A great week for consumer power (or was it media pressure)


In the same week that Orica showed – once again –  just how dastardly a big chemical company can be, consumers flexed some muscle ijn a few places and bit back for the little guy (helped along by activist organisations naturally).

IGA supermarkets wiped (sorry!) two toilet paper brands from its shelves following a campaign by environmentalists to save endangered tigers in Indonesia after a Greenpeace campaign linked a home-brand toilet paper products from the Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) to the death of the animals.

In July, Greenpeace released video footage which showed the death of a Sumatran tiger in a hunting trap after its habitat was destroyed by APP.

The company announced the product will be dumped (sorry!!) immediately and says it will not trade with APP or its affiliates until they have committed to stop deforestation.

Anther fallout from doing business with dodgy Indonesian businesses was experienced by retailer Officeworks which ceased doing business with paper supplier Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL) over claims it is illegally logging forests. APRIL, which owns one of the world’s largest paper mills, was accused of unsustainable clearing of Indonesian land in an episode of ABC’s Foreign Correspondent earlier this month. The decision follows in the footsteps of Fuji Xerox Australia, which announced it was cutting ties with APRIL just two days after the claims were broadcast.

APRIL later issued a statement rejecting the allegations. The statement did not mention the Australian businesses’ decision to end their dealings.
Good to see Ozzie businesses are prepared to pull the plug when it’s needed (oh, so sorry!!!). A joint UK-Indonesian study of the timber industry in Indonesia in 1998 suggested that about 40% of throughput was illegal, with a value in excess of $365 million (1). More recent estimates, comparing legal harvesting against known domestic consumption plus exports, suggest that 88% of logging in the country is illegal in some way (2).

  1. Indonesia-UK Tropical Forestry Management Programme (1999) Illegal Logging in Indonesia. ITFMP Report No. EC/99/03
  2. ^ Greenpeace (2003) Partners in Crime: A Greenpeace investigation of the links between the UK and Indonesia’s timber barons. See http://www.saveordelete.com)

destroying the lungs of the planet

Lawmakers in Jakarta have been bickering for months over a moratorium on cutting down trees that  was part of a deal with Norway which pledged US$1 billion (S$1.2 billion) last year to help Indonesia reduce its huge carbon emissions. In return for the funds, Jakarta agreed to stop issuing new concessions to forest areas for two years and cut carbon emissions by 26 per cent by 2020, or by 41 per cent with international support. But the plans have become bogged down in politics, with parties remaining deadlocked over several points in the moratorium including the definition of what constitutes forest area and peatland.

Some environmentalists have dismissed the current debate as meaningless. A Greenpeace report claimed both current drafts still leave 45 million ha of natural forest and peatland unprotected – an area almost twice the size of Britain.

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