Pages tagged "app"


A New Chapter for the Publishing Industry: Putting Promises into Practice

pubreport_720x720We don’t get to do this as often as we would like. Today, we get to share some good news with you. Thanks to your hard work and support over the past four years, the world’s top publishers are moving in the right direction when it comes to eliminating rainforest destruction, human rights violations, and species extinction from their supply chains.

We’re publishing A New Chapter for the Publishing Industry: Putting Promises into Practice today, which outlines the shift in the entire sector as the implementation of publishers’ Indonesian forest commitments proceeds. Given the progress that publishers have undertaken in the last four years (since our 2010 report), we can confidently say that you have successfully prodded the 10 biggest publishers—and hence the whole industry—in the right direction. Click here to read the new report.

To really illustrate the point, we are pleased to tell you about two recently announced paper policies from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Macmillan. These policies go farther, in many ways, than past commitments from other companies. They demonstrate a new level of thoughtfulness and attention to detail—and a fierce commitment to eliminating controversial fiber and suppliers in order to protect the forests facing the greatest threats. Over the last four years, RAN has worked closely with publishers to develop and innovate the best practices for eliminating controversial fiber and suppliers from supply chains, and verifying and implementing forest commitments. What has emerged is a set of best practices (spelled out in the report) that could guide companies--not just in paper but in many forest commodities--in tracing their supply chains and protecting forests in the process. Of course, there’s still work to be done.

In order to translate this work to change on the ground, publishers should urge all of their supply chain partners to develop and implement strong, comprehensive paper policies. And, in particular, all companies should either stop buying (or maintain their no-buy stance) on controversial Indonesian pulp and paper giant APRIL and all affiliated companies.

RSVP to join me in a chat on May 27, 2014 to find out how you can help us keep publishers on the right track or to read the report here.

Of course, this transformative work would never have been possible without you. While much of this work has happened behind the scenes, you were with us every step of the way through your commitment to RAN and its work.


Revelations on illegal Indonesian logging sends clear message to governments and buyers

Last week the former governor of Riau province in Sumatra, the epicenter of deforestation in Indonesia, was sentenced to 14 years in prison by Indonesia’s anti corruption court for taking bribes for illegally issuing logging permits to nine suppliers of APRIL’s Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper and APP’s Indah Kiat mills. This conviction follows similar convictions of Riau’s Palalawan and Siak district regents (Bupatis).

This week a diverse and influential civil society network called the “anti forest-mafia coalition” released an in depth and ground breaking analysis of the Indonesian “Forest Legality Verification System” (SVLK) finding flaws in the SVLK standard and its application and detailing sweeping changes required for the system to be credible and contribute to improved forest governance in Indonesia.

The SVLK timber legality assurance system comes out of an agreement between the EU and Indonesian governments aimed at improving forest governance and ensuring that Indonesian forest products are produced, harvested and shipped in compliance with the laws and regulations of Indonesia. SLVK certification is intended to assure forest products (wood, paper, etc.) customers and trading partner governments that products are legal and to secure access to foreign markets. In Europe, the intention is that SVLK certified products gain automatic access to the market. In the US, SVLK certification will not provide a guarantee that forest products imported into the US will meet the requirements of the Lacey Act.

Nevertheless, Indonesian forest product companies like APRIL and their customers are already promoting their SVLK certification and hoping that SVLK will fulfill the due diligence requirements of the Lacey Act. However, given systemic governance problems and recent revelations from Indonesia, such assertions are premature. In fact, the anti forest-mafia coalition’s report, and the long list of forest crime cases being considered by Indonesia’s Anti Corruption Commission (KPK) suggests that the Riau former governor’s crimes are just the tip of the iceberg. The Riau convictions and the anti forest-mafia coalition’s report are a wake up call for governments, customers and investors alike. Forest governance in Indonesia and the SVLK certification system still have a long way to go before they can provide confidence in the rule of law or any assurance that it is being implemented and enforced.

The message to customers, investors and importing governments in the EU, Japan, China, the US and around the world is that Indonesian forest products are rife with legal risks and links to corruption and that the current SVLK system does not provide adequate assurance that products are legal or produced in an environmentally or socially responsible manner.

