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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        25 January 2011

Papermaker pushes green initiatives

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Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), one of Indonesia's largest pulp and paper companies, says it will implement a series of initiatives in the next two years to comply with government efforts to preserve the environment.

Indonesia will stop issuing new forest and peatland licenses to companies as part of its Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) effort.

"The moratorium is a unique opportunity for us to reflect on what we've done well, where we need continuous improvement and what relevant best practices exist worldwide," APP managing director Aida Greenbury said in a statement on Monday.

One of the initiatives is to support independent research measuring greenhouse gas emissions of all soil types in pulpwood plantations. The study is expected to provide more reliable data for carbon trading, which so far has earned Indonesia US$4 billion.

APP will also continue its development of the Kampar Carbon Reserve, an effort to turn 15,000 hectares of its two-million-hectare concession forest in Kampar, Riau, into conservation land.

Dorjee Sun, CEO of Carbon Conservation, which is working with APP on its Kampar project, told Globe Asia last month that the company would make millions of dollars from selling carbon credits in this effort.

APP says it has also set aside 6,000 hectares for the Taman Raja Nature Preserve, and plans to create a wildlife corridor linking the preserve to Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Sumatra.

The company has a history of confrontations with environmental groups. It has been accused of illegal logging in Indonesia, Cambodia and China, and agreements with groups such as the Forest Stewardship Council, World Wide Fund for Nature and Rainforest Alliance have collapsed over APP's logging practices.

The most recent accusation came from an NGO in Riau, which said companies linked with APP were logging in Bukit Tigapuluh.

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04 January 2011
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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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