APRIL Group Launches an Unprecedented Campaign to Contain Forest Fires

Forest fires can be extremely damaging to the environment, as well as to the efforts of any company operating in the palm oil industry in Indonesia. These are precisely some of the major reasons why APRIL Group (Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Ltd) has announced a “Fire Danger Period” between July the 1st and August the 31st 2015, as part of their comprehensive fire suppression plan.

Investing in Fire Management

Because forest fires can have a huge impact on plantation productivity, while affecting the environment negatively through the extension of smoke and haze, the reduction of soil nutrients and the increasing of soil erosion risks, APRIL has announced that the company will be completely committed toward preventing forest fires and illegal burning, while even avoiding the purchase of materials from those suppliers who condone unlawful burning.

The company has invested no less than $6 million to improve fire-fighting efforts in the area. This extensive investment is meant to support the suppression and prevention of forest fires, while also improving the focus on preventive education, so that local communities can learn more about the prevention process and the dangers of illegal burning.

APRIL’s Fire Management Plan

The fire management plan implemented by APRIL is a manifold effort for raising awareness regarding the reasons why forest fires need to be prevented, as well as the actions and training procedures necessary for adequate prevention.

Specialists are to work closely together with local villagers during the Fire Danger Period, implement new incentives and standards for engaging the community, and doubling their efforts and vigilance to spot and eliminate forest fires as soon as they occur.

As an additional initiative, APRIL has also implemented the “Fire Free Village, Fire Free Landscape” program geared to improve the local community’s knowledge and ability to respond in fire management situations.

With increased focus on village agricultural assistance, no burn village rewards, community awareness and air quality monitoring, APRIL is confident that the dangers and risks of uncontrolled fires can effectively be avoided.

APRIL Dialog Website Aims to Keep the Public Informed

APRIL, or Asia Pacific Resources International Limited, is among the natural resources manufacturing, wood pulp, and fiber-producing companies that comprise the RGE Group headed by Indonesian businessman Sukanto Tanoto. Under Mr. Tanoto’s direction, APRIL has increasingly focused on environmentally responsible, sustainable forestry and land-use practices. In working to comply with all relevant government regulations, and with international industry best practices, APRIL strives to exhibit transparency through its day-to-day operations and as part of its long-term strategy.

Among the company’s  recent efforts in this regard is the development of a website, APRIL Dialog. Through APRIL Dialog,  the site aims to offer information about best forestry practices in general, and APRIL’s work in particular, to all interested stakeholders. The website also provides a means for communication with the public, who are invited to share their questions and concerns online. In addition, the site provides up-to-date information about haze and hazard conditions through a “fire tracker.” The highly useful feature offers maps showing the coordinates of current fires, as well as their causes and real-time firefighting operations.

April Dialog

On the site, APRIL staff have provided information on topics such as sustainable development in Indonesia, the true causes of deforestation in developing areas, and recent events in the field of forest management in the country. Taking a proactive approach, the APRIL Dialog website also offers a section addressing accusations leveled against the company by environmental groups and others concerned about over-development in Indonesia. APRIL believes that its emphasis on sustainable practices is borne out by the available evidence, even as it works to answer substantive concerns by stepping up its policies and procedures. APRIL welcomes assessments of its compliance levels and other practices.

Some articles posted on APRIL Dialog:

Addressing the Complex Causes of Forest Fires

APRIL INCREASES FIRE MONITORING IN CONCESSION AREAS

The website also offers information about the current actions of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee, which APRIL developed and welcomed on board as a means of providing an even more transparent look at its operations.