The Greenpeace action took place as President Barack Obama prepares to fly to Asia for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), his first visit to the region as President, and as the United States continues to block progress ahead of the critical UN climate negotiations at Copenhagen next month.
The Finnish-owned company, which supplies products like photocopy paper to global markets including the US, China, Europe and Australia, admitted that APRIL's pulp "comes from a very delicate environment". Greenpeace estimates this contract to be equal to over 4% of APRIL's total pulp production, worth over US$55 million annually. (3)
"This is a very positive move by UPM to help protect Indonesia's rainforests and carbon rich peatlands, the destruction of which is driving climate change, mass species extinction and causing poverty in forest dependent communities," said Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia's rainforest campaigner.
"As international companies start distancing themselves from this environmental disaster, the call the end global deforestation here and around the globe will only get louder and louder. It is not only one of the quickest and most cost effective ways to combat climate change but is essential in order to avert runway climate change in our lifetime."
Yesterday, activists from Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Brazil and Finland shut down APRIL's operations in the heart of the Indonesian rainforest on the island of Sumatra. They locked themselves to seven machines used to clear vast tracts of forest and peatland for conversion to pulp wood plantations. Other activists unfurled a huge banner in a freshly destroyed area of rainforest that read "Obama: you
can stop this", urging him to join other world leaders and help avert a climate crisis by ending global deforestation, responsible for about a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Earlier this week, Greenpeace released fresh evidence, including aerial surveillance images that prove APRIL is destroying areas of rainforest and draining forest peatland on Sumatra's threatened Kampar Peninsula. (4) The evidence also strongly indicates that the company is clearing forest on peat which is more than 3 metres deep. This is illegal under Indonesian law.
Over a million hectares of forest, mostly tropical rainforest, is destroyed every month - that is an area of forest the size of a football pitch every two seconds. Rainforest and peatland destruction in Indonesia emits such huge quantities of CO2 that is has driven the country to become the world's third largest climate polluter after China and the US.
"President Obama, Yudhoyono and other world leaders must listen and take action to pull us back from the brink of a climate crisis. They must attend the UN climate summit and agree to a fair, ambitious and binding deal that includes ending the destruction of the world's rainforests," concluded Maitar.
Other contacts: UPM media desk: +358 (0)405883284Greenpeace in Europe:Maija Suomela, Forest campaigner Greenpeace Nordic: +35 8401809303Pat Venditti, head of the forest campaign, Greenpeace International: +44 (0) 7801 212 972Matilda Brasdshaw, Greenpeace International communications: +31 (0) 6 2900 1131 In Indonesia:Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia forest campaigner: +62 81344666135Hikmat Soeritanuwijaya, Greenpeace Southeast Asia media campaigner: +62 (0) 818930271
VVPR info: Maarten van Rouveroy, Greenpeace International video producer: +31 (0) 646197322John Novis, Greenpeace International photography: +44 (0) 7801 615 889
Notes: News on whether the activists will be charged will come later today.(1)http://w3.upm-kymmene.com/upm/internet/cms/upmcms.nsf/prv/UPM_has_renewed_its_pulp_sourcing_strategy?OpenDocument(2) Asia Pulp & Paper (APP – Sinar Mas) and its main rival, Asia Pacific Resources International Holding Limited (APRIL - RGE) together control over 73% of Indonesia’s total pulp capacity, and control two of the world’s largest pulp mills.(3) APRIL produces around 2.4 million tonnes of pulp annually (APRIL CSR report 2008). In 2008, UPM’s Changsu (China) mill imported over 105,000 tonnes of pulp from Indonesia (Customs data China), most of which was supplied by APRIL’s PT RAPP mill and equivalent to more than 4% of APRIL’s global annual pulp production. The average export price of Indonesian pulp to China was US$537 (Customs data Indonesia).(4) http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/id/campaign/melindungi-hutan-alam-terakhir/pembelaiklim/kampar_peatdepth_aprilFor further information please see: http://www.greenpeace.org/climatedefendersBackground media briefing on Indonesia’s forests and climate change is available at: http://www.greenpeace.org/climatedefenders/rainforests-and-climatechange
Exp. contact date: 2009-12-01 00:00:00