The message to the Indonesian government and producers is that they must tackle corruption, improve forest governance, laws and enforcement and revamp the SVLK standard and its implementation if they are to be trusted and preferred in the international marketplace.

Encouragingly, there is good news that Indonesians and the international community alike can take heart in and support amidst these sobering reports.

First, the Riau prosecutions themselves demonstrate the importance and success of Indonesia’s Anti Corruption Commission (KPK), an institution that is repeatedly demonstrating its integrity, veracity and worth in the face of significant opposition from many powerful interests that it threatens. And second, last week, perhaps the nation’s most well known and important political reformer for clean and improved government and the rule of law, Joko Widodo (or Jokowi as most know him), officially announced his candidacy as presidential candidate in the upcoming elections in July.


STAPLES: Don't Jump the Gun with APP

Strawberry at StaplesActivists with Rainforest Action Network staged a direct communication today at office-supply giant Staples. Displaying a banner that read, “Staples: It’s Too Soon to Buy from APP,” a group of activists voiced their opposition to the company’s recent decision to resume purchasing paper from Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). One of Indonesia’s most notorious deforesters, APP’s history of broken promises, rainforest destruction and human rights abuses in Indonesia is well documented and extends across an area almost the size of Massachusetts. After numerous contract cancellations from major customers over APP’s ties to deforestation and land grabs, the company issued a Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) in February 2013 promising broad reforms and a halt to further rainforest destruction. To its credit, APP has extended a moratorium on further rainforest clearing and conversion across all of its concessions and those of its suppliers. RFP_Staples_Diagonal1But APP is still in the early stages of implementing the environmental and social commitments in its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP). And though an auditor has been agreed on, there has been no independent verification of APP’s performance in implementing the FCP. Furthermore, APP has yet to develop credible plans for addressing key gaps in the FCP—for example, on restoring some of the extensive landscapes it has devastated—which have been summarized in the Environmental Paper Network’s “Performance Targets and Milestones for APP” endorsed by Greenpeace, WWF, RAN and Indonesian NGO WBH, among others. Based on past experience, RAN maintains that companies are more motivated to undertake robust implementation of commitments if rewarding such implementation comes after, not before, it is carried out and independently verified. Although Staples is jumping the gun by purchasing from APP, the circumstances could be far worse. Staples has put in place environmental and social performance requirements as part of its contract with APP. It's also starting small and phasing its purchases. Those safeguards are something that all paper purchasers should require after APP’s FCP has been fully implemented and verified. This conditional purchasing reflects a strategic approach, but still leaves Staples open to risk of APP defaulting on its commitments. Finally, Staples and all paper buyers must not let the fact that APP is undertaking reforms undermine or replace their purchases of recycled and FSC certified paper and wood products. Contractual requirements and verification of performance on APP’s Forest Conservation Policy are not equivalent to the comprehensive, multi-stakeholder agreed standards and accredited verification apparatus that underpin FSC certification. While we remain optimistic that APP’s commitments will be fully implemented, at the moment it is simply too early to tell, and too early to buy. RFP_Staples_Diagonal3

