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Paper Giant APP’s Greenwashing Campaign Hides Forest Destruction

Asia Pulp & Paper Supplier Clear Cutting Inside APP’s Heavily Promoted Tiger Sanctuary

WASHINGTON, DC, December 13, 2011 – One of Asia Pulp & Paper’s (APP) suppliers is clear cutting its widely advertised tiger sanctuary in Sumatra, Indonesia, an investigation by a coalition of environmental groups finds. Through field investigations and historical satellite image analysis, Sumatra-based NGO coalition Eyes on the Forest found that the paper giant APP’s supplier PT Ruas Utama Jaya has been clear cutting tropical forest inside the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary.

Eyes on the Forest is a coalition of environmental groups in Riau, Sumatra: Jikalahari (Riau Forest Rescue Network), WALHI (Friends of the Earth, Riau Office) and WWF-Indonesia (Riau Program).

In a new report, “The truth behind APP’s greenwash,” Eyes on the Forest estimates that APP has pulped some five million acres of Indonesia’s tropical forests since it began in 1984. The company’s use of timber from clear cut forests that are home to critically endangered elephants, tigers and orangutans, and the huge amounts of CO2 released by the draining of carbon-rich peatlands, are completely contrary to the image of environmental responsibility APP is pushing through front groups and PR campaigns.

“This is clear proof that the global advertising claims of APP that it actively protects Sumatran tigers are highly exaggerated”, said Anwar Purwoto of WWF.

After attempting to block a government-proposed Senepis National Park that would have protected tiger habitat targeted for pulping by APP, the company switched to advertising a leading role in creating the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary in 2006, according to the report. Now, at least one APP supplier is engaged in the clear cutting and drainage of one of the areas that APP had set aside for the sanctuary, based on field investigations in June and October, 2011 combined with satellite image analysis.

Many major US companies have stopped purchasing paper products from APP because of the company’s destructive practices. However, APP is increasingly expanding globally into tissue products like toilet paper, including the brand names Paseo and LIVI, which is marketed in the US.

“Consumers shouldn’t have to choose between tigers and toilet paper,” said Linda Kramme, Forest Program Manager of WWF. “Paseo is currently the fastest growing brand of toilet paper in the US, but as long as it costs the lives of tigers and other endangered species, consumers should look for other options, such as paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).”

The new report details how the company made the same promise about moving to 100% plantation sourcing of its wood supply four times – missing self-imposed deadlines to stop using native forest timber in 2004, 2007 and 2009. APP is now announcing it will meet its commitment on timber sourcing by 2015 – a deadline Eyes on the Forest says it expects APP to also miss.

“It’s appalling that APP is pulping even the small blocks of forest it had told the world it would protect as tiger habitat,” Hariansyah Usman of WALHI Riau said.  “This report shows a different picture to this and other much-touted  APP  ‘conservation projects’. APP is interested only in feeding its giant mills with as much tropical forest wood as possible, and hoping that customers and investors will continue to believe conservation commitments and advertisements which past experience shows to be unrealistic,” Usman added.

“We urge global buyers and investors to stop supporting Asia Pulp & Paper’s continuing shameless destruction of Indonesia’s tropical forests and the homes of Sumatra’s last surviving tigers,” says Muslim Rasyid of Jikalahari, NGOs network. “Join the growing list of other responsible companies that have cut all ties with APP.”

Notes to Editors:

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About Eyes on the Forest

Eyes on the Forest (EoF) is a coalition of environmental NGOs in Riau, Sumatra: Jikalahari (Riau Forest Rescue Network), Walhi (Friends of the Earth) Riau Office and WWF-Indonesia, Riau Program. EoF has been monitoring the status of the remaining natural forests in Sumatra's Province of Riau and disseminating the information worldwide since 2004. For more news on Eyes on the Forest, go to: http://www.eyesontheforest.or.id.