Pages tagged "Pulp and Paper"


Toba Pulp Lestari: In depth on one of the worst actors in pulp and paper

Indonesian pulp and paper giant Toba Pulp Lestari has been operating recklessly in North Sumatra for years. The company's mill has been poisoning communities and disrupting life and livelihoods for the local people who call this area home. The mill, and it’s operators, are responsible for horrific land conflicts between the company and villagers who hold traditional land rights to the company’s concessions.


These communities, whose land is protected by customary rights under Indonesian law, rely on these forests for their life and livelihoods. As reported by RAN’s on-the-ground partner, Kelompok Studi dan Pengembangan Prakarsa Masyarakat, well over 17,000 hectares of natural forest have been destroyed, impacting or displacing over 13,000 Indigenous people.

These communities are fighting back, and at least 59 activists have been arrested for resisting Toba Pulp Lestari’s continued expansion and destruction. In the past few years, land conflict has only escalated between villagers and Toba Pulp Lestari employees over the forest area. Meetings with government representatives and Toba Pulp Lestari management have brought no results, and local villagers have resorted to protests and blockades of company operations in order to protect the forests.

The behavior of Toba Pulp Lestari employees shows clear disregard for the livelihoods of local people. In February 2013, local farmers from Pandumaan and Sipituhuta Villages caught Toba Pulp Lestari employees entering their forest areas and cutting down frankincense trees. Instead of apprehending those causing the destruction, resulting clashes between farmers and the employees led to the arrests of 31 farmers.

The harvest of frankincense is essential to the local economy. These communities, who have farmed this land for generations, extract the frankincense without destroying the trees in order to maintain the health of the forest and keep this vital source of income intact for future generations. When the forests are wiped out for pulp plantations, Toba Pulp Lestari destroys not only the livelihoods of the community, their childrens’ livelihoods, and the ecosystem, but it destroys their culture as well.

Local communities have opposed the mill since it began operations in North Sumatra in 1989 due to the rainforest destruction, land grabbing and toxics pollution central to the company’s business model. In 1990, 10 elderly women from Sugapa Village were arrested for pulling up and destroying eucalyptus plantings on their traditional land. Protests by the local community escalated in 1998 and temporarily shut down the mill. But in recent years, the company has changed its name from PT Inti Indorayon Utama to PT Toba Pulp Lestari and reopened the mill; it is now in the process of expanding its destructive operations further into pristine rainforest. Along with name changes, the company has changed affiliations multiple times in order to hide its destruction. The company was formerly affiliated with pulp and paper giant, Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) and its parent Royal Golden Eagle (RGE), and is still controlled by notorious Indonesian business tycoon Sukanto Tanoto through holding companies.  

This may seem like a conflict far away from those of us in the Americas, Europe, or Australia, but it’s closer than one would think. A wide variety of consumer products contain pulp from rainforests like those in North Sumatra, including paper, food, cosmetics, household goods—even clothing. This pulp, and the conflict that produced it, is sold on store shelves in your neighborhood - unmarked and unidentifiable.

Unless Toba Pulp Lestari respects the rights of the Indigenous people, including the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), conflicts will only continue. And while Indonesia’s Constitutional Court has acknowledged the customary forest rights of the communities, Toba Pulp Lestari’s concessions and operations continue to undermine the ability of local people to access and manage their own forests.

We plan to keep you up to date on this conflict and bring more information continue to explore and expose the pulp supply chains threatening global rainforests.... stay tuned.


What's In YOUR Paper?

People call the RAN office all the time asking for paper purchasing advice. We tell people that our office uses 100% post-consumer recycled paper from New Leaf Paper, and that they should look for paper that is also 100% post consumer recycled, preferably not chlorine bleached. If they can't find such paper, we encourage folks to do the best they can - look for the highest post-consumer recycled content possible, or a stamp from the Forest Stewardship Council (a forest products certifier that has pretty high standards.) Unfortunately we don't usually offer much more guidance than that. Until now! From now on we will direct people to the new website, whatsinyourpaper.com, that just launched this month and is a great resource for individuals and larger organizations or corporations who want to purchase responsible paper products. This site features a toolkit for paper purchasers, a guide of the degrees of responsibly produced paper, features on the latest campaigns targeting paper companies, and links to a blog featuring the latest updates in the paper world. So - the next time you are wondering about your paper consumption, feel free to call us, but we will just refer you to whatsinyourpaper.com! -Annie

What's In YOUR Paper?

People call the RAN office all the time asking for paper purchasing advice. We tell people that our office uses 100% post-consumer recycled paper from New Leaf Paper, and that they should look for paper that is also 100% post consumer recycled, preferably not chlorine bleached. If they can't find such paper, we encourage folks to do the best they can - look for the highest post-consumer recycled content possible, or a stamp from the Forest Stewardship Council (a forest products certifier that has pretty high standards.) Unfortunately we don't usually offer much more guidance than that. Until now! From now on we will direct people to the new website, whatsinyourpaper.com, that just launched this month and is a great resource for individuals and larger organizations or corporations who want to purchase responsible paper products. This site features a toolkit for paper purchasers, a guide of the degrees of responsibly produced paper, features on the latest campaigns targeting paper companies, and links to a blog featuring the latest updates in the paper world. So - the next time you are wondering about your paper consumption, feel free to call us, but we will just refer you to whatsinyourpaper.com! -Annie

What's In YOUR Paper?

