Green groups welcome Warehouse suspension of Cottonsoft orders

Press release - August 22, 2011
Auckland 22/8/11: New Zealand’s leading environmental groups today welcomed news that The Warehouse has suspended orders of Cottonsoft toilet rolls, pending an investigation into evidence that the product is sourced from Indonesian rainforests.

In an email to a concerned customer The Warehouse stated, “The Warehouse will suspend all orders relating to this product range pending further information from all related parties” (1).

The action follows this morning’s release of an investigation by Greenpeace, the Green Party and WWF-New Zealand. It revealed that forensic testing on cotton toilet rolls found the presence of mixed tropical hardwoods (timber that comes from rainforests) in a range of Cottonsoft products (2). Indonesia is the only large scale producer of pulp that uses mixed tropical hardwood.

Greenpeace campaigner Nathan Argent said, “This is great news that The Warehouse has taken the step of suspending all orders of Cottonsoft products. It is clear that they take their role as a responsible company seriously. We look forward to Foodstuffs and Progressive Enterprises following suit and suspending all trade in toilet paper that has come from trashed rainforests.”

Chris Howe, WWF-New Zealand’s Executive Director said “We welcome the news that The Warehouse has suspended all orders of Cottonsoft products pending further investigation. By putting the fate of endangered wildlife and their forest homes at the centre of their purchasing policy, The Warehouse are making a stand for the environment.”

Cottonsoft are a subsidiary of the notorious conglomerate Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). APP have already been dropped as a supplier by major companies around the world, including Kraft, Nestle, Unilever, Tesco and Carrefour because of their reliance on rainforest destruction to make pulp and paper products (3).

Greenpeace, the Green Party and WWF-New Zealand are calling on all New Zealand retailers to stop stocking Cottonsoft and other APP Products until the company commits to ending rainforest destruction. They are also asking the public to use their consumer power to force Cottonsoft products off the shelves and have released a consumer guide to ‘rainforest friendly toilet paper’  http://greenpe.ac/toilet-paper-guide .

The destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests is one of the main threats to the survival of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger, only 400 of which are estimated to remain in the wild. It is also an increasing source of conflict between tigers and humans.

Indonesia has one of the fastest rates of forest destruction in the world. The Indonesian government estimates that more than one million hectares of rainforest are being cleared every year. Rainforest destruction is also acknowledged as a major driver of climate change.

ENDS

1) full text of the email from Warehouse:

From: [mailto:]
Sent: Monday, 22 August 2011 12:47 p.m.
Subject: The Warehouse Investigates Stocking of Cottonsofts

The Warehouse Ltd has today confirmed that it will investigate information provided by Greenpeace New Zealand regarding the sourcing of product from Auckland based company Cottonsoft.

Nick Tuck, GM of Merchandise at The Warehouse, says, “While we thank Greenpeace for bringing this matter to our attention, it is a major decision to delist a supplier or product. This has wider implications including impacts on the jobs of New Zealanders and therefore not a decision to be taken lightly. However, due to the sensitivity of the issue The Warehouse will suspend all orders relating to this product range pending further information from all related parties.”

2) For a full briefing on how the investigation into the New Zealand toilet roll industry and testing of paper was conducted go to http://greenpe.ac/toilet-paper-briefing

3)http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/publications/forests/2011/HowAPPisToyingWithExtinction_Media.pdf   (page 2)