Today, toy giant Mattel, the company behind Barbie, announced that it will stop buying paper and packaging linked to rainforest destruction.
The move follows a Greenpeace investigation which revealed that packaging for Mattel toys was being produced using timber from the rainforests of Indonesia, home to endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger. We launched a global campaign to pressure the toy maker into mending its ways - and thanks to your support it has worked!
From today Mattel is instructing its suppliers to avoid wood fibre from companies “that are known to be involved in deforestation”. One of these companies is notorious rainforest destroyer Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), which Greenpeace investigations have shown to be involved in widespread rainforest clearance in Indonesia.
Back in August, we exposed a link between Indonesian deforestation and one of New Zealand’s best known toilet paper brands. Cottonsoft used to be a Kiwi owned brand but is now a subsidiary of the very same APP - and forensic testing of its toilet paper revealed the presence of mixed hardwood rainforest timber in some products.
So what did APP / Cottonsoft do? First they lied about why they hadn’t participated in our original tissue survey, claiming we hadn’t guaranteed that commercially sensitive information would be kept confidential. Having been found out on that one APP then changed tack, by attempting to cast doubt over the credibility of our investigation and claiming the laboratory that we used to do the forensic testing – US based Integrated Paper Service – was not up to the job.
But if that’s the best they’ve got they’ll have to eat a big slice of humble pie. Integrated Paper Services (IPS) is a world renowned, leading laboratory in the field of forensic testing of paper products. It is so good in fact that US Customs and the FBI use them, and so do most of APP’s international competitors. Indeed, the scientist charged with testing the products is the internationally renowned Walter Rantanen –referred to in a recent US media piece as ‘a rock star’ in his field. Walter is to paper testing what Dave Dobbyn is to crooning.
Sadly this sort of smear tactic by APP comes as no surprise. It’s a shabby attempt to deflect attention from the real issue.
To expose this deliberate obfuscation by APP and as a matter of courtesy to the customers who have been subjected to their misleading claims, we have since provided a comprehensive overview of the IPS laboratory’s credentials. Part of this portfolio of expertise includes access to a library of over 28,000 tropical tree species including more than 8,000 from Asia. This figure is important, as APP earlier claimed that they would expect a ‘credible’ authority to have at least 4,000 tropical species. IPS also follows the same testing methodologies as leading global pulp industry associations, and the Institute of Paper Chemistry.
So with that out of the way here’s the heart of the issue. Despite all the smoke and mirror tactics being used by APP to confuse customers whilst they continue to trash tiger habitat, the fact remains they are using rainforest fibre in their toilet paper, some of which is on sale in New Zealand supermarkets. This really should come as no surprise to APP given that it has acknowledged that it won’t have stopped using fibre from natural forests until at least the end of 2015.
There is simply no credible basis for APP / Cottonsoft to continue denying the results of these lab tests.
Our challenge to APP is simple. Come clean, admit the problem and commit to stop clearing natural forests to make throwaway products like toilet paper. By selling products linked to deforestation APP is not only driving critically endangered species to the brink of extinction and accelerating climate change, it is also undermining and underselling the businesses who have taken genuine action to only source paper products from responsibly managed forests. And today’s announcement by Mattel is just more evidence for Asia Pulp and Paper that rainforest destruction is bad for business.
And our challenge to NZ supermarket chains Progressive Enterprises and Foodstuffs is to follow the example set by Mattel and many other major brands around the world remove APP / Cottonsoft products from their shelves and suspend further orders until such a time that APP / Cottonsoft can show that it is using the same good standards as virtually every single other toilet paper manufacturer in New Zealand.
The Warehouse came out early and did the right thing so there’s no good reason for other large NZ retailers to be complicit in the destruction of Indonesian rainforests.
TAKE ACTION: Send a message to the two supermarket chains to ask them to drop Cottonsoft!