Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) has announced it will be retiring 7,000 hectares of its active plantations to restore carbon-rich peatlands in Indonesia.
This will be the first time a commercially profitable peat plantation has been retired and restored by its owners for conservation purposes.
The peat forests would have reportedly generated US$50 million in revenue for Asia Pulp & Paper if pulp production had continued.
Peatland areas are critical for carbon storage, but are often drained for development, which releases carbon into the atmosphere in the form of CO2. APP will block its drainage canals and flood the land in order to revive the peatland.
Aida Greenbury, Managing Director of Sustainability at APP, explains the company’s decision:
“the retirement of active plantations is not an easy decision for any business to take, but we believe that taking urgent steps to protect remaining areas of peatland forest, as well as reducing and avoiding climate emissions from peatlands, must be a priority. While there is still a long way to go, and we have much to learn, this announcement today represents a major breakthrough.”