Asia Pulp & Paper Company (APP), the third largest paper producer in the world, has agreed on a new policy that they say will stop the company’s destruction of virgin rainforests forever. The company said it has forced its suppliers to stop cutting natural forest in Indonesia.
Thank you so much to over 8,000 Care2 activists who signed our petition to KFC’s Board of Directors asking them to cut deforestation out of their supply chain and keep tiger forests standing in Indonesia. You, along with thousands of other activists worldwide, have succeeded in getting APP to change their ways.
Why KFC? If you have purchased a bucket of KFC chicken, or photocopy paper, or a National Geographic, or a Barbie doll, chances are that the paper or packaging came from APP, and also that this paper came from the rapidly disappearing Indonesian rainforest, home to the Sumatran tiger and the orangutan.
How huge is this victory?
Every day at least 80,000 acres of forest disappear from Earth, and at least another 80,000 acres of forest are degraded. At the same time, the planet loses untold numbers of species to extinction. Rainforests are critical to the survival of Sumatran tigers, which number less than 400 in the wild today. As these forests fall, more carbon is added to the atmosphere and more topsoil is lost to erosion.
So yes, this is a very big victory.
APP has pledged to develop plantations only on land that is not rainforest or land that has already been cleared, and has halted its bulldozers in the pristine forests that are home to the endangered Sumatran tiger and the orangutan. The company has also committed to consult with indigenous and local communities on any proposed new plantations.
From The Wall Street Journal:
Greenpeace, usually among the first groups to point out problems and loopholes in APP’s pledges, welcomed Tuesday’s announcement, saying that if enforced it could be a watershed decision for the company, Indonesia and the paper industry.
“This time looks different. And for us, this is the last chance for them to show that they are really serious about protecting the forests and peat lands of Indonesia,” said Bustar Maitar, head of Greenpeace’s forest campaign. “They have been consulting with us and asking for our input.”
Along with other environmental groups, Greenpeace has conducted several campaigns highlighting the destructive practices employed by APP, and to persuade the likes of KFC, Mattel and Staples to stop buying from the company.
Though excited by this turn of events, Greenpeace’s Maitar also added a more sombre note of realism:
The reality is that APP has already cleared the majority of forests in its supply chain to make way for plantations. A lot of forest has been lost for that expansion, tens of thousands of hectares per year in recent years.
So while I am hopeful that things are changing at APP and am happy about what this means in future for Indonesia’s rainforests, we cannot forget that these are changes that ought to have come many years ago.
So what’s different this time? APP knows it has an awful lot of work to do to demonstrate that things are truly different now.
Nevertheless, Greenpeace is suspending its campaign against APP, although they will keep a close watch to ensure that the paper giant is as good as its word.
This is an exciting day for environmentalists and indeed, for all of us who care about the future of our planet Earth.
Thank you again to all those who signed our petition. We need these successes to keep going!
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