Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A paper company loses a contract worth $55m annually following Greenpeace protest in Indonesia

While the expectations of the upcoming Conference in Copenhagen seems lower and lower every day, Greenpeace is still working hard to remind us (and the world's leaders) of the urgent need to take a decisive action on climate change, especially when it comes to deforestation. It also reminds paper companies that it's still a watchdog with very sharp teeth. Just ask APRIL.

But first, the protest: As reported on Grist, last week, about 50 Greenpeace activists blocked rainforest destruction in Indonesia’s Kampar Peninsula by chaining themselves to excavators. Activists then draped a bright red “Obama You Can Stop This” banner over the destruction and called on the world’s leaders to stop deforestation at next month’s climate talks in Copenhagen.

Greenpeace explains on their website that "with up to a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions coming from cutting down and burning forests, it's clear we cannot avert a climate disaster unless world leaders
take action of their own to stop the destruction."

And now for their interesting findings abut Asia Pacific Resources International Holding Limited (APRIL), a pulp and paper company - Greenpeace reported that in response to a letter they sent voicing their concerns about forest destruction in he Kampar Peninsula on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, APRIL stated that it had ceased operations in the Kampar Peninsula.

Greenpeace claimed it has now proof that APRIL is actually destroying this rainforest and draining forest peatland on Sumatra’s threatened Kampar Peninsula.
Greenpeace also brought this evidence to a public meeting held by APRIL in the regional capital of Pekanbaru where the company was introducing the latest of a string of so-called 'High Value Forest Assessments' aimed at greenwashing its image.

The consequences were quick to follow - UPM, a Finnish-owned company which supplies products like photocopier paper to markets including Europe, the US and China, decided to
cancel its contract with APRIL due to the company's poor environmental record. This is not a small hit for APRIL - Greenpeace estimates that APRIL’s contract with UPM was worth $55m annually, or over 4% of APRIL’s total pulp production.

So now couple of interesting questions arise here:

1. Will other companies follow suit and cancel their contracts with APRIL as well?

2. How much time will it take to APRIL to respond to Greenpeace and what will they do?

3. Will political forces follow the example of the business sector and do something about our poor environmental record at Copenhagen?

I hope we'll have answers to these questions in the next couple of weeks and we'll of course keep you posted once we'll have more updates.


Raz @ Eco-Libris

Promoting responsible printing!

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