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Gail Nickel-Kailing, managing director of Business Strategies Etc.

Shades of Green

By Gail Nickel-Kailing

About Gail

A business adviser and problem solver, Gail is managing director of Business Strategies Etc., which provides strategic marketing and business planning services and manages the execution of marketing communications tactics that help companies:
• Define their sustainability strategies,
• Deliver a positive, sustainable image,
• Gain credibility, trust and respect, and
• Measure the results of their green initiatives and actions.

Gail is a nationally recognized speaker on a wide range of subjects and brings enthusiasm and a unique blend of experience to the podium. As an industry analyst and journalist contributing to publications in the United States, Canada, India and Brazil, she has covered a number of beats, particularly sustainability in printing and mailing, print on demand, variable data printing and direct mail.

Greenpeace Calls Out Asia Pulp and Paper

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Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), the pulp and paper division of Sinar Mas, stirred up the ire of Greenpeace once again. So much so that Greenpeace presented APP its Golden Chainsaw Award for being “one of the worst rainforest destroyers in Indonesia.”

Never one to miss a “photo opportunity,” Greenpeace representatives—the three women in the photo below—presented the award to an APP representative in the lobby of Paperworld on Jan. 30, 2011.

Golden Chainsaw

Paperworld, the world’s largest trade event focused on paper products, office supplies and stationery, is generally a pretty staid event. True, it’s big—2,000+ exhibitors presented new products and forecasts of next year’s trends to 45,500 visitors in 2010—but folks tend to stick to business.

Greenpeace says its investigations into deforestation in Indonesia exposed that APP, Sinar Mas’ pulp and paper division, has converted huge areas of forest and carbon-rich peatlands into acacia and eucalyptus plantations in order to produce packaging, as well as printing, photocopy and tissue paper, which it sells worldwide.

APP also reportedly plans to expand its operations into one of the last refuges for the critically endangered Sumatran tiger. Two Sumatran pulp mills are expected to increase their capacity from the 2006 level of 2.9 million tons per year to 19.6 million tons in coming years.

Indonesia was the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world in 2005, right up there with China, USA, Brazil, India and Russia, according to a comparison of DNPI (Indonesia’s National Office on Climate Change) data published in 2010. [pdf] The deforestation not only releases huge amounts of CO2, it destroys the natural habitat of endangered species like the orangutan and Sumatra tiger.

While getting on the wrong side of Greenpeace can be bad enough, APP’s questionable business practices had already driven the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to formally dissociate itself from working with the Indonesian company in 2007. [pdf]

APP is not the only Indonesian pulp and paper company drawing fire. In April 2010, Smartwood—a Forest Stewardship Council certifier—suspended its interim controlled wood certification of Asia Paper Resources International Limited (APRIL) pulp products. APRIL failed to meet FSC’s minimum standard for “controlled wood” certification and was found to have violated the standards that forbid conversion of rainforests to create paper plantations, destruction of High Conservation Value Forests, including peatlands, and conflicts with communities.

With APRIL’s loss of its certified status and the earlier disassociation of FSC from APP, the two leading paper and pulp companies in Indonesia (which account for more than 80 percent of Indonesia’s production) have failed to meet FSC’s lowest requirement for environmental and social risk.

And a number of global companies are also threatening to cut ties with them [pdf] if they don’t change their “business as usual.” Adidas, Kraft, Nestlé, Unilever, McDonald’s and Mars, as well as retailers such as Carrefour, Auchan, Leclerc, Sainsbury, Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Metro are poised to cut APP off.

When sourcing paper, it pays to know where the pulp comes from! Does it come from carefully managed forests (and, yes, plantations), or does it come from sensitive rainforests and peatlands? Does it destroy the natural habitats of endangered animals like orangutans and Sumatra tigers?

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L Watson - Posted on February 09, 2011