APRIL Group Announces US$100 million Investment in Expanded Peatland Forest Restoration and Conservation in Indonesia at COP21

US$100 million over 10 years on conservation and restoration

Peatland forest area under active management doubled to 150,000 ha, significantly expanding areas protected under the Riau Ecosystem Restoration (RER)

Increases APRIL conserved areas to 400,000 ha - equivalent to 83% of 1-for-1 conservation to plantation commitment - contributing to Indonesia's climate goals

Dec 02, 2015, 05:27 ET from APRIL Group

PARIS, Dec. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- As governments meet in Paris to finalise a global climate treaty, leading pulp and paper company APRIL Group announced it would double its peatland restoration activities in Indonesia to 150,000 hectares and invest US$100 million over the next decade in conservation and restoration activites.

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151202/292491

This increased commitment to Riau Ecosystem Restoration (RER) is believed to be the biggest investment by a private sector company in a single eco-restoration project in Indonesia, covering assessment, restoration and protection, and management and partnerships.

"This commitment illustrates how private sector organizations can support climate goals not just in terms of pledges but by going beyond them and actually putting resources on the table," said Tony Wenas, Managing Director, APRIL Group Indonesia Operations.

"The global community has an extraordinary opportunity at COP 21 in Paris to make a difference for the future. This investment indicates our broader business case for restoration which encompasses the value of the ecosystem services and the need to have an inclusive approach with the community. As we learn and evolve our approach, we continue to deliver environmental benefits, economic opportunity through jobs and infrastructure, as well as social progress for local communities," said Anderson Tanoto, Shareholder of APRIL Group and RGE Director.

The RER restoration area has been largely protected from burning during the last fire and haze season, one of the worst to have hit Southeast Asia, which indicates the effectiveness of APRIL's landscape approach, supporting the case for further investment.

APRIL Group's conservation and restoration activities delivered and committed now account for 400,000 ha - 150,000 in restoration and 250,000 in conservation - of forest in Indonesia, an area close to six times the size of Singapore, while nearly matching its commercial plantation area. This 1-for-1 goal of conservation to plantation is one of the commitments made by the company under its strengthened Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP) announced six months ago, which ensured deforestation was eliminated from its supply chain.

The RER programme, which was established by APRIL Group in partnership with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and local NGO Bidara in 2013, protects and restores important peatland areas on the Kampar Peninsula in Indonesia's Riau Province under eco-restoration licenses granted by the Indonesian Government.

"The partners involved in the RER project hope that it will be a living, working blueprint -- an evolving example of what other public and private sector organisations can achieve more broadly through strong partnerships and bold vision," said Dr.Tony Whitten, Asia-Pacific Regional Director at Fauna & Flora International.

Indonesia's peatland areas are some of the most sensitive ecosystems in the world, while the Kampar Peninsula landscape is one of the largest peatland areas in Southeast Asia. Kampar's tropical forests are rich in biodiversity and support endangered wildlife species, including the Sumatran tiger and sun bear.

Drawing on the expertise of APRIL Group, FFI and Bidara as well as local communities, RER employs a four-phase model of protection, assessment, restoration and management to rejuvenate previously degraded areas of forest and peatland. This model, complemented by APRIL's Fire Free Village Programme and water management strategies, ensured that the Kampar Peninsula largely remained free of fire during the recent haze crisis.

APRIL Group Media Contacts:

Lucita Jasmin
Director for External Affairs

About APRIL Group (www.aprilasia.com, Twitter: @aprilpulp)

APRIL Group is a leading producer of fibre, pulp and paper with manufacturing operations in Pangkalan Kerinci, Riau Province, Indonesia. APRIL is a pioneer in the implementation of sustainability best practices in Indonesia's pulp and paper industry, including the elimination of deforestation from its supply chain. APRIL Group is working towards conserving, protecting and restoring one hectare of high value conservation forest for every hectare of renewable plantation concession. Today, APRIL Group conserves more than 250,000 hectares with a further 150,000 hectares undergoing ecosystem restoration.

About Fauna & Flora International (FFI) (www.fauna-flora.org)

FFI protects threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, choosing solutions that are sustainable, based on sound science and take account of human needs. Operating in more than 40 countries worldwide -- mainly in the developing world -- FFI saves species from extinction and habitats from destruction, while improving the livelihoods of local people. Founded in 1903, FFI is the world's longest established international conservation body and a registered charity.