Deep in Indonesia’s tropical rainforests, you'll find a kind of tranquil atmosphere like no other. The place is more or less untouched by humankind. And then, just a short distance away, the blackened roots of peatland forest still smolder from where they have been burned to a cinder. It really feels like a journey from heaven deep into hell.
A trapped Sumatran tiger. © Melvinas Priananda / Greenpeace
Yang Jie, a Greenpeace activist leading the forest conservation project.
Hello. My name is Yang Jie and I am with Greenpeace’s Forests campaign. It saddens me every time I think about how Indonesia’s paradise forests are being bulldozed to destruction, and how that is pushing the Sumatran tigers to extinction. (Read: Endangered Sumatran tiger dies in trap on APP concession in Indonesia) But it also makes me more determined to do everything I can in my power to save one of our planet’s last remaining green havens.
We carefully strategize our campaigns and saving the rainforest is no exception. For example, after our latest undercover investigation into APP, one of the world’s largest pulp and paper groups, which took a year, we released a shocking report, The Ramin Paper Trail, documenting how APP was illegally pulping a highly endangered tree species, ramin. After the report, we are keeping the campaign momentum going with these five follow-up steps.
- 1. Push companies to change!
This is our most important follow-up work. Every company relies on its customers and clients for survival. A single customer or client may only have a small amount of power, but added together, en masse, that power becomes a force to be reckoned with and can push big corporations to become environmentally friendly. Just like The Ramin Paper Trail attracted huge public interest, and in just two short months several key APP customers, even a subsidiary of APP itself, cut their ties with APP.
- 2. Shake the very foundations of investment!
Investors and financial assets are also the lifeblood of a corporation. We have a Sustainable Finance Team which goes out and lobbies banks and funds to stop doing business with companies that destroy our planet. This includes refusing new finance or pulling out existing investments. In the last few weeks, two of APP’s biggest investors, Norwegian Pension fund and Skagen funds both sold their holdings in APP in response to our report and subsequent lobbying.
- 3. Monitor companies making green pledges!
It’s easy for a company to make an environmental promise, but it’s our job to make sure it makes good on that promise by periodically monitoring their behavior. Most recently we spotted that the international document management company, , was still using paper that came from forest destruction, despite an earlier promise not to. We got Xerox to admit its mistake, reassess its practices, and promise to take stricter measures to make sure it would no longer buy APP paper.
- 4. Policy Initiatives!
To really protect the rainforest we need the Indonesian government to take concrete action. That’s why we present our carefully-collected evidence to government bodies, global regulatory organizations, and the international media to push for tighter supervision of forest management.
So far, Jakarta has been slow to make changes but we are confident that we will succeed just as we did in Canada: after 10 years of painstaking campaigning, we succeeded in getting the Canadian government to put one third of the Great Bear Rainforest under full protection.
- 5. Onsite monitoring!
Even after we publish our reports, our investigation team stays on the ground keeping track of APP. On the day the Ministry of Forestry notified us that it intends to visit APP’s mill, our ongoing monitoring indicates that the company has been engaged in a rapid clean-up operation, removing ramin from its logyards.
We couldn’t do any of this without you, that’s why your generous gift is invaluable to protecting the rainforests. We sincerely hope we will have your support in the years to come so we can win this victory for Indonesia’s beautiful forests and the Sumatran tiger whose very survival depends on them. Thank you!
Greenpeace Forests Campaigner