The Jakarta Post
Paper and pulp producing company PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP) is aiming to source all its raw production materials from its own plantation forests, not from natural forests, by 2019.
RAPP president director Tony Wenas explained that the company had eliminated the need to clear more land for plantation forests in December 2014 and the firm was aiming to be completely self-sufficient on raw materials by 2019.
Integration of plantation, pulp and paper production cycle ' which means paper companies grow plantations and supply their own materials ' has been a common practice for paper firms around the world as a more environment-friendly business approach.
The company has allocated 290,000 hectares (ha) out of its 480,000 ha plantation ' shared with long term suppliers ' for conservation, with 40,000 ha used to restore the surrounding ecosystem at its base in Pangkalan Kerinci, Riau.
'We have to balance conservation and development. Right now our [production-conservation] ratio is at 5 to 4 and we are constantly pushing for a 1 to 1 commitment,' Tony explained during a visit to The Jakarta Post on Monday.
He added that by 2019, the company would add another 100,000 ha to its conservation area, where lands would grow naturally as opposed to the firm's HTI area, where only monoculture pulpwood could be planted to meet the company's production needs.
Reforestation and ecosystem restoration efforts in Riau are particularly under scrutiny due to numerous forest fires that have occurred in the region, spreading haze to neighboring Singapore and Malaysia.
RAPP, a subsidiary of the pulp and paper giant Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd., produces up to 2.8 million tons of paper pulp per year and is able to produce 820,000 tons of paper a year.
According to Tony, 200 million seeds are processed annually at the company's nursery, of which 160 million are used for production while the rest are for forest restoration purposes.
RAPP, which is behind the PaperOne brand, claims it can plant up to 500,000 trees a day.
The company plans to allocate up to US$17 million to conservation efforts over the next five years.
As for future business plans, Tony explained that RAPP, owned by Indonesian business tycoon Sukanto Tanoto, would still focus more on exporting its products rather than on the local market.
Sixty eight percent of the company's demand comes from the Asia-Pacific, while the remaining 32 percent comes from Europe.
'Our exports to Europe could be much higher if there wasn't as much international scrutiny,' Tony said.
Concerns over the impact of pulp and paper firms' practices on the environment and ecosystem have been continuously voiced by international NGOs, which fear that forest exploitation could cause deforestation and harm the ecosystem.
RAPP and other pulp and paper firms in the country obtain permits from the local government to exploit forests and lands to source their raw materials for production via concessions, so they do not own the land or forests.
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