New evidence reveals Australian companies trading in paper from Indonesian forest destruction

Press release - 7 July, 2014
Jakarta, Sydney: 8 July 2014 - Indonesia’s second largest pulp and paper company, APRIL, which is part of the RGE Group, has been caught out in photographic evidence clearing rainforests and fire-prone peatland, deceiving customers through false environmental claims. The Greenpeace evidence comes just a week after a new study shows Indonesia’s forests are disappearing faster than anywhere else in the world.

Office supplies chain Staples recently confirmed that it no longer stock APRIL products globally, after Greenpeace International identified links to the company in China. Antalis, a global paper trading giant has also confirmed that it will not resume business with APRIL until it implements a Forest Conservation Policy.

In Australia, Greenpeace is urging retailers trading in APRIL products to follow their lead. These retailers include Office Choice[i], Office Brands[ii], and Smart Supplies Australia[iii] who are currently trading APRIL’s ‘PaperOne’ copy paper. Major printing company BJ Ball, which claims to be 'the No.1 distributor of paper and packaging products in Australasia" also stocks APRIL paper.[iv]

Similarly, Greenpeace is calling on international customers of APRIL/RGE, such as the world’s largest paper company, International Paper, 3M and US retailer Costco to urgently suspend trading with APRIL/RGE.

“Australian companies currently trading in Indonesia's forest destruction need to follow the responsible path taken by global companies like Staples, and Australian companies such as Officeworks which have suspended contracts with RGE/APRIL until it ends the forest destruction”, said Turner. 

“APRIL 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,” said Greenpeace Australia Pacific Forest Campaigner Reece Turner.

A Greenpeace flyover in late May reveals ongoing clearance of dense forest, and drainage of peatlands at a concession on Padang Island off Riau.  APRIL’s policy states that the company is only developing land that is not of “high conservation value” based on assessments that have been independently peer reviewed by the High Conservation Value Resource Network (HCVRN).  However, Greenpeace confirmed with the HCVRN that in fact they peer- reviewed assessments for just two out of an estimated 50 concessions that supply APRIL. HCVRN has requested that APRIL correct its misleading claim. 

Despite these findings, APRIL continues to claim, in documents leaked to Greenpeace, that it has “strong support” from WWF and that the Norwegian Government has endorsed its  “Sustainable Forest Management Policy”. Both WWF and the Norwegian Ambassador to Indonesia have confirmed that these statements are incorrect and that they do not endorse the policy. 

“Apparently RGE/APRIL doesn’t consider the clearance of rainforest on areas of deep peat to be in conflict with its conservation commitments. That should tell its customers all they need to know about the credibility of their commitments. We expect these customers to take urgent action,” said Turner 

Greenpeace also documented evidence of extensive fires in another of its supplier pulpwood plantations, inside the PT Sumatra Riang Lestari (PT SRL) concession on Rupat Island in Riau Province. According to Greenpeace analysis released last month, fire hotspots are 3.5 times more frequent on deforested peat than on peat that has not been cleared by companies like APRIL. 

“RGE/APRIL has been quick to blame others, but clearing and draining peatlands are a significant reason for the fires. It’s like dousing your house in petrol and blaming a passing smoker when it all goes up in flames. The fires will continue until forests and peatland are fully protected,” said Turner

APRIL is one of a number of pulp companies in the RGE Group, whose palm oil subsidiary, Asian Agri, has been embroiled in Indonesia’s biggest tax evasion case and named in a joint UNEP/Interpol report for its links to environmental crimes. 

Despite recent major progress from other big plantation companies like Golden Agri Resources, Wilmar, and Asia Pulp & Paper, APRIL/RGE is refusing to immediately stop forest clearance. Greenpeace urges all customers of the group, and its financers, which are reported to include Santander and ABN Amro, to suspend business with RGE/APRIL until it implements credible commitments to end its role in deforestation. 

In August 2011, following an award-winning expose by the Australian Broadcasting Corporations’ Foreign Correspondent, ‘Paper/Tiger’ [v]which revealed APRIL’s destructive method of clearing large swathes of rainforest to make paper, Australian companies Officeworks[vi] and Fuji Xerox Australia[vii] cancelled contracts with the paper giant.   

 

Media contact:

In Australia: Reece Turner, Senior Forests Campaigner, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, +61 408 754 910,   

Tristan Tremschnig, Communications Coordinator Indonesia Forests, Greenpeace International, mob: +62 812 953 893 69 email: 

Photographs available at the following links

Photos of ongoing clearance at PT. Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (PT RAPP) pulpwood concession on Pulau Pedang, in  Riau Province. PT RAPP is a subsidiary of APRIL: http://photo.greenpeace.org/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&PSID=27MZ4BOQZSX&CT=Email&PN=1&IT=ThumbImageTemplate01_VForm&HBT=0

Photos of forest fire scars at PT Sumatra Riang Lestari (PT SRL) pulpwood concession in Rupat Island, in Riau Province. PT SRL is a supplier to APRIL: http://photo.greenpeace.org/C.aspx?VP3=PSR&PSID=27MZ4BOQOQO

Notes
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[i] Office Choice currently feature ‘PaperOne’ A4 copypaper from APRIL on their homepage: http://www.officechoice.com.au/

[ii] Office Brands supported an APRIL ‘Paper One’ promotion late last year. http://www.stationerynews.com.au/news/paper-one-revs-up-office-brands-dealers

[iii] Smart Supplies currently offer ‘Paper One’ on their online store: http://www.smartsupplies.com.au/paper-products/office-papers/paperone-office-papers/58208-a4-paper-one-100gsm-presentation-red-wrap-delivery-charges-may-apply-on-a4-white-paper-for-orders-outside-south-east-queensland-please-call-1300-138-067-to-confirm-costings-

[iv] See http://www.bjball.com.au/paper-range/digital-range/paper-one-all-purpose-blue-wrap/127

[v] http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2011/s3283804.htm

[vi] http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/officeworks-cuts-ties-with-papermaker-20110825-1jby6.html

[vii] Statement by Fuji Xerox Australia http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/PageFiles/333002/Fuji%20Xerox%20Australia%20statement%20on%20Sustainable%20Paper%20Sourcing%203%20August%202011%20FINAL.pdf

The leaked APRIL customer presentation can be viewed here: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/briefings/forests/2014/APRIL%20Presentation.%20April.2014.pdf

 

Categories