Don’t buy APP paper!

Posted: 3 August 2010 in APP, Europe

In July 2010, a group of more than 35 European environmental and social organisations signed a letter to paper buyers in Europe informing them of the risks associated with Asia Pulp and Paper’s environmental record. The letter is attached (pdf file, 2 MB).

PHOTO: Greenpeace

To feed its pulp and paper mills, Sinar Mas has cleared huge swaths of rainforest and tiger habitat such as here in Riau, Sumatra (PT Artelindo Wiratama, 22 April 2010, © Greenpeace)

APP’s response to the Greenpeace report would be shocking, if it wasn’t so predictable. Despite the overwhelming evidence of the destruction that APP has caused, the company continues to deny any responsibility. Here’s an extract from an article by RISI (The leading information provider for the global forest products industry):

The 40 page report covered a lot of allegations about APP, including deforestation, and using natrual [sic] forest logs to make paper, something the company admits to, although it says that the logs come from degraded lands from government approved concessions.

But the really worrying allegation from Greenpeace was that APP is set to expand its pulp production in the region seven fold to 17.5 million tonnes/year. RISI spoke to Aida Greenbury, managing director of sustainability at APP about the report, and the proposed expansion plan. “First of all, the reports of the expansion plans are totally false. To produce 17 million tonnes of pulp we would have to have 8 million ha of plantations, and the Indonesian government is only allocating 10 million ha in total for all industry in the country”.

So what are the plans for expansion? Greenbury says: “As of today, we have 1 million ha of plantation established for our supply, with the total projection of 1.5 million ha by 2015 which will be all plantation area. Fiber for pulp production in Indonesia has to be in line with government guidelines and approval from several parties. There are no out of control expansion plans of our pulp production.”

And has the report been damaging to APP as regards the naming of brand associated with its paper? Greenbury responds: “This way of reporting amounts to what is commonly now being described as “green terrorism” or “greenmail” as opposed to “blackmail”. We don’t discuss the relationships we have with our customers as we have confidentiality agreements with them, but I can tell you that so far we have not been affected by the Greepeace report at all.”

Sooner or later, APP and its apologists will have to acknowledge the damage the company has caused. Whether any forests will be left by then is a moot point.

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