Posted on 12 March 2012
In the space of a week the National Geographic Society (NGS) has publicly broken ties with Asian Pulp and Paper (APP) and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) has called for an investigation after a Greenpeace report revealed the company was illegally logging protected tree species.
- In the space of a week the National Geographic Society (NGS) has publicly broken ties with Asian Pulp and Paper (APP) and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) has called for an investigation after a Greenpeace report revealed the company was illegally logging protected tree species.
WWF recently revealed that APP claims that its operations were independently certified as sustainable were not backed up by any of the standard setting or certifying companies it mentioned.
Greenpeace’s year long investigation found that APP and suppliers were cutting and pulping ramin trees, which are legally protected under Indonesian law as well as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
The protected tree species were being illegally logged and pulped at an APP mill in Sumatra and Greenpeace has handed over its evidence to Indonesian police who told the group there would be an investigation.
Head of the Forests Campaign for Greenpeace Indonesia, Bustar Maitar said, "Greenpeace has caught Asian 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."
Now PEFC has announced it is lodging an official complaint against the certification issued by SGS, a multinational corporation that does certification work, to PT Indah Kiat Pulp and Paper, an APP supplier. PEFC has also called for an urgent investigation.
PEFC has been criticised by green groups in the past for its certification of APP. The world’s other major forestry certifier, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) dropped APP in 2007 following a negative report in the Wall Street Journal.
Part of the Greenpeace investigation involved independent testing and supply chain research into paper products from companies including Xerox, National Geographic and Danone, showing they contain Indonesian rainforest fibre.
In response to the revelations that APP fibre was found in a National Geographic coffee-table book, the NGS stated it had not sourced from APP for “several years”.
A spokesman for NGS said, “We do not use APP products in our current books. While there may be a few books in our inventory that were printed on APP paper, we no longer use materials supplied by this company and have not for several years.”
Greenpeace said it is “convinced” National Geographic will not source from APP again.
For years the WWF, Greenpeace and other similar groups have been tussling with APP, targeting the paper brand for relying on rainforest and peat land destruction for its paper products, thus endangering wildlife such as tigers and orang-utans, emitting significant amounts of carbon and clashing with local people.