Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sumatra's forests at risk

Wednesday 27 February 2008
Turning the forests and peat swamps of just one Sumatran province into pulpwood and palm oil plantations is generating more annual greenhouse gas emissions than the Netherlands and is rapidly driving the province's elephants into extinction, a new study by WWF and partners has found.
"We found that Sumatra's elephants and tigers are disappearing even faster than their forests are in Riau," said WWF International's Species Programme Director, Dr Susan Lieberman.
"This is happening because as wildlife search for new habitat and food sources, they increasingly come into conflict with people and are killed," she explained.

Key study analyses impact

The study found that in central Sumatra's Riau Province 4.2 million hectares of tropical forests and peat swamp have been cleared in the last 25 years.
Forest loss, degradation and, decomposition and fires are, on average, equivalent to 122% percent of the Netherlands total annual emissions, 58% of Australia's annual emissions, 39% of annual UK emissions and 26% of annual German emissions.
Riau was chosen for the study because it is home to vast peatlands estimated to hold Southeast Asia's largest store of carbon, and contains some of the most critical habitat for Sumatran elephants and tigers. It also has Indonesia's highest deforestation rate, substantially driven by the operations of global paper giants Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL).


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Staples Cuts Off Paper Supplier

Green-Minded Staples Ends Ties With Asia Pulp & Paper
February 8, 2008; Page A4 Office-supplies retailer Staples Inc. has severed all contracts with Singapore-based Asia Pulp & Paper Co. Ltd., one of the world's largest paper companies, in a move that shows concerns over forest destruction and global warming are having an impact on big U.S. paper buyers. Until recently, Staples sourced about 9% of its total paper supply from APP and used the paper for its own Staples-branded stock, mainly photocopy and office paper. Staples had stuck with the company even as other large paper sellers in the U.S., Europe and Asia, including Office Depot Inc., stopped buying from APP in recent years because of alleged environmental misdeeds. The Framingham, Mass., company canceled its contracts late last month, said Mark Buckley, vice president for environmental issues at Staples. Staples is expected to announce the move next week. "We decided engagement was not possible anymore," Mr. Buckley said. "We haven't seen any indication that APP has been making any positive strides" to protect the environment. Remaining a customer of APP was "at great peril to our brand," he added. APP representatives didn't return calls seeking comment. In the past, it has said it is moving toward relying for all of its wood on plantation trees but needs to cut natural forest to maintain production levels. APP runs one of Asia's largest pulp mills on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and has operations in China. The retailers worry that APP is destroying natural rainforest to feed its mills. Concerns over rainforest destruction have been heightened in recent months because new data show that Indonesia is the world's third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping greenhouse gas, behind the U.S. and China. Fires set to clear natural forests and forested peat swamps after they have been logged are the major cause of those emissions. APP last year sought permission to use an environmentally friendly logo issued by the Forest Stewardship Council. In October, after inquiries from The Wall Street Journal about APP's planned use of the logo, the FSC barred the company from using it.

Write to Tom Wright at