Last year, using forensic testing of tissue paper sold in New Zealand, we scientifically linked rainforest clearance to toilet paper sold here in New Zealand by Cottonsoft - a Kiwi based company owned by Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) a company notorious for its destruction of Indonesian rainforests.
Then, earlier this month we published the findings of another investigation into APP’s illegal timber scandal and those results reveal a scandal.
This second year-long, under cover investigation collected evidence at APP's biggest pulp mill and shows that APP logyards are riddled with illegal ramin logs. Ramin trees can be found in Sumatra's peat swamp forests, home to the Sumatran tiger, which are now being cleared at a devastating rate with much of this clearance being on land now controlled by APP. Ramin is an endangered species and is therefore protected under Indonesian law and listed on CITES.
The investigation also directly linked the Cottonsoft products that we had purchased in a Countdown store in Wellington last year, all the way back to the very same mill that is illegally using these endangered ramin trees.
Since we released the ramin investigation report and public pressure quickly mounted, a number of companies have since announced that they will no longer be doing business with APP because of its continued link to rainforest destruction.
We have already reported that National Geographic has notified us that they won’t use APP paper. Danone meanwhile have put out a statement stating they no longer use APP paper for the Nutricia brand in Indonesia although perhaps the most disconcerting for APP will be the news reported in the media that even APP's own companies are making noises about stopping purchases from them, with Collins Debden Australia, stating that the company had stopped taking paper products from Indonesian mills.
So what of those New Zealand based companies named and shamed for continuing to retail APP products that have been proven to be linked to rainforest clearance? The Warehouse suspended orders of Cottonsoft almost immediately after they saw the results of the first investigatoin and Foodstuffs are awaiting the results of an independent investigation in to Cottonsoft’s supply chain. Cottonsoft went on a PR offensive but nobody was fooled.
But unfortunately there is still a whiff of ambivalence about the position Progressive Enterprises has taken – they obviously need more convincing that association with Cottonsoft and APP is bad for business.
The more pressure we put on retailers to distance themselves from Asia Pulp & Paper, the more likely it is to change its ways.
Take action now by sending a message to the companies still buying App products.