APP spins yet more greenwash with latest advertisement

by Rolf Skar

August 2, 2011

Oh, this is marvellous. A new commercial for Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) has surfaced which, like their previous efforts, is a lesson in how to make a bad company seem downright satanic. Hats off then to Allyn Media for a beautifully shot, if completely fabricated, video.

There are so many things I could unpick, least of all the appalling hyperbole in the voiceover which at times flirts with the nonsensical (when was history ever described as “thick”?) but let’s just look at just one.

The video is called Reforestation, and the gist is that APP is planting a million trees a day “to create a greener Indonesia for our future.” Fabulous. The only snag is, those trees they’re planting in the video look an awful lot like acacia trees. Or maybe eucalyptus. Either way, it’s a plantation. A plantation founded on the ruins of a rainforest, previously cleared by APP suppliers to feed the company’s pulp mills.  

So the claim that this is being done “to preserve the natural beauty of [the] land” (as the Youtube description explains) is, like so many of the greenwash claims of APP, rubbish. Call me picky, but ‘natural beauty’ does not suggest to me a blanket of industrial monocultures which replace the habitats of tigers, orang-utans, and countless other species.

Fortunately, armed with just a little knowledge, APP’s greenwash is easy to see through. Just as well that Allyn Media also work on crisis communications to help its clients “win in the court of public opinion.” They must like and get well rewarded for this particular challenge.

Rolf Skar

By Rolf Skar

Rolf Skar is the Campaigns Director at Greenpeace USA. Since 2007, Rolf has contributed to international Greenpeace campaigns to stop deforestation in the Canadian boreal forest, the Paradise forests of Southeast Asia, and the Brazilian Amazon.

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