Sumatran tigers take over international paper awards

22 November 2010

Greenpeace published a report in July showing how the last wild Sumatran tigers are threatened with extinction by the practices of Indonesia’s biggest pulp and paper producer, Asia Pulp and Paper, (APP). We thought that was reason enough to give APP a ‘Golden Chainsaw Award’ to mark the International Pulp and Paper Awards in Brussels. No applause please.

The tigers’ natural habitat in the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park is sandwiched between the concessions of the world’s fourth largest paper producer. Several natural forests around the park are doomed to disappear in favour of acacia plantations.

In spite of this, APP insists it is very much on the path to sustainability. The sharp contrast with its practices in the field are reason enough to question the responsibility of APP – Sinar Mas’ pulp and paper producing department.

Peatlands are one of the world’s most critical carbon stores and a key defense against climate change. The destruction of rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands in they key reason why Indonesia is the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The palm oil and pulp and paper industries are two of the major drivers of these escalating emissions. Moreover, it is illegal in Indonesia to dig peat that is more than three metres’ deep, not that Sinar Mas takes notice.

More than enough arguments to build on our Chinese colleagues’ protest last month and to award APP another golden chainsaw for the deforestation it has wreaked upon Indonesia. The International Pulp and Paper Awards in Brussels was the perfect occasion to put APP in the spotlight. See below how our Greenpeace tigers managed this:

Let’s hope APP is getting the message.

If APP is really serious about sustainability, it will put its proof on the table and have it checked by independent experts. Most importantly, it would commit to a moratorium on further clearance of natural forests and carbon-reach peatland in Indonesia.