In its recent announcement of revised Sustainable Forest Management Policy 2.0 (3 June 2015), APRIL committed to no deforestation, no new development on forest peat (including its suppliers), sustainable peatland management, and forest protection and conservation.
Together with other concerned NGOs, including Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network and WWF, PM.Haze welcomes APRIL’s commitment and congratulates its step forward. By promising to end deforestation and peatland development, APRIL will no longer be guilty of creating fire-prone areas.
However, to ensure that this promise is fulfilled, there should be more measures to enhance transparency and traceability, as well as mechanisms that can help track sustainability commitments. APRIL should publish their concession maps and supplier list, both of which are the necessary to demonstrate compliance to pledge, for example, whether conservation area is kept equal to plantation area.
In addition, PM.Haze is wary about APRIL’s continued and enhanced involvement with Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), a more controversial and less established certification standard compared to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. PM.Haze will continue to observe how well the pledges are implemented, as well as whether there are improvements in transparency and monitoring, before recommending APRIL’s products.
As a Singapore-based grassroots group, PM.Haze is eager to see the management of APRIL, most of whom are also Singapore-based, to consider our suggestions on continuous improvement of APRIL’s sustainability policy, transparent reporting of its progress, and switching to FSC. We believe the above actions will contribute to eradication of fire from plantations and forests, and transboundary haze in Singapore.
Correction: July 3, 2015
An earlier version of this public statement misstated “Rainforest Action Network” as “Rainforest Alliance”.