5 Ways Our Network Is Saving the Planet

nokxl sf vigilDear friends, Early in the New Year, I received a text concerning my two nieces that read, “We are all safe but leaving town—state of Emergency declared in Charleston as a result of coal chemical spilled into river.” Although I’m very aware of the impacts coal has on the health of people and planet, the reality of it hitting so close to home has me more fired up than ever about the work Rainforest Action Network has to do this year. So far the chemical spill in West Virginia is a story about a completely preventable accident, but it’s my belief that it will also be a story of organizing, resisting corporate control and bringing the end of coal even closer. It was a spill that happened just weeks before the release of the State Department’s final environmental assessment of the Keystone XL pipeline which gives President Obama all the room he needs to prevent the disasters that we will see should he approve the Keystone XL pipeline. I believe in my core that the only way we can tackle the challenges we face is by fully leveraging our entire network. This year, I’m committed and excited to share RAN’s thinking, listen to your input and find ways for you to engage more deeply in our work. In 2014 we will work harder than ever to keep fossil fuels in the ground, forests standing and communities thriving. This year we are resolved to focus on five key areas that are vital for our planet: 1) Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline We will not accept the development of a pipeline that threatens to lock in an estimated one billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions over its lifetime. Last year, RAN teamed up with CREDO and The Other 98% to launch the “Pledge of Resistance,” making clear their opposition to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. To date, over 76,000 people have pledged to take peaceful direct action in their communities to resist the Keystone XL pipeline, and RAN has helped to train and build a community of hundreds of action leaders across the country.  And it doesn’t end with President Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. At RAN we believe this level of engagement must be the new norm for our movement to ensure that not only do we stop this project, but that we are prepared to stop dirty energy projects that would follow. 2)   Remove Conflict Palm Oil from our Food In rainforests half a world away, orangutans are making their last stand against extinction — scientists believe that they could be extinct in the wild in our lifetime. But the threat to their survival lies much closer to home. You’ll find it hidden in the snack food aisle of your local grocery store — and in your shopping cart. To grow cheap palm oil, America’s snack food brands are driving the last wild orangutans to extinction, enslaving children and destroying rainforests that are critical to maintaining a stable climate. As thoughtful consumers, we have the power to make them listen. Our strategy is working. This year we will continue negotiating with consumer brand companies to develop or improve palm oil procurement policies for 100% traceable and responsible palm oil and will continue to push for improvements from the largest U.S importer of palm oil, Cargill. Every time we sign a petition or sticker foods that contain Conflict Palm Oil, we bring more attention to this incredibly important issue, and we give more power to our movement. 3)   Challenge Bank of America to Stop Financing Climate Change. The five largest American banks are among the most significant global underwriters of the coal industry, and therefore global climate change emissions. In spite of the human and environmental costs of coal as well as the growing financial risks associated with investments in the coal industry, Bank of America alone has invested billions and maintained its position as the largest funder of coal. Bank of America and other U.S. banks have been slow to address this risk, lagging behind their European counterparts. We will work to pressure banks to account for their financed emissions by adopting climate policies at least as strong as the European banks. This autumn, we worked with students on 35 campuses to challenge Bank of America graduate recruitment programs. Hundreds of students showed up at 65 information sessions and interviews to declare, “We won’t work for climate chaos.” Now that we have the bank’s attention, we’re working to improve its policies and move funding away from climate-destroying enterprises. 4)   End the Use of Paper Made from Rainforests Last year, one of the largest paper companies in the world, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) released its rainforest protection commitments, a major first step for a company that has a history of destructive practices when it comes to rainforests and human rights. Over the past year, RAN has helped to strengthen APP’s commitments while working with groups on the ground to make sure that implementation is happening in the forest. While a policy on paper is an important step, we are working to make sure that the bulldozers remain idle and communities are given a voice in decisions about their lands. Until APP implements changes that can guarantee rainforests and communities are protected, we will use our market leverage to ensure large corporate customers understand that it is too soon to resume business with APP. 5)   Provide Small Grants to Local Communities Fighting for the Planet Over the past ten years, RAN’s Small Grants program has distributed more than a million dollars to Indigenous-led and local grassroots organizations to help secure protection for millions of acres of traditional territory in forests around the world and to help defend their communities and their environment from the fossil fuel industry. In 2014 we hope to expand our Small Grants program and increase the amount of money going directly to communities. This year our goal is to distribute $173,000 to communities fighting to defend our planet. At RAN we know we need to set ever-more audacious goals if we’re going to advocate for forests, the climate and communities. Which is why I’m asking you to join us on our ambitious journey into 2014, because we can’t accomplish any of these things without your support.  Visit our Take Action page to learn more about how you can be a part of this important movement. You are the Network that gives me strength to sit across the table from CEOs of corporate giants like Bank of America and Cargill and demand more than modest or incremental changes. This is the time for bold action, and I’m drawing you closer because you’re crucial to us accomplishing what is necessary for forests, people and planet. Now that I’ve shared what I want to fight for in 2014, I’d like to ask you to share what you are committed to doing for people and planet this year. Tweet me your ideas at @lrallen. I couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities that lie ahead of us this year, and am honored to be on this journey with you. For people and planet in 2014, Lindsey

