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Staples dumps Asia Pulp & Paper over its destruction of virgin rainforests

Staples dumps Asia Pulp & Paper over its destruction of virgin rainforests

Staples dumps Asia Pulp & Paper over its destruction of virgin rainforests
Rhett Butler,
February 8, 2008

Office supply giant Staples Inc. dropped Asia Pulp & Paper Co. Ltd. (APP), one of the world’s largest paper companies, as a supplier due to concerns over its environmental performance, reports Tom Wright of the Wall Street Journal.

Calling APP a “great peril to our brand” for its alleged logging of wildlife-rich rainforests in Indonesia, Staples said it will now look to other suppliers for its branded photocopy and office paper. APP had accounted for roughly 9 percent of Staples-branded stock.

“We decided engagement was not possible anymore,” Mark Buckley, vice president for environmental issues at Staples, told the Wall Street Journal. “We haven’t seen any indication that APP has been making any positive strides” to protect the environment.

Earlier Staples said it hoped that engagement with APP would prompt the firm to change its sourcing policies.

Construction of new logging corridor through dense dry lowland forest in Bukit Tigapuluh, Riau © WWF Indonesia.

The announcement comes at a difficult time for APP, which has faced widespread condemnation from green groups for its environmental record. In October, following an inquiry from the Wall Street Journal, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a forest certification body, rejected APP’s planned use of a logo indicating its products met FSC environmental standards. Earlier a partnership with environmental group WWF soured when it became evident that APP continued to log old growth forests for paper pulp. Still APP has “made up for lost orders from big Western buyers by selling more in the Middle East, India and Bangladesh, where environmental concerns are not such an issue,” writes Wright.

In recent months, logging in Indonesia has garnered worldwide attention due to its impact on global climate. Several studies published over the past year show that emissions from forest destruction in Indonesia have made the country the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Politicians are now scrambling to rein in deforestation in an effort to qualify for carbon credits that could be worth billions of dollars. Yesterday Irwandi Yusuf, governor of the province of Aceh, announced he would protect 1.9 million acres of forest in Ulu Masen in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 100 million tons over 30 years.

Tom Wright (2008). Green-Minded Staples Ends Ties With Asia Pulp & Paper. Wall Street Journal, Feb 7, 2008

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