Jakarta/Sydney 6 June 2010 –Major paper producers in Australia are driving Sumatran tigers and orang-utans to extinction by selling products made from the trashing of Indonesia’s rainforests, a new Greenpeace report reveals today.
The report - Pulping the Planet - shows how major international companies such as KFC and Walmart are driving the destruction of Indonesia's rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands by sourcing paper from Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), part of the notorious Sinar Mas group.
APP affiliate, Solaris Paper, recently opened a $20 million plant in Sydney's west, and Australian firm Paperlinx - 'the world's leading fine paper merchants' - are also directly implicated in the destruction.
"Today in Indonesia, an area of forest the size of football field is cut down every 20 seconds," said Greenpeace Forest Campaigner, Reece Turner. "The pulp and paper is ending up on our desks and in our toilets. We are wiping out forests to wipe our own backsides."
"The first step the Australian Government must take is to fulfil their 2007 election pledge to ban the importation of illegally harvested timber products," said Turner.
"Legislation needs to be put in place with strict requirements on importing companies to demonstrate that all timber products, including pulp and paper, have been independently verified as legally logged resources," said Kimberly-Clark Australia General Manager, Corporate Services, Ross Hearne.
Greenpeace investigated two important rainforest areas on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and discovered that Sinar Mas is wreaking environmental havoc in both. The Bukit Tigapuluh Forest Landscape is one of the last refuges for endangered Sumatran tigers and orang-utans. Kerumutan's carbon rich peatlands are a key defence against climate change. Some of the forest's peat is deeper than three meters and therefore illegal to clear under Indonesian law.
"Some of the world's best known brands are pulping the planet. This investigation shows how major companies are causing Indonesia's peatland and forests to be slashed and burned for every day paper products," said Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia forest campaigner.
Over the past two years, Greenpeace has repeatedly exposed how Sinar Mas's
palm oil arm uses illegal and destructive environmental practises in Indonesia. This, along with evidence of similar practices in its paper operations, has led many corporate leaders to cancel their contracts with the Indonesian palm oil and paper giant. Unilever, Kraft and Nestle have all dropped palm oil contracts
with Sinar Mas following recent Greenpeace campaigns.