Jakarta: Office supplies companies should stop stocking PaperOne copy paper, whose fibres come in part from high conservation tropical forests now being logged in Indonesia, Greenpeace says.
The call, being made to Australian retailers including Office Choice, Office Brands, and Smart Supplies, represents an intensification of the green campaign against the paper brand owned by Asia Pacific Resources International Limited.
Asia Pacific Resources announced in January a “sustainable forest management policy” in response to environmental pressure, in which it committed to stop logging high conservation value forests and peat swamp, stop establishing plantations by the end of this year, and to get all its fibre from plantations by 2020.
But Fairfax Media reported in May that, despite the pledge, swathes of tropical forest growing on deep peat swamp in North Sumatra were still being cut down by the company. The clearing had been accelerated, despite community opposition, to meet the environmental deadlines in the company’s pledge.
The company subsequently denied that those forest areas being cleared could be considered as having high conservation value.
“APRIL is operating at Pulau Padang in line with its sustainable forest management policy, which means operations commenced only after the HCVF [high conservation value forest] assessment was completed. We are operating only on non-HCVF areas,” a letter to activists said.
The Greenpeace campaign will target global retailers that sell the PaperOne brand, as well as printing company BJ Ball. Groups such as 3M, Costco and International Paper will also be targeted.
“APRIL [and its parent company RGE] has been caught out telling its customers it has support from governments and NGOs for a new policy to end rainforest clearance, but at the exact same time its bulldozers are out trashing Indonesia’s rainforests and peatlands,” Greenpeace Australia-Pacific lead forest campaigner Reece Turner said.
“These Australian companies need to follow the responsible path taken by Staples, Officeworks and others, and suspend contracts with RGE/APRIL until it ends the forest destruction.”
Asia Pacific Resources says the logging on its concessions is within its conservation pledge, and, according to its peer reviewed assessments, the forest it is clearing is not of high conservation value.
Greenpeace says it has checked that claim with High Conservation Value Resource Network, the peer reviewer, which says it has checked the assessments for only two out of 50 concessions that supply to the company.
“Apparently RGE/APRIL doesn’t consider the clearance of rainforest on areas of deep peat to be in conflict with its conservation commitments,” Mr Turner said. “That should tell its customers all they need to know about the credibility of their commitments.”
Recent fires within Asia Pacific Resources concessions, which have contributed to the toxic haze blanketing Singapore and Malaysia, were not lit by the company, but Greenpeace said draining the peat for fibre plantations increased the chances of such fires.
“It’s like dousing your house in petrol and blaming a passing smoker when it all goes up in flames,” he said.
In a separate initiative, Asia Pacific Resources announced on Tuesday an incentive scheme for local villages to help prevent forest fires on its concessions.
Under the scheme, villages that successfully prevent land and forest fires for three consecutive months will be paid 100 million rupiah ($9090); 50 million rupiah ($4545) will go to villages that extinguish fires in less than 24 hours, and contain them to less than a hectare.