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DeforestationEndangered SpeciesForestsPlanetsave

New Report Exposes Truth Behind Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) Greenwash Campaign

Paper giant Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), part of the Sinar Mas Group, has apparently been misleading consumers and investors with a massive PR campaign aimed at masking the truth behind its clear cutting operations in Indonesia.

An investigative report released today by WWF and its NGO partners revealed that the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary is being subjected to clear cutting operations by APP supplier, PT Ruas Utama Jaya.

Senepis Tiger Sanctuary is featured heavily in APP’s greenwash campaign, which attempts to push an image of environmental responsibility through front groups and media advertising.

© Eyes of the Forest / WWF-Indonesia

Historical satellite image analysis and thorough field investigations done in 2011 confirmed that the tiger sanctuary reality is very different than what APP is touting via its various mouthpieces.

“This is clear proof that the global advertising claims of APP that it actively protects Sumatran tiger are highly exaggerated”, said Anwar Purwoto of WWF.

Sumatra-based NGO coalition Eyes on the Forest estimates that APP has pulped over two million hectares of tropical forest in Indonesia since 1984.

© Eyes of the Forest / WWF-Indonesia

Several corporate customers, including Office Depot, Staples, Kraft, Target, Adidas, Mattel, Hasbro, and Gucci Group, have “made public commitments” to stop doing business with APP because of its environmentally destructive practices, especially deforestation.

Another APP smokescreen

Earlier this year, APP expanded its dubious “environmental responsibilities” to include Javan rhinos.

However, in an interview on Mongabay.com, Dr. Susie Ellis of the International Rhino Foundation explained that APP’s announcement was yet another smokescreen.

A relatively small donation (especially in comparison to their billions of dollars in annual revenue) from APP to the Indonesian government does not mean that they play a role in the on-the-ground conservation of this species.

From the NGO perspective, this contribution appears to be truly an attempt to greenwash the company’s image.

Elfian Effendi, Director of Greenomics, an Indonesian NGO, noted via a Mongabay.com commentary that in a presentation ironically entitled “APP: Establishing the Facts”, APP’s photo of a “Javan rhino” was actually a Sumatran rhino.

Source: Eyes on the Forest (EoF), “The Truth Behind APP’s Greenwash” (2011). Download the report here.

Photo #1 by Kevin1243 via Wikimedia Commons. All other photos © Eyes of the Forest / WWF-Indonesia




4 comments
  1. Ian Lifshitz

    EOF makes countless baseless claims against APP’s practices in its ill-researched press release and corresponding report, and I want to set the record straight.

    First, I’d like to underscore that APP is 100% committed to sustainable forestry practices. We are regularly assessed and certified by many of the world’s leading authorities on sustainable forest management and environmental auditors – including: Geneva-based SGS (Societé Générale de Surveillance), a well-recognized independent certification and verification body; AFNOR (the official French auditors for the EU Ecolabel); the Indonesian sustainable forest management standard (LEI); and PEFC Chain-of-custody, the world’s largest forest certification program.

    Secondly, the claims EOF levies against APP with regards to the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary are absolutely false. To prove this, we have releases government maps, http://www.flickr.com/photos/asiapulppaper/6505517685/in/photostream, which completely disproves EOF’s claims. Indeed, this map shows very clearly that the photos EOF features prominently in its report are actually from inside our supplier’s legally-operated pulpwood concession – which is located OUTSIDE of the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary. We’ve also published photos of the Tiger Sanctuary, http://www.flickr.com/photos/asiapulppaper/sets/72157628403546091, that prove it’s been preserved as dense, natural forest.

    Our full refute of EOF’s press release is located at http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20111213006370/en/Asia-Pulp-Paper-APP-Calls-Facts-Fiction.

    Also, I would like to remind you that last month, APP issued its sustainability report. Done in accordance with the GRI reporting standard, our sustainability reporting is independently verified by SGS, and it has achieved an A+ application level under said GRI standard. Our reporting provides painstaking detail into our various activities across Indonesia, including human rights and labor practices, economic development, supply chain management, environmental performance and sustainability initiatives, community relations programs and corporate governance.

    Ian Lifshitz, manager of sustainability & stakeholder engagement for APP

    1. Proud APP Hater

      Looks like APP has done a great job of hiring a skilled photoshopper! BRAVO!!!! Does APP seriously think we are stupid enough to believe their ongoing lies? Certifications and approvals and A+’s? More like BRIBES. In 2006, APP was ranked #1 in emissions… ahead of 165 countries around the world… whilst attempting to hide their morbidly excessive carbon footprint. And this all continues on today. Everything about APP (except its environmentally destructive practices) is a farce. If there was ANY amount of truth behind these supposed certifications and approvals, your biggest CORPORATE clients (let’s not forget how happy corporations are to cut costs, now too) wouldn’t be leaving you. The world is onto APP. It’s a sinking ship….. MAYDAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Kev

    It’s really sad how effective green-washing is. A company has the ability to make any claim it likes and with a little tweaking can really alter the appearance of the truth which a large number of people will happily accept. It’s critical that we have agencies and individuals out there that expose any untruths.

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