Progress Report: Asia Pulp & Paper, One Year Later

rfp_app_deforestation_565x350Today marks the 1st year anniversary of the latest published “forest conservation policy” (FCP) of the Sinar Mas Group’s Asia Pulp & Paper (APP). Rainforest Action Network has evaluated the progress APP and its suppliers have made towards implementing key elements of its policy as well as toward meeting the APP Performance Targets and Milestones developed by the Environmental Paper Network, a network of 120 NGOs internationally and endorsed by WWF, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network and Wahana Bumi Hijau among others. The Milestones set out specific performance benchmarks for implementation of the FCP as well as describe and set out performance milestones for a number of fundamental gaps in APP’s commitments. In summary, aside from the commendable cessation of logging activities in most of the operations of APP and its supply chain, even after one year, it is too soon to confirm that tangible conservation or social benefits have taken place on the ground as a result of APP’s policy. Most of the progress APP has made in the past year has been in collecting HCV and HCS data – most of which has yet to be shared making an assessment impossible – and in setting up teams, systems and processes such as consultants to conduct HCV assessments, protocols for standard operating procedures and the “dash board.” These are laudable and an essential component of implementing and broadening the company’s commitments, however they do not allow for evaluating whether promised reforms are having any impact. Even in the area of setting up teams and collecting data, much has yet to be done - from the need for securing stakeholder input and agreement with the interpretation and use of this data for forest management plans to the urgent need to address peatland issues, initiate FPIC processes, and scale up land and social conflict resolution. It has been a disappointment to learn how much tropical forest, much on deep peat, was cleared by APP and suppliers in the lead up to the moratorium established by the FCP thereby erasing many potential conservation gains. By the time of the moratorium, APP’s old concessions, covering 2.6 million hectares of formerly mostly forested and often peatlands had relatively small areas of forest remaining. This reality, APP’s track record of broken promises, along with the many land and social conflicts between APP, its suppliers, and rural communities underscore the need for comprehensive and ambitious restoration, compensation, and conflict resolution to address APP’s legacy of adverse social and environmental impacts. We welcome the news that APP has engaged the Rainforest Alliance to conduct an independent audit of its performance. It is imperative that the audit develop robust indicators for and then verifies not only APP performance in implementing the FCP, but also the EPN targets and milestones, including the gaps in the FCP including, for example, restoration/compensation for APP’s legacy of negative impacts, measuring and reducing the company’s carbon footprint and a permanent prohibition on the use of fiber from tropical natural forests. It is premature for potential customers and investors to consider establishing business ties with APP before such audit criteria have been agreed and before it has been independently verified that APP is meeting them. Based on our evaluation we recommend
  • that companies do not buy products from the APP group and avoid investing in their infrastructure expansion projects;
  • that buyers and investors encourage APP to formally commit to expand its so far limited policy to cover all aspects of sustainable and responsible operations as recommended in the EPN Performance Targets and Milestones; and
  • that buyers and investors wait for verification by independent NGOs and an independent auditor that the implementation of the expanded policy has resulted in real, measurable, and permanent achievements on the ground
 

