RGE Indonesia plays with fire and losses its license to operate

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Its subsidiary PT RAPP and APRIL declared illegal by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia.

 

PT RAPP, the pulp and paper subsidiary of APRIL Indonesia is now officially operating illegally in the country. It has previously received numerous warning letters from the Ministry of Forest and Environment on its non-compliance with the new peat regulations that has been implemented.

The Ministry has declared invalid the company’s annual 2017 work plan as well as its existing 10-year work plan – which provides the legal basis for its on-ground activies. This effectively means RAPP cannot operate in Indonesia and any violations is illegal and directly against the law.

According to a report by foresthints.news, a NGO news portal close to the Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya, the letter was signed by the Ministry’s Secretary General Bambang Hendroyono on Oct 6 2017 based on the fact that APRIL has demonstrated persistent reluctance to comply with the new peat regulations.

Consistent with these developments, on the ground level, the Ministry’s Law Enforcement Director General Rasio “Roy” Ridho Sani conducted a ground-based inspection of one of the estates belonging to the APRIL company located in Sumatra’s Riau Kampar Peninsula landscape (Oct 5).

Roy explained that evidence uncovered during this field inspection demonstrates that PT RAPP continued to engage in business-as-usual practices by completely ignoring the new peat regulations, for example by controlling the water level in a way that contravenes the newly-revised government regulation signed by President Joko Widodo in early December last year.

Making matters worse, the director general also witnessed in person the ongoing replanting of acacia by the APRIL company in peat domes (peat protection zones) at a time when it was still trying to buy time before submitting its peat recovery plan to the ministry.

As of early October this year (Oct 3), the APRIL company has no further legal basis to carry out field operations. APRIL company’s legal documents state that 70% of its concession in the Pelalawan estate – the estate in the Kampar Peninsula landscape inspected by the Ministry’s Law Enforcement Director General – consists of deep peat which usually constitutes peat domes.

However, a LiDAR mapping-based analysis conducted by Deltares (2015) revealed that almost all of APRIL concessions in the Kampar Peninsula landscape, including Pelalawan estate, are comprised of deep peat.

Furthermore, APRIL’s senior management also claimed that “the process of the RKU (10-year work plan) revision by APRIL is still ongoing with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.”

Kudos to Minister Siti and the Ministry in doing what is right and setting an example for other industry players who are non-compliant.

Here is a company whose owners represent Indonesia at the World Economic Forum. It refuses to comply with the basic government regulation to protect the environment and communities.

Here is a company that spends millions on advertising, greenwashing its activities. Its previous CEO had to resign just months ago for lying blatantly with a ridiculous statement explaining its non-compliance with regulations in developing new canals to drain the peat lands.

This is a company where the new CEO – Mr. Wenas – does not seem to have integrity and is advocating business as previously.

Now that PT RAPP and APRIL have been declared illegal in Indonesia, how can RGE deliver on its commercial commitments?

More importantly – how will the Tanotos recover their reputation and hugely diminished trust from their stakeholders?

 

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