On August 10th two seemingly contradictory things happened.
The Jakarta Globe reported that a teenage boy was mauled by Sumatran tiger in the Senepis area of Indonesia, an area where Asia Pulp and Paper ( a subsidiary of Sinar Mas Group) along with other Sinar Mas-associated companies have expanded their natural forest clearance operations.
Later that day, Asia Pulp and Paper ran an ad in the New York Times stating that it took its responsibility as stewards of the environment seriously. The ad proclaims, “We support programs that preserve 261,930 acres in the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary…”
Dubbed under the tagline “APP Cares,” the ad’s heading reads, “To see our commitment to biodiversity, just follow our tracks.” Given the timing, the allusion to tiger tracks now just seems a perverse irony.
Looking at the New York Times ad, I wonder what does APP’s “caring” really mean? If a boy was eaten by a tiger that lost its habitat in the area that APP operates but publicly claims to be preserving, their care or “support” seems, at the very least, a little suspect.
The Jakarta Globe explains that Sumatran tigers’ habitat is threatened by rampant deforestation, which causes many tigers to roam into villages or onto plantations in search of food, setting off conflicts with humans.
What the Jakarta Globe doesn’t say is that much of this deforestation is for pulp and paper and palm oil – two industries dominated by Sinar Mas and Asia Pulp and Paper.
While I would truly love to believe that APP does care about tigers, people and the planet, they are going to have to do more than run greenwashing ads in the New York Times to convince me.
**For more information: See the Eyes on the Forest report documenting APP’s logging activities that directly threatened tiger habitat in the Senepis area.