Indonesian forestry stakeholders sign new declaration

All major Indonesian trade associations representing the forestry sector have signed a new declaration to achieve world-class timber production.

Indonesian forest

Indonesian forestry stakeholders have launched a declaration outlining the eight practical steps required to be undertaken by all trade associations to achieve world-class timber production and trade standards through implementation of the Wood Legality and Verification System (SVLK).

The declaration was agreed at a formal ceremony in Jakarta on 20 March during the second High Level Market Dialogue 2012.

The introduction of SVLK in Indonesia will ensure that only wood products verified as legal will enter the market.

At the event, the forestry associations pledged to fully support the Government of Indonesia’s efforts to:

  1. Engage with all stakeholders from across the forest industry’s multi-layer supply chains to help finalise and implement full SVLK compliance.
  2. Encourage an examination of the desirability of adopting a phased approach to SVLK implementation across the industry to ensure a successful transition to full compliance of all companies, thereby mitigating possible production, trade and market disruption.
  3. Assist (i) small to medium sized companies, (ii) companies operating in remote areas, and (iii) community based companies to be fully SVLK compliant in line with the Government of Indonesia’s sustainable forestry development plan.
  4. Work with foreign countries to build and strengthen an efficient mechanism to promote legal wood product and avoiding unnecessary administrative and financial impact on verified legal Indonesian timber and timber-based producers.
  5. Encourage foreign countries to ensure consistency of policy application, encourage national public procurement policies to prioritise verified legal products and to support the introduction of the same high standards across the private sector.
  6. Communicate and promote SVLK to global stakeholders consistently as the highest standard to verify legality and as the foundation for the sustainable forest management certification scheme in Indonesia (PHPL/SFM).
  7. Encourage a reciprocal responsibility on the part of VPA partners and also the wider international community to ensure only wood products that are verified as legal enter the market.
  8. Seek active participation in process to implement the VPA such as the Indonesia/EU Joint Participatory Committee.

Trade associations present at the signing of the declaration were: GPEI (Indonesian Exporters Association), MPI (Indonesian Forestry Community), APHI (Association of Indonesian Forest Concessionaires), APKINDO (The Indonesian Wood Panel Association), ISWA (The Indonesia Sawmill & Woodworking Association), APKI (The Indonesian Pulp & Paper Association) and ASMINDO (The Indonesian Furniture Industry & Handicraft Association).

Aida Greenbury, managing director, sustainability and stakeholder engagement, APP said: “As an active member of the forestry associations, APP fully supports the declaration, which is focusing on a multi stakeholder approach to providing assistance to smaller, community-based and geographically remote companies as well as to ensure a sustainable implementation of the SVLK.

“APP finalised its SVLK audit preparation earlier this year and the full audit will be rolled out in April 2012 with a target for finalisation in the first quarter of 2013.”

Criticising the declaration, Andy Tait, senior forest campaigner at Greenpeace, said: “APP seem to be confusing legality with ‘ world class’ production. Legality should be a pre-requisite for doing business anywhere, it certainly doesn’t equal responsible production as APP seems to be implying.

“Further, APP is struggling with legality in its own supply chain.  A recent year long investigation at APP’s main pulp mill in Indonesia found that a protected tree species, was regularly being used.  APP needs to invest more time cleaning up its own act and a little less on yet more PR exercises.”