On the road to sustainability with APP

By Steve Katz, Editor | October 14, 2016

While the focus of Label & Narrow Web’s annual Companies to Watch feature is always on label manufacturing operations, we’re going to take a look at a company well worth watching because of its sustainability efforts. Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) is the third largest paper supplier in the world, and while label companies may not work directly with Asia Pulp & Paper, the company plays a prominent role in supplying paper and rollstock to many of the label industry’s leading substrate suppliers, as well as being a direct supplier of pressure sensitive products.

With an annual combined pulp, paper and converting-products capacity of over 20 million tons. APP – with extensive forestry and paper manufacturing facilities in both Indonesia and China – markets its products in more than 120 countries across six continents. All of APP’s Indonesia production facilities are Chain-of-Custody certified by SVLK (Indonesian Timber Legality Assurance System) and LEI (Indonesian Ecolabel Institute), and PEFC. APP’s paper label product family includes coated matte, gloss and cast coated grades. Appropriate adhesives are applied at the converting level for specific end use applications. APP’s total manufacturing capacity for text, cover and lightweight grades is approximately 12.5MM metric tons and within APP’s entire product portfolio, label applications represent about 10-15% of this capacity.

Many paper manufacturers have a history of being scrutinized by environmental activists, and APP is no exception. Much like the label industry – on the surface – the papermaking industry appears to be the antithesis of green. In fact, several years ago, Greenpeace lashed out against APP claiming it was “trashing” Indonesian forests.

Earlir this year, I was invited to Indonesia to see firsthand APP’s paper-making operations and the company’s sustainability initiatives. In June 2012, APP announced its Sustainability Roadmap Vision 2020, a comprehensive plan that principally set firm targets for the cessation of the use of Natural Forest Wood in its supply chain and social measures by 2020.While in Indonesia, I had the opportunity to observe the paper-making process – from the seeds being planted all the way to packaging and shipping. I was also bale to witness the company’s sustainability activities and met with its chief sustainability officers.

APP’s Roadmap is a significant step. It makes clear commitments with set deadlines, including having APP become completely reliant on plantation sourced pulpwood. All pulpwood suppliers must implement procedures laid down in the principles of HCVF that protect biodiversity, rare ecosystems and local community rights. Also, all suppliers must have achieved credible certification for Sustainable Forest Management by 2020. APP says it will introduce carbon evaluation and control measures for its plantations,in contribution to Indonesia’s overall aim of emissions reduction of 26% by the end of this decade.

The most critical issue in APP’s Sustainability Roadmap Vision 2020 was its target to completely eliminate all natural forest derived products in its entire supply chain by 2020. Initially the Roadmap set out a plan for APP to implement High Conservation Value (HCV) principles and end natural forest clearance across the supply chain by 2015. On February 5, 2013, APP announced the Forest Conservation Policy to be in immediate effect, meaning that the objective had been accelerated by almost two years.

As part of my stay, I visited  the state-of-the-art Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper Perawang Mill, APP’s R&D center as well as one of its recently launched agro-forestry projects. I was able to see how APP is taking action to fulfill its sustainability commitments in the field. Especially enlightening was an inside-look at some of APP’s operations that demonstrate the complexity of Indonesia’s landscapes firsthand. And I enjoyed my first ever helicopter ride overlooking the rainforest and APP’s entire paper mill operation at Indah Kiat.

As for APP’s paper for product labels, the company offers the C1S line of cast coated paper. Cast coating takes on a highly smooth and glossy finish. It has the highest gloss finish of all coated papers, according to APP.  It is also a thicker paper and has excellent ink absorbency for various types of printing including lithography, gravure, letterpress and inkjet. The thickness allows for various adhesives to be applied to the back for mounting to the end use product or container.

APP offers litho lamination label paper products: China  Xplore C1S- Gold East Mill. The products feature medium to high gloss, high smoothness, great ink hold-out and minimal dot gain as well as high tensile strength. They are especially well-suited for self-adhesive waste discharge, blue-white-high brightness (89%), high opacity; and are available in 54# & 61#; and compatible with offset, flexo & letterpress printing. Omnistar C1S, from the Ningbo Mill in China, has medium to high gloss, high smoothness, exceptional ink holdout and minimal dot gain. It’s available in 12.6-18 point calipers and is ideal for offset, flexo, gravure and letterpress label printing.  –Steve Katz

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