Undercover investigation exposes Asia Pulp & Paper’s illegal rainforest scandal

Press release - 1 March, 2012

Xerox, National Geographic, Collins Debden Australia and many more implicated

Sydney/Jakarta, 2 March 2012
: A year-long Greenpeace investigation into the world’s third largest pulp and paper producer, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), has found that the company is systematically violating Indonesia’s laws protecting ramin, an internationally protected tree species (1).
Throughout 2011, many visits were made to APP’s Indah Kiat Perawang mill, Indonesia’s largest pulp mill, where numerous ramin logs were identified, mixed in with other rainforest species waiting to be pulped. Samples were taken from 46 of these logs and were confirmed to be ramin by internationally recognised Institute of Wood Technology and Wood Biology, vTI, University of Hamburg, Germany.
“Greenpeace has caught Asia Pulp and Paper red-handed – this investigation shows its main pulp mill is regularly riddled with illegal ramin. This makes a mockery of their public claim to have a ‘zero tolerance’ for illegal timber,” said Bustar Maitar, Head of the Forests Campaign for Greenpeace Indonesia.
Greenpeace mapping analysis shows that since the logging of ramin was banned in 2001, at least 180,000 hectares of Sumatran peat swamp forests have been cleared in concessions now controlled by APP – an expanse larger than Sydney’s entire urban area.
These forests are a critical habitat for ramin, as well as endangered species including the Sumatran tiger with only 400 remaining in the wild.
As part of the investigation, major companies have been implicated in APP’s international rainforest scandal. Independent testing and supply chain research into paper products from companies including Xerox, National Geographic, Danone and Australia’s largest diary company Collins Debden show that they contain Indonesian rainforest fibre. These products were manufactured using paper from by APP mills supplied from by Indah Kiat Perawang, the same mill implicated in APP’s illegal ramin scandal.
Financial records show that Collins Debden is an ultimate subsidiary of APP and its products rely heavily on pulp sourced from APP facilities in Indonesia. Collins Debden diaries, including the popular “Kingsgrove” have tested positive to rainforest fibre including large quantities of mangrove.
Maitar continued: “Greenpeace has expressed its concerns to Collins Debden Australia and stationery retailers about Collins Debden products. We call upon the company to end all trading with Asia Pulp and Paper and for retailers to end doing business with Collins Debden until it does so.
“APP is undermining the rule of law in Indonesia. Greenpeace is calling on the government to immediately seize all illegal ramin in APP’s operations in Indonesia. The evidence has been provided to authorities to assist in their efforts to improve governance in the forest sector. Any company buying from APP should distance themselves from this illegal rainforest scandal and stop buying from them until they clean up their act.”
Greenpeace supports a ban on further clearance of peat swamp forests, as proposed in an official report on ramin protection by the Indonesian government department that is responsible for protecting ramin. APP’s sister company, the palm oil company GAR, is already implementing a policy to end deforestation, including ending peat swamp forest clearance.
The evidence compiled by Greenpeace has been handed to the Ministry of Forestry and will also be passed to the police in Indonesia.
Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace.
Notes to Editors:
(1) Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora CITES
Companies including Kraft, Nestle, Adidas, Staples and Mattel have already suspended all purchases from APP and are implementing policies to avoid deforestation in their supply chains.
The Summary Report and the independent scientific results from tests on ramin logs:
Full findings and Video footage of the investigation can be found here
For more information, photos, video and interviews, contact:
Jessa Latona, Greenpeace Communications + 61 488 208 465