated with the sourcing of four key commodities, which are palm oil, soy, beef and pulp and paper.

Yudhoyono said in the past five years, the forest-based manufacturing industry, including plywood and pulp and paper production, comprised approximately 3.5 percent of the national economy.

Indonesia, one of the top producers of pulp and paper in the world, produced about 8 million tons of pulp and 13 million tons of paper last year. Indonesia is also the world’s largest palm oil producer with about 26 million tons of production last year.

Unilever Global CEO Paul Polman, who cochairs the forum, said the dialogue would produce concrete action and recommendations that could help companies involved in the production of key commodities such as palm oil to eliminate deforestation.

“We need to ensure that as the palm oil sector expands out of South East Asia into Africa and Latin America the expansion is genuinely sustainable and that we do not repeat some of the mistakes made elsewhere,” Polman said.

“Companies like Golden Agri Resources, APP, Cargill and ADM have all made big commitments to make their activities more sustainable. And the 400 companies in the CGF have publicly vowed to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains by 2020.”

Unilever itself, Polman said, had purchased 100 percent certified palm oil and targeted to have all of its products made from traceable palm oil by 2020. The giant consumer company also aimed to source 75 percent of the paper and board for its packaging from sustainably managed forests or from recycled material in 2015, increasing to 100 percent by 2020.

Participants in the dialogue include Nestle, Kraft, Unilever, Procter and Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, SC Johnson, Coca Cola and major palm oil, pulp and paper companies such as Golden Agri Resources, Wilmar, IOI, Musim Mas, Asian Pulp and Paper (APP) and APRIL.

Officials from the US, Norway, the UK, the Netherlands and Australian governments, international organizations and philanthropic foundations were also present.

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