Today, a new investigative report reveals how Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) – the notorious Indonesian rainforest destroyer – is continuing its destruction of natural tropical forest and drainage of peat soils to make its pulp and paper products.
If you’re new to this issue, APP is the parent company of NZ-based Cottonsoft which was recently exposed by a coalition of green groups for using trashed rainforests to make some of its toilet paper brands.
The report, “The truth behind APP’s Greenwash, which has been released by Indonesia-based NGO coalition Eyes of the Forest, presents detailed evidence that cuts through the heart of APP’s aggressive, multi-million dollar greenwashing machine.
It exposes how many of APP’s misleading claims hide that fact that the company continues to be linked to the destruction of unique forest types and tiger, elephant and orangutan habitats. It even documents the clearance of forests inside the APP-driven UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The report also highlights that APP suppliers are clearing and draining deep peats, a major source of global greenhouse gas emissions, contrary to Indonesian laws and regulations. It’s doing this to grow commercial plantation tree crops.
It’s estimated that APP, part of the Sinar Mas Group, has pulped more than two million hectares of Indonesia’s tropical forests since it started paper production there in 1984. The devastation caused by APP has led to intense global criticism with many major global brands such as Lego, Woolworths, Tesco now refusing to do business with the company. Closer to home The Warehouse has also cut ties with APP / Cottonsoft.
APP’s response however has been typical and predictable.
Instead of addressing these global concerns, APP has instead used the funds from this deforestation to finance a global PR offensive. See, APP have become much more sophisticated in developing their ‘APP cares’ message. They’re paying for expensive advertising campaigns and enlisting a wide variety of publicists, industry lobbyists and front groups, often exploiting their lack of knowledge or inexperience about Indonesia to provide a smokescreen for the destruction that’s taking place on the ground.
Just look at the way the Food and Grocery Council has come out to bat for APP / Cottonsoft here in New Zealand, despite the body of conclusive evidence that showed the presence of rainforest fibre in their products.
One case study in the damning catalogue of evidence against the company documents show how the The Senepis Tiger Sanctuary – a prominent feature of APP’s massive international greenwash campaign - is being subject to clear cutting operations by one of the company’s wood suppliers. This is the very same sanctuary that APP shows to clients and media as an example of its conservation efforts in Indonesia.
It is green washing scams like this that led to the Dutch Advertising Codes Commission to rule that APP’s print and television advertisements were misleading to the public.
Many global buyers, including some of the biggest paper users in the world, have ceased purchasing from APP. However, APP sells office paper, paper-based packaging and other paper products and is increasingly expanding globally into tissue products like toilet paper, including the brand names Paseo and Cottonsoft sold here.
That’s why Greenpeace is demanding that all retailers of APP / Cottonsoft products here in New Zealand suspend all business until the company makes a sincere commitment to stop destroying rainforests to make throwaway products such as toilet roll.
“The truth behind APP’s greenwash” is available here.