Caught red-handed: protected tree species found at APP pulp mill

Posted by Bustar Maitar — 29 February 2012 at 6:23pm - Comments

“Zero tolerance for illegal wood.”

These are the five words that say a lot but apparently mean little to Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), a company that has made a mantra out of repeating something which is simply not true. And today, we’ve released proof that what APP says is wrong. These are the results of a year-long investigation uncovering how APP is systematically violating Indonesia’s laws that protect ramin, an internationally protected tree species under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

Ramin trees come from Indonesia’s peat swamp forests which are also home to the endangered Sumatran tiger. Our latest mapping analysis shows that since 2001, at least 180,000 hectares of these forests - an area twice the size of New York City - have been cleared in concessions now controlled by APP. Is it any wonder there are only 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild?

Numerous visits were made to APP’s largest pulp mill in Indonesia over the course of last year. Hidden among other rainforest species waiting to be pulped were numerous illegal ramin logs. To prove these trees were ramin, samples were taken and sent to an independent expert lab in Germany. The lab confirmed that all of these samples were indeed ramin.

See the full results of the investigation

As well as finding APP in possession of illegal ramin, we’ve tracked where APP’s pulp and paper is going and found a trail that leads us back to major global names such as Xerox, National Geographic and Danone. Update: Collins Debden, one of the UKs leading diary manufacturers, is also implicated. Not only has our investigation uncovered that the company is now owned by APP, but testing found its diaries contain rainforest fibre too.

As we did with Barbie’s packaging last year, we sent their products for forensic testing and found they contained rainforest fibre.

Not only is APP undermining the rule of law in Indonesia it is also implicating some of its biggest customers in this rainforest scandal. The likes of Xerox and Danone must now follow in the footsteps of other major names like Mattel, Nestle and Adidas who have already suspended all purchases from APP.

Help us persuade these companies to stop supporting APP’s forest destruction.

In Jakarta, Greenpeace Indonesia will be handing the video footage to the police and is urging the Ministry of Forestry and Cites authorities to immediately seize all illegal ramin in APP’s operations and work together to end the trade in ramin from Indonesia’s peat swamp forests.

Please help us persuade Xerox, National Geographic, Danone and many more companies to stop buying from APP until the company cleans up its act. Join us in taking action now.

I have sent this to all in my address book

I imagine the campaign team are ahead of me but I would also suggest lobbying the major stationery wholesalers in the UK (e.g. Spicers, Heath etc), and the major direct vendors to small businesses (Viking Direct and Staples) since they all sell Xerox paper and Collins diaries, in addition to janitorial supplies such as loo paper.

Thanks for the suggestions, Neil - we've certainly been looking at retailers like WHSmith and Rymans as they stock Collins diaries.

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