People call the RAN office all the time asking for paper purchasing advice. We tell people that our office uses 100% post-consumer recycled paper from New Leaf Paper, and that they should look for paper that is also 100% post consumer recycled, preferably not chlorine bleached. If they can't find such paper, we encourage folks to do the best they can - look for the highest post-consumer recycled content possible, or a stamp from the Forest Stewardship Council (a forest products certifier that has pretty high standards.) Unfortunately we don't usually offer much more guidance than that. Until now! From now on we will direct people to the new website, whatsinyourpaper.com, that just launched this month and is a great resource for individuals and larger organizations or corporations who want to purchase responsible paper products. This site features a toolkit for paper purchasers, a guide of the degrees of responsibly produced paper, features on the latest campaigns targeting paper companies, and links to a blog featuring the latest updates in the paper world. So - the next time you are wondering about your paper consumption, feel free to call us, but we will just refer you to whatsinyourpaper.com! -Annie

Grassy Narrows Victory Conference Call Thursday!

If you've been reading this blog, you know by know that RAN's Old Growth Campaign had a major victory last week when AbitibiBowater, the largest paper company in the world, announced that it would immediately stop logging on the Grassy Narrows First Nation's traditional territory in Ontario, Canada. RAN's Old Growth team, along with the Grassy Narrows community, ally organizations in the United States and Canada, and hundreds of activists, volunteers, organizers and donors all over North America contributed to this milestone victory. Whether you were out on the streets protesting for Indigenous rights for Grassy Narrows, sending emails to Weyerhaeuser executives, donating to RAN, or following the campaign on www.ran.org, you can call in on Thursday and get the inside story of how we did it! Join us for a conference call on Thursday, June 19, at 5 p.m. PST (8 p.m EST) to discuss the anatomy of this successful campaign. Conference call information: Toll Free Dial-In Number (US & Canada): (866) 864-8698 International Dial-In Number: (660) 422-5053 Conference Code: 7989851056 (enter this number when prompted) If you ever wondered what strategies we used, which tactics were effective and which weren't, this is a great opportunity to look back on a great win and learn what worked and what didn't. RAN staff and activists who played a key role in this victory will participate during the first portion of the call, and we will be sure to leave plenty of time for questions. Please join us! - Annie

Grassy Narrows Victory Conference Call Thursday!

If you've been reading this blog, you know by know that RAN's Old Growth Campaign had a major victory last week when AbitibiBowater, the largest paper company in the world, announced that it would immediately stop logging on the Grassy Narrows First Nation's traditional territory in Ontario, Canada. RAN's Old Growth team, along with the Grassy Narrows community, ally organizations in the United States and Canada, and hundreds of activists, volunteers, organizers and donors all over North America contributed to this milestone victory. Whether you were out on the streets protesting for Indigenous rights for Grassy Narrows, sending emails to Weyerhaeuser executives, donating to RAN, or following the campaign on www.ran.org, you can call in on Thursday and get the inside story of how we did it! Join us for a conference call on Thursday, June 19, at 5 p.m. PST (8 p.m EST) to discuss the anatomy of this successful campaign. Conference call information: Toll Free Dial-In Number (US & Canada): (866) 864-8698 International Dial-In Number: (660) 422-5053 Conference Code: 7989851056 (enter this number when prompted) If you ever wondered what strategies we used, which tactics were effective and which weren't, this is a great opportunity to look back on a great win and learn what worked and what didn't. RAN staff and activists who played a key role in this victory will participate during the first portion of the call, and we will be sure to leave plenty of time for questions. Please join us! - Annie

Grassy Narrows Victory Conference Call Thursday!

If you've been reading this blog, you know by know that RAN's Old Growth Campaign had a major victory last week when AbitibiBowater, the largest paper company in the world, announced that it would immediately stop logging on the Grassy Narrows First Nation's traditional territory in Ontario, Canada. RAN's Old Growth team, along with the Grassy Narrows community, ally organizations in the United States and Canada, and hundreds of activists, volunteers, organizers and donors all over North America contributed to this milestone victory. Whether you were out on the streets protesting for Indigenous rights for Grassy Narrows, sending emails to Weyerhaeuser executives, donating to RAN, or following the campaign on www.ran.org, you can call in on Thursday and get the inside story of how we did it! Join us for a conference call on Thursday, June 19, at 5 p.m. PST (8 p.m EST) to discuss the anatomy of this successful campaign. Conference call information: Toll Free Dial-In Number (US & Canada): (866) 864-8698 International Dial-In Number: (660) 422-5053 Conference Code: 7989851056 (enter this number when prompted) If you ever wondered what strategies we used, which tactics were effective and which weren't, this is a great opportunity to look back on a great win and learn what worked and what didn't. RAN staff and activists who played a key role in this victory will participate during the first portion of the call, and we will be sure to leave plenty of time for questions. Please join us! - Annie

Grassy Narrows Wins. For Real.

