Asia Pulp & Paper Commits to Stop Deforestation

February 17, 2013

When our Better Paper Project works with magazines and publishers to shift them onto environmentally preferable recycled paper, we make it a priority to explain the problems with the worst-polluting paper producers, and to help publishers craft sustainability policies that specifically exclude the worst of the worst. That effort has always included a ban on purchasing from Asia Pulp & Paper, a virgin forest clear-cutter that has so devastated the Indonesian rain forest the country ranks as the  fourth largest polluting nation in the world.  (Around 10 percent of global carbon pollution comes from deforestation.)

Our allies at Greenpeace, WWF, and RAN have stepped up too, persuading huge corporations like Disney Mattel, Hasbro, Lego, K-Mart, Staples, and Kroger to cancel their contracts with Asia Pulp & Paper as well. The result? After more than ten years of pressure, on Feb. 5 Asia Pulp & Paper announced it would stop clearing tropical forests in Indonesia.

From the New York Times:

The announcement comes as companies that rely on forests face increasing pressure from buyers to improve their environmental standards while financing aggressive demand-driven expansions. It also is just months before a two-year moratorium on new forest concessions mandated by the Indonesian government ends in May.

Environmental advisers say the about-face by a company with a history of poor corporate and environmental management could have wider implications for Indonesia’s main exporting industries, palm oil and mining.

“If A.P.P. can do this, there is no reason why any company anywhere in the world can’t do this,” said Scott Poynton, the executive director of the Forest Trust, a nonprofit forest management organization that is working with Asia Pulp and Paper, also known as A.P.P., to see that it implements its commitments. “Hopefully the government of Indonesia will look to bring in regulations to force companies in Indonesia to follow A.P.P.’s lead.”

Find magazines with a commitment to printing on environmentally preferable recycled paper at Green America’s Better Paper Project.

Deforestation in West Borneo
Photo: Greenpeace

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