BREAKING: Paper Giant APP Moves to Stop Pulping Forests; Now It's APRIL's Turn

Indonesia deforestation_565_350Today is a day many of us only dreamed would come. Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), the controversial paper giant once referred to by the UK Guardian as "one of the most destructive companies on the planet," claims it has silenced its bulldozers and pulled them from the most endangered rainforests of Indonesia. After years of relentless pressure and almost 100 major customer cancellations achieved by Rainforest Action Network and our allies, APP has finally seen the writing on the wall and says it is immediately implementing major environmental and social reforms throughout its operations. APP’s new forest commitment extends beyond lands controlled directly by the company to cover its entire supply base—about half of APP’s paper fiber comes from "independent" suppliers. The company says it will also defer clearing and conversion of natural forests and carbon-rich peatlands while conservation and carbon values are assessed. In addition, the commitment acknowledges the company’s problems associated with land conflict, and recognizes Indigenous and local community rights to land. Given APP’s legacy of broken promises, we maintain a healthy dose of skepticism. Serious concerns remain about ongoing human rights violations and APP's plans for a new mega pulp mill in Sumatra. APP has already deforested an area of rainforest the size of Massachusetts to feed its existing Sumatran pulp mills. Though we welcome APP's new rainforest commitments as a milestone, the hidden story here is the controversial paper giant’s long history of broken promises, land conflicts and human rights violations across its operations. APP will not be seen as a responsible company in the marketplace until its new commitments are implemented and it resolves the devastating rainforest and human rights crises it has caused in Indonesia. Read our official press statement here. But if the company follows through on these new commitments it is hard to overestimate how huge the impact could be for Indonesia's rainforests and communities. APP, Indonesia’s largest pulp and paper producer, and Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL), APP’s biggest competitor, together produce some 80% of the pulp and paper that comes out of Indonesia. With the momentum created by today's historic announcement by APP, now is the time to push APRIL to meet or beat APP’s new rainforest commitments. Can you write to APRIL CEO Sukanto Tanoto and tell him to stop pulping Indonesia’s rainforests for paper? APP has made a significant move and showed that it is possible for a pulp and paper company to commit to preserving, rather than destroying, Indonesia’s precious rainforests, which are some of the most biologically diverse landscapes on Earth, home to critically endangered Sumatran tigers, orangutans, and elephants. APRIL, on the other hand, continues to destroy Indonesia's precious forests and peatlands, wreaking havoc on local communities' rights—and currently has no plans to stop.

 Unless we stop them. APP’s announcement shows what we can achieve together. Help us make the most of this moment and let's finally change business as usual for the paper industry as a whole. It’s time for APRIL to meet or beat APP’s commitments to protect forests and human rights.

Attention Holiday Shoppers: HarperCollins is Grinding up Rainforests to Make its Kids Books

Charismatic children’s character Fancy Nancy may be well known for saying that ‘every day is Earth Day,’ but her books have now been linked to one of the world’s most severe deforestation crises. Independent forensic fiber tests commissioned by Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and released today reveal significant quantities of Mixed Tropical Hardwood (MTH) and acacia fiber in the paper of one of HarperCollins’ best-selling children’s books, Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas. MTH pulp is produced using timber logged from the rainforests of Indonesia, home to critically endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger. RAN is calling on its members to contact HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray to tell him they don’t want books linked to rainforest destruction. HarperCollins is owned by Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp. Here's an image you can share on Facebook to alert your friends and family: [caption id="attachment_20546" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Click image to share on Facebook"]Where the wild things aren't[/caption] “No child or parent should become an unwitting participant in rainforest destruction this holiday season,” said Robin Averbeck, a Forest Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network. “It is past time for HarperCollins to sever ties with Indonesian rainforest destroyers APP and APRIL and join its peers like Scholastic, Hachette, and Disney by adopting a comprehensive global paper policy to keep deforestation, tiger extinction and human rights abuses out of its books.” High risk acacia fiber was found in HarperCollins titles including Splat the Cat: The Perfect Present for Mom and Dad and Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past. Experts estimate that 90% of global acacia pulp comes from Indonesia. This acacia fiber is often linked to social conflict related to the conversion of natural rainforests and peatlands into mono-culture plantations. RAN first alerted the US publishing industry to problems in its paper supply chains in May of 2010 with a report titled Turning the Page on Rainforest Destruction: Children's books and the future of Indonesia's rainforests. Over the following year, eight of the top ten publishers adopted commitments to stop buying paper connected to egregious practices leading to loss of Indonesian rainforest, but Disney and HarperCollins did not follow suit. After extensive negotiations with RAN, this past October Disney announced a robust and comprehensive global policy covering the company’s vast array of businesses and licensees. Indonesia is home to some of the most biologically diverse forests in the world—but it also has one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation. The Indonesian government estimates that more than a million hectares of rainforests are being cleared every year. Logging for pulp, along with the expansion of palm oil plantations, is a leading driver of this destruction. Indonesia is now listed as the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, after the US and China. An estimated eighty per cent of its emissions come from the conversion of peatlands and other natural forests.

