On July 30, 2009 Rainforest Action Network sent letters to almost 100 fashion and retail companies alerting them that them that they were contributing to the destruction of endangered tropical rainforests in Indonesia through their procurement of packaging products and shopping bags from Asia Pulp and Paper/Sinar Mas Group affiliate PAK 2000.
The letter informed the companies that, “A primary cause of deforestation in Indonesia is the conversion of tropical rainforests by the pulp and paper industry. Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) is Indonesia’s largest pulp and paper company. APP supplies a company known as Pak 2000 – your vendor – with pulp and paper for the company’s custom packaging products. APP and its fiber suppliers are responsible for past and ongoing clearing and converting of vast areas of natural rainforests in Sumatra and Borneo to make pulp and paper. This wholesale destruction of tropical rainforests to meet much of APP’s fiber needs is having a devastating impact on ecosystems and species, local communities and the climate.”
The letter appealed to the companies asking them, “to work with Rainforest Action Network (RAN) to save these unique rainforests by ending your business relationship with Pak 2000 and committing to sourcing environmentally responsible alternatives.”
A number of companies, including for example, H&M, Billabong, OKA, and Osborne & Little, have ended their relationship with Pak 2000 and committed to refrain from buying from them in future.
On Thursday, September 24th Pak 2000 announced it had removed its website after it “was made the object of a deliberate and malicious internet and public relations attack by certain groups purporting to advance environmental causes.”
Pak 2000’s action has demonstrated that it may deny the environmental and social impacts associated with its business. This is not a surprise, however, given that Asia Pulp and Paper, Pak 2000’s majority owner, created a “covert” market strategy designed to bring paper to markets through companies like Pak 2000 without identifying APP as the source. APP has glossed over and launched public relations initiatives to cover up the environmental and social impacts of its operations. It has developed an environmental e-newsletter for customers in which it misleadingly refers to ISO and PEFC Chain of Custody certification as assurance of environmentally and socially responsible practices and policies.
RAN believes that PAK 2000 can run a successful business without being linked to or purchasing from companies, such as Asia Pulp and Paper, that are destroying Indonesian and other endangered forests and the climate.