40 European NGOs sent a letter to paper companies demanding to stop any eventual purchase of paper from the Indonesian-Chinese paper giant Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). APP and its fibre suppliers are estimated to be the single largest source of rainforest destruction in Sumatra and are pushing three highly endangered species - the Sumatran tiger, elephant and orang-utan - closer to extinction.
Several reports show how the company has also impacted the livelihoods and violated the rights of indigenous and traditional communities. Indonesia's rainforests are some of the most biologically diverse forests on the planet. Unfortunately the country, and in particular the island of Sumatra, has one of the fastest rates of deforestation in the world.
Moreover, the rapid destruction of Sumatra's natural rainforest - much of which grows on carbon-rich peatlands - to supply APP's pulp mills, releases huge quantities of greenhouse gases. This contributes significantly to the position of Indonesia as the world's third largest global greenhouse gas emitter, behind the U.S. and China.
APP launched an aggressive market campaign to expand its business in Europe. According to the European NGOs doing business with APP at this time supports the further expansion of its operations into Indonesia's last tropical forests and peatlands. For this reason, NGOs from Italy, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, Portugal, Malta, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland joined to demand to paper industry to adopt a responsible paper procurement policy.
Increasing numbers of corporate buyers have concluded that APP's environmentally destructive practices are incompatible with their own corporate values and have ceased purchasing APP products. These include: Staples (USA); Idisa Papel (Spain); Metro Group (Germany); Woolworths (Australia); Robert Horne Group (UK); Ricoh and Fuji Xerox (Japan); Unisource (USA); and Gucci and Versace (Italy). Carrefour (France) and Tesco (UK) have also recently confirmed that they will stop buying from APP for their own-brand products. In addition, a number of multinationals are implementing procurement policies which will exclude products from APP, unless the company makes substantial sustainability improvements. These include: Nestle (Switzerland); Kraft (USA); and Unilever (Netherlands/UK).
The NGOs demend to paper industry not purchase any APP products, whether from Indonesia or China, and to break any business from this company until APP and its suppliers commit to stop all further expansion into natural forest and peatland areas for any plantation development, and respect the customary land rights of indigenous and local communities in existing and planned plantation areas that provide pulpwood to APP, and until the implementation of these commitments has been verified by third parties, including local non-governmental organisations.
The letter was signed by Terra!, Greenpeace, WWF, 11.11.11, Amigos de la Tierra, Animals Asia, ARA, Bond Beter Leefmilieu, Both Ends, Bund, Care for the Wild International, CNCD-11.11.11, Ecolife, Ecologistas en Acci__n, Euronatura, F‚d‚ration Inter-Environnement Wallonie, FERN, Friends of the Earth Cyprus, Friends of the Earth Europe, Friends of the Earth Finland, Global 2000, Global Witness, Humane Society International , Les Amis de la Terre, Luonto Litto, Orangutan Appeal UK, Orangutan Foundation, Orangutan Land Trust, PanEco, Pro Natura, Pro Reganwald, Rainforest Foundation Norway, Restore UK, Robinwood, Salvaleforeste, Save the Rhino, SEO/Birdlife, Sumatran Orangutan Society, Worldforests e Watch Indonesia.