Thursday, May 24, 2012

Greenpeace and KFC’s Secret Recipe: Rainforest Destruction

Greenpeace International today released evidence that KFC has been using product packaging sourced from rainforests, supplied by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). Forensic testing in three markets - UK, China and Indonesia - repeatedly confirmed the presence of rainforest fibre in numerous packaging products, including the famous chicken bucket.

The report, 'How KFC is Junking the Jungle', exposes how some KFC packaging was produced using timber from the rainforests of Indonesia, home to endangered wildlife such as the Sumatran tiger. It shows how neither KFC nor its parent company Yum! Brands have safeguards in place to prevent products from deforestation entering their supply chains.
