Moorim Paper, Korea's second-largest pulp and paper manufacturer, claims on its website that it "thinks of the environment" by not using environmental sources. But according to a report by environmental activists in Korea and Indonesia that was released March 15, the company based in Seoul's Gangnam District has been lying. Using its subsidiary firm PT Plasma Nutfah Marind Papua (PT PNMP) in Indonesia, Moorim has been clearing more than 6,000 hectares of pristine forests in the remote province of Papua between 2015 and 2021 to produce wood chips for papermaking without having performed a proper environmental impact analysis prior to clearing the land.

Protest in Seoul

Environmental Paper Network (EPN), a coalition of over 150 global NGOs for forest protection, environmental groups in Indonesia  (Pusaka and Mighty Earth)  and Korea (Solution for Our Climate, Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) and Advocates for Public Interest Law) released the report titled Trashing the Last Rainforest, Now Papua treasures are being dumped into the wastepaper bin.

According to the report, PT PNMP deforested a key biodiversity hotspot, home to 40 mammals, 30 reptiles and 130 fish species featured on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. The area is also identified as place where forests, swamps and savannas merge "in a unique and fragile ecosystem characterized by alluvial dynamics." L'impresa ha anche devastato palmeti da sago, aree da pesca e terreni di caccia in aree tradizionali dei clan indigeni. "Ora la gente del posto deve ora percorrere una distanza considerevole per trovare cibo", afferma il rapporto. Anche i luoghi sacri per gli indigeni sono stati demoliti.

Until recently, the pristine forests in the remote province of Indonesia, remained relatively intact. Now, however, a wave of industrial plantations is carving up pockets of the region, clearing entire ecosystems as well as Indigenous Peoples’ lands to produce commodities for the global market. “Paper is sold globally as an eco-friendly plastic substitute, yet it is still coming from deforestation and abuse of indigenous peoples’ rights”, said Sergio Baffoni of Environmental Paper Network (EPN). “We cannot sacrifice the last paradises of the planet for products that end up in the trash bin within a few hours after their first use”.

“Moorim Paper advertises to be the leader of the sustainable pulp and paper industry, but its violations of human rights and the destruction of tropical forests in the pristine island of Papua are not known by the Korean public.” said Soojin Kim of Solution for Our Climate (SFOC). “It is unacceptable that Moorim has ignored this warning of Korean CSOs and continued with business as usual without resolving these issues in the last three years.”

The forests felled by Moorim in Papua belong to the traditional clans, whose rainforest shape their life and culture. Yet, the company’s bulldozers destroyed their fishing ponds, their hunting areas, their sago hamlets and even their sacred sites, where the traditional clan lands harbour their social and spiritual values. Moorim has failed to respect the rights of indigenous communities and to implement Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) to any activities in their lands. “The company’s failure to respect the rights of indigenous peoples causes socio-economic, cultural and environmental losses” said Franky Samperante, The Executive Director of Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat. “Indigenous peoples are already facing difficulties in meeting their needs for quality food and water, livelihood, harmony, in which all of these cannot be replaced with unjust compensation. The government must provide sanctions for alleged violations of the company”.

Furthermore, “This report shows how a company like Moorim has continued to trash the last rainforests in Indonesia whilst hiding behind the FSC green forestry label. The FSC must take swift action against any such company that violates its standards otherwise the FSC label is just greenwash” said Annisa Rahmawati, Mighty Earth Advocate for Indonesia campaigns.

"Time is running out to save our climate and the last frontier forests of the earth as well as the people whose lives depend on it." says the coalition press release "It is time for Moorim to stop hiding under eco-friendly claims. Should  Moorim fail to take the necessary steps, its buyers, financiers, and business partners close supply contracts, divest, and suspend financial and services agreements."

The coalition is calling upon Moorim to publicly commit to an immediate moratorium to further clearing, pending a thorough analysis for the environmental and social values to be protected; the adoption and implementation of a No Deforestation No Peat No Exploitation (NDPE) policy, including a High Conservation Value – High Carbon Stock Assessment (HCV-HCSA); and the restoration of the area that it has already deforested, including remediate the Indigenous clan rights that have been ignored.


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