Asia Pulp and Paper Halts Clearing in Indonesian Natural Forests

Asia Pulp & Paper Group said it halted all its suppliers from clearing natural forests as of February, accelerating its pledge to use only farmed trees by two years.

The Sinar Mas Group unit has suspended all forest clearing as of Feb. 1, while non-profit organizations including the Forest Trust identify areas that will no longer be harvested and others that can be developed into plantations, it said in a statement in Jakarta today.

The company said in June 2012 it planned to be entirely reliant on raw materials from plantations by 2015, after Greenpeace International accused it in May of clearing natural rain forests to supply its mills and logging in areas considered to be among the last habitat of the Sumatran tiger, which is protected under international conservation programs.

Asia Pulp produces more than 18 million tons of paper and pulp products each year, the company said in today’s statement. That compares with the 2 million tons produced every year by Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Ltd., which also operates plantations in Indonesia and China, according to the company’s website.

The paper producer will halt purchases and other contracts with any supplier that isn’t complying with the commitments, it said, adding that it has enough plantations to meet its long-term production goals.

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