Congress: Protect the Forests and Wildlife of the World From Illegal Logging

Did you know that almost half of all rainforest destruction is done illegally? Government corruption, lax laws and poor enforcement result in widespread illegal deforestation across the globe. This unofficial forest clearing makes it extremely challenging to truly protect critically endangered species like the orangutan or Sumatran tiger from extinction and it contributes enormous amounts of carbon into our atmosphere. And now, the best law on the books to prevent illegal logging worldwide – the Lacey Act - is under attack. The Republican leadership cancelled for now a vote originally scheduled for this week in the House of Representatives on H.R. 3210, the “RELIEF Act.” A broad coalition of forest products companies, workers, conservation groups, and musicians praised House leadership for halting the measure, which would have many negative economic and ecological consequences if passed. Please send a letter today asking your congressional representative to vote against the RELIEF Act if Republicans move forward and call for a vote in the House. The Lacey Act ensures that only legally sourced wood and wood products are imported into the country, reducing global deforestation rates and preventing job losses in the American forest products industry. The act has been so successful that other countries are looking to create their own versions of the law. Over sixty major forest products companies, thirty-five leading conservation organizations and labor unions, and over thirty top-selling musicians sent letters to members of Congress asking them to oppose any attempts to weaken the Lacey Act. But the Lacey Act remains in jeopardy by those wishing to end environmental protections and regulations. Their proposals, such as the "RELIEF" Act and "FOCUS" Act, would effectively gut the Lacey Act, reversing years of hard fought efforts to stop international deforestation. These bills would directly benefit notorious forest destroyers like Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and would allow illegal loggers to around the world to operate with impunity. The result would be a flood of illegal wood into the U.S. market. Send a message today urging your representative to vote No on H.R. 3210, H.R. 4171 or any other bill that would weaken the Lacey Act.

APP's Deforestation Commitments: Hollow Promises from an Untrustworthy Company

On May 15th, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) announced several “new” commitments that appear to have the potential, if implemented, to address some of the numerous controversies surrounding the company’s notoriously destructive operations. It is encouraging to see APP acknowledging many of the negative impacts associated with its business model that the company has, at different times, denied. Unfortunately, many of these “new” commitments are weaker variations of promises APP has already repeatedly made — and consistently broken — since the 1990’s. The bottom line is that APP’s current business practices are inextricably linked to rainforest destruction and chronic conflicts with communities whose lands are being logged and converted to industrial pulp plantations in order to feed APP mills. This new statement should be viewed as another attempt to mollify valid concerns with unproven rhetoric from an untrustworthy company. Rainforest Action Network is advising current and potential customers, supply chain partners, and investors not to do business with or entrust their brand or values to APP until the company and its affiliates demonstrate meaningful engagement and adopt proven, comprehensive reforms. Rainforest Destruction: In its statement, APP makes a temporary commitment to suspend natural forest clearance in its “owned concessions,” which reportedly include over one million hectares of forest. The reality is, APP will continue to feed rainforest trees to its pulp mills into the foreseeable future. The company has consistently failed to make maps and wood supply data available for the forests it controls or that are controlled by its suppliers. This means that commitments relating to changing practices in specific areas and to monitoring its wood supply are opaque and empty. Social Conflict: There are numerous cases of active social conflict in APP’s concessions. APP’s newest commitment does not address how existing social conflicts will be resolved, nor does it address how rights of communities will be upheld throughout APP and its suppliers’ current and future operations. Greenhouse Gas Pollution: Much of APP’s pulpwood operations are located in highly emissive deep peat landscapes, making APP paper one of the most greenhouse gas intensive companies in the world. In its policy, APP states it “will lead an independent research initiative and multi-stakeholder engagement on High Carbon Stock (HCS),” but makes no commitments to outcomes or actions that will lead to a reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions. Broken promises: Asia Pulp and Paper has a long history of making and breaking financial, environmental and social commitments. Since the 1990’s, APP has been promising its financiers that it will end the conversion of rainforests for its pulp and paper mills. However, having failed to do so by 2007, APP then promised to end its reliance on rainforest conversion by 2009.  In 2009, having again failed to do so, APP revised its commitment to be rainforest-free by 2015. In its May 2012 commitment, APP now only aims to stop conversion of High Conservation Value Areas by 2015, which, according to the World Wildlife Fund would, if implemented, only set aside small areas and leave the door open for continued rainforest conversion outside of such designated areas. Don’t be fooled, APP’s Real Commitments are Moving Even Farther in the Wrong Direction: Despite APP’s continued inability to move to rainforest- and conflict-free fiber sources for its existing Sumatra mega mills, in February 2012 Pulp and Paper International magazine reported that APP is actively developing plans to expand its capacity by building yet another new mill in Sumatra, which APP intends to be the biggest pulp mill in the world. This is exactly the opposite direction from a company truly committed to ending rainforest destruction.

