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APP on Sumatra, Indonesia


APP was founded in 1984 and is the largest pulp and paper producer in Indonesia, mainly for export. It has a pulp mill in Sumatra (Indah Kiat mill) that has a capacity of 2 million tons per year. Italy is the largest European importer of Indonesian paper (2009). WWF calculated that timber concessions of April included 570,000 ha of forest. It has several expansion plans, now one is on South Sumatra with acacia plantations for new pulp mill project (PT Oki Pulp Paper), involving wetlands area with peasant communities depending on production of rice and vegetables, with the potential of provoking more conflicts. APP on Sumatra has been long story of conflicts with communities; it has been reported that about 60,000 ha of lands occupied by APP is being claimed by communities, and the company continues nevertheless expanding. Main impacts reported have been - Violation land rights of local communities; Destruction territory and livelihoods of indigenous peoples; - Destruction biodiversity (forests and peat forests), about 1 million hectares since the beginning of its operations; Destruction peat forests would have led to release of up to 300 tons of carbon into the atmosphere.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:APP on Sumatra, Indonesia
Location of conflict:Sumatra, including Riau province and South Sumatra
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific commodities:Cellulose
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Project area:500000: at least
Type of populationRural
Affected Population::thousands of people
Start of the conflict:1980
Company names or state enterprises:Asian Pulp and Paper (APP) from Indonesia - it is controlled by the Sinar Mas Group, one of Indonesia’s major conglomerates, also involved in oil palm.
Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) from Indonesia
Relevant government actors:Indonesian gvt. At several levels involved in concession policy for plantations companies
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:CAPPA, Walhi and others
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Over the years, people have setting up road blockades, charging “tolls” for use of community roads, and seizing company vehicles and equipment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Company still expanding and many conflicts unsolved
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

WRM bulletin 163/2011 – APP and Cartiere Pigna try to intimidate social denounces in Italy of deforestation in Indonesia; WALHI, 2008. Indonesian Environmental Forum (WALHI), 2008. Aerial bombardment of peasants in Sumatran village. Press release. Berlin,
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Meta information
Contributor:Winnie Overbeek
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1096
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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