Indonesia’s pulp and paper industry has been controlled by two clans from its early years: the Wijayas’ Sinar Mas Group and its Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and the Tanotos’ Royal Golden Eagle and its APRIL and Toba Pulp Lestari (TPL, originally named Indorayon Inti Utama).
Both laid siege to the land when they bought (APP) and built (APRIL and TPL) their first mills. The island’s endless forests were cheap seemingly never ending fodder for the pulp mill monsters the two companies created (for more information, read "Chapter 15. Sumatra, Indonesia: Pulping the Jungle" of Pearce 2013).
After a few decades of deforestation, APP and APRIL committed to no longer clear natural forest and restore ecosystems in size equal to their plantations in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Yet, implementation has been slow and has not stopped deforestation in the concessions. Companies also have not dealt with their huge carbon footprints (peat drainage and associated fires) and other legacies of long-term large scale deforestation including social issues and loss of habitat for critically endangered species.
NGOs are also very concerned about increasing evidence APP cannot assure a sustainable wood supply once its new pulp mill in South Sumatra province goes on-line. When will APP restart pulping natural forest to repay the huge debt for its new mill?