In response to Asia Pulp & Paper’s announcement this week about its “High Conservation Value Forest policies” including that it would stop clearing natural forest on its own pulpwood plantations in Indonesia, World Wildlife Fund issued the following statement:
“We are very skeptical about this statement because APP has made and broken so many of its public commitments in the past related to sourcing from Indonesia’s natural forests. From an initial review, the announcement only applies to a small fraction of the total natural forest and tiger habitat areas in Indonesia from which Asia Pulp & Paper sources its fiber. To be a meaningful commitment APP must immediately commit to stop clearing natural forests and accepting all natural forest fiber into its mills until areas of high conservation value have been independently and transparently identified and protected. We are conducting further analysis into this statement and its implications. In the meantime, we ask that U.S. retailers continue to avoid products made with APP fiber.”
WWF ceased engagement with APP in 2004 after the company failed to honor commitments to improve sustainability. In 2004, APP had promised to stop pulping natural forest by 2006.
APP is one of the world’s largest pulp & paper companies and markets products in more than 65 countries. APP's pulp production in Indonesia is based in the Riau and Jamb provinces in central Sumatra, one of the most biologically diverse landscapes on Earth and one of the last refuges for the critically endangered Sumatran elephant, tiger and orangutan. All face local extinction in the area because of massive habitat loss.
Since it began operating in Indonesia in 1984, WWF estimates that APP and its affiliates have pulped nearly 5 million acres of tropical forest on the island of Sumatra which equals an area roughly the size of 4 million football fields or larger than the state of Massachusetts.
In the U.S. APP distributes its tissue, paper and paper-based packaging products through a number of subsidiaries and affiliates including Solaris Paper, Mercury Paper, Paper Excellence, Global Paper Solutions, and Eagle Ridge Paper.
In recent years APP has greatly expanded into the U.S. tissue market including through Paseo and Livi tissue products. Oasis Brands which markets Paseo announced in 2011 that Paseo had become the fastest growing brand of toilet paper in the U.S. Paseo and Livi are also marketed as "away from home" products used in public restrooms in restaurants, office buildings, schools and hotels.
A February report by WWF identified the 20 biggest U.S. grocery chains that were believed to be the top 20 buyers that carried Paseo products in 2011.