It was a regular day at RAN today, full of meetings and discussions with my ever so talented colleagues. Until about 3pm when David Sone, my fellow Old Growth campaigner, interrupted a meeting that I was in to tell me that AbitibiBowater had just announced that they will pull their logging operations out of Grassy Narrows Territory. We couldn't believe what we were reading. A wave of emotion rushed over David and I - AbitibiBowater is the largest paper company in the world, and the company responsible for all of the logging currently happening on Grassy Narrows territory. Weyerhaeuser buys the wood that they use for construction materials from AbitibiBowater, and Boise Inc. announced in February that they would stop buying pulp from AbitibiBowater because it was sourced from the Grassy Narrows territory. AbitibiBowater's announcement today means that, when they stop logging, there will be no logging in Grassy Narrows. We can only hope that AbitibiBowater's announcement will influence ongoing negotiations between the Grassy Narrows community and the Province of Ontario, and allow the community to achieve the moratorium of all industrial activity that they've been demanding for the past year. RAN has worked with the Grassy Narrows community for several years, campaigning for the right of Indigenous people to give their free, prior and informed consent for industrial projects on their territory. This announcement sets the groundbreaking precedent that a relatively small Indigenous community in a remote area of Canada can demand control over what happens on their land - and win. The current Old Growth campaign team would like to send heartfelt thanks to past Old Growth campaigners, our organizational allies in the United States and Canada, the staff at RAN, and all the wonderful interns, volunteers and organizers who have worked so hard to make this win possible. -Annie

Grassy Narrows Wins. For Real.

It was a regular day at RAN today, full of meetings and discussions with my ever so talented colleagues. Until about 3pm when David Sone, my fellow Old Growth campaigner, interrupted a meeting that I was in to tell me that AbitibiBowater had just announced that they will pull their logging operations out of Grassy Narrows Territory. We couldn't believe what we were reading. A wave of emotion rushed over David and I - AbitibiBowater is the largest paper company in the world, and the company responsible for all of the logging currently happening on Grassy Narrows territory. Weyerhaeuser buys the wood that they use for construction materials from AbitibiBowater, and Boise Inc. announced in February that they would stop buying pulp from AbitibiBowater because it was sourced from the Grassy Narrows territory. AbitibiBowater's announcement today means that, when they stop logging, there will be no logging in Grassy Narrows. We can only hope that AbitibiBowater's announcement will influence ongoing negotiations between the Grassy Narrows community and the Province of Ontario, and allow the community to achieve the moratorium of all industrial activity that they've been demanding for the past year. RAN has worked with the Grassy Narrows community for several years, campaigning for the right of Indigenous people to give their free, prior and informed consent for industrial projects on their territory. This announcement sets the groundbreaking precedent that a relatively small Indigenous community in a remote area of Canada can demand control over what happens on their land - and win. The current Old Growth campaign team would like to send heartfelt thanks to past Old Growth campaigners, our organizational allies in the United States and Canada, the staff at RAN, and all the wonderful interns, volunteers and organizers who have worked so hard to make this win possible. -Annie

Grassy Narrows Wins. For Real.

It was a regular day at RAN today, full of meetings and discussions with my ever so talented colleagues. Until about 3pm when David Sone, my fellow Old Growth campaigner, interrupted a meeting that I was in to tell me that AbitibiBowater had just announced that they will pull their logging operations out of Grassy Narrows Territory. We couldn't believe what we were reading. A wave of emotion rushed over David and I - AbitibiBowater is the largest paper company in the world, and the company responsible for all of the logging currently happening on Grassy Narrows territory. Weyerhaeuser buys the wood that they use for construction materials from AbitibiBowater, and Boise Inc. announced in February that they would stop buying pulp from AbitibiBowater because it was sourced from the Grassy Narrows territory. AbitibiBowater's announcement today means that, when they stop logging, there will be no logging in Grassy Narrows. We can only hope that AbitibiBowater's announcement will influence ongoing negotiations between the Grassy Narrows community and the Province of Ontario, and allow the community to achieve the moratorium of all industrial activity that they've been demanding for the past year. RAN has worked with the Grassy Narrows community for several years, campaigning for the right of Indigenous people to give their free, prior and informed consent for industrial projects on their territory. This announcement sets the groundbreaking precedent that a relatively small Indigenous community in a remote area of Canada can demand control over what happens on their land - and win. The current Old Growth campaign team would like to send heartfelt thanks to past Old Growth campaigners, our organizational allies in the United States and Canada, the staff at RAN, and all the wonderful interns, volunteers and organizers who have worked so hard to make this win possible. -Annie

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