Leading Rainforest Destroyer APP Issues Attack on RAN’s Credibility

UPDATE: On October 11, 2012, Disney announced a comprehensive paper policy that maximizes its use of environmentally superior papers like recycled and eliminates controversial sources like those connected to Indonesian rainforest destruction. For more info, visit www.ran.org/disney. Here at RAN, attacks on our organization are often a sign that our tactics are working.  Just such an affirmation arrived last week, when logging giant Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) went to great lengths in an attempt to challenge the validity of a case study report recently released by RAN that profiles the devastating social and ecological consequences of APP’s reckless logging practices. The report, titled Corruption, Land Conflict and Forest Destruction was released with the launch of RAN’s campaign to get the Walt Disney Company to stop using paper connected to rainforest destruction. APP has a long history of corruption, political manipulation and aggressive expansion into new forests and new markets. The UK Guardian's George Monbiot said the corporation may be "one of the most destructive companies on the planet.” True to form, APP responded aggressively to the release of RAN’s case study detailing impacts on local communities and forests caused by APP’s deforestation. According to the Vancouver Sun on June 6, 2011, “APP responded to the RAN report by sending speedboats and helicopters to the remote community in Sumatra to question villagers.” RAN’s main concern is for the communities and community members who have raised their voices to bring attention to the egregious actions of APP. Any intimidation and harassment of community members is unacceptable. RAN will continue to monitor the safety and security of our allies as we pursue our campaign goals of challenging the destructive practices of APP. APP paid to promote its claims on an international business wire, alleging the community leaders featured in RAN’s report had disavowed their previous statements. RAN stands by the evidence and conclusions presented in the case study and challenges APP to address the substantive claims the case presents. In fact, National Public Radio’s program Living on Earth did a feature episode on deforestation and climate change in late 2009 in which they visited the same area featured in RAN’s report. Their coverage echo’s the content and conclusions put forward in RAN’s case study. RAN has long recognized APP as one of the world’s most dangerous rainforest destroyers and has campaigned successfully to get leading companies including the Gucci Group, Simon & Schuster, International Paper, Tiffany & Co., Levi’s, Penguin/Pearson, and over 20 others to sever ties to APP and controversial Indonesian fiber. Perhaps APP’s distortion of facts and focus on RAN is evidence that the global campaign to may be getting under the company’s skin. By its intimidating response, APP is avoiding the important questions about its operations raised by the report that it doesn’t want to answer. Is APP still clearing tiger habitat and other valuable natural forests and peatlands? Is APP respecting the free, prior and informed consent of communities to choose if their traditional lands become company controlled plantations? Are the people and environment better off than before the company came in? What are APP’s expansion plans and where is the fiber and money coming from to fuel its expansion? APP’s response to RAN illustrates the company’s newfound sophistication in corporate double speak and over-the-top greenwashing. The company has hired slick pr firm Cohn and Wolfe and launched a vigorous drive to clean up its image through flowery words and visionary statements that would be comical if they did not conceal such a dark truth beneath. For a preview of what we can expect to see more of as the global campaign to unmask APP continues to grow in scope and strength, visit the company’s new website, Rainforest Realities, perhaps the pinnacle of the companies Orwellian tactics to date. With categories like ‘biodiversity’ ‘carbon storage’ and my favorite, ‘people, planet, profit,’ we can see that APP is learning the language of sustainability. We can only hope they will soon be motivated enough to actually practice it.

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