Win for the climate as Spicers stops imports of destructive paper imports

Press release - December 16, 2009
Greenpeace has welcomed the announcement by Spicers Papers New Zealand that it is phasing out paper products from Indonesia due to public concerns about environmental and sustainability issues.

Last month Greenpeace exposed the links between Spicers and Sinar Mas which Greenpeace labelled as one of the leading forest and climate destroyers in Indonesia.

Yesterday Spicers issued a press release saying it expected to stop sourcing from Indonesia within the next few months despite efforts by the company to help Indonesian suppliers to improve their environmental performance.

"The amount of concern expressed about products, not just paper, sourced from Indonesian forests has reached a point where clearly the progress has been insufficient to meet the current market needs," Spicers press statement stated.

Greenpeace forests campaigner Grant Rosoman welcomed the decision saying it would help put pressure on all Indonesian suppliers of forestry and plantation products to stop destroying large areas of the country's rainforests.

"This is great news for the forests of Indonesia and to help save the climate. Spicers join what is now a growing number of responsible companies which are saying no to forest destruction. We urge others who are buying Indonesian products to check very carefully they are not sourced from destroying the forest," said Rosoman.

Spicers is the second company, this month, to pull out of Indonesia due to Sinar Mas poor environmental record. Last week Unilever announced it was suspending all future purchases of palm oil from PT SMART, part of the Sinar Mas group, until such time as it could provide verifiable proof that none of its plantations were contributing to the destruction of high conservation value forests and expanding onto peat lands (1).

Last month global paper giant, UPM-Kymmene said it would stop buying pulp from Sinar Mas rival Asia Pacific Resources International Holding Limited (APRIL) which operates one of the world's largest pulp mills in Riau and is responsible for causing widespread rainforest in Indonesia (2).

Greenpeace New Zealand communications manager Suzette Jackson, who was working in Indonesia last month to stop deforestation said while it was encouraging to see companies were responding to the Greenpeace campaign it was disappointing New Zealand was still linked to rainforest destruction through Fonterra.

Earlier this year Fonterra was implicated in the palm industry's clearing and burning of rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia to make way for palm plantations which provide products including palm-based animal feed used on New Zealand dairy farms.

"Large companies like Spicers and Unilever have recognised the role they played in rainforest destruction and have pulled out. Now it's time for Fonterra to do the same. By continuing to import palm based animal feed New Zealand is having a major impact on Indonesia's rainforests and climate change."

Indonesia has one of the fastest rates of forest loss in the world.  The destruction of the country's peatlands alone accounts for 4% of global human induced greenhouse gas emissions (3), propelling Indonesia to become the world's third largest greenhouse gas emitter, after the US and China (4).

Other contacts: Grant Rosoman, Greenpeace forests campaigner, 021 428 415 Suzette Jackson, Greenpeace New Zealand communications manager, 021 614 899

Notes: (1) (2) (3)Hooijer, A, M Silvius, H Wösten, H and S Page (2006) PEAT-CO2, Assessment of CO2 emissions from drained peatlands in SE Asia Delft Hydraulics report Q3943 7 December 2006 (4)WRI 2008. Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (CAIT) Version 6.0 (Washington, DC: World Resources Institute)

Exp. contact date: 2010-01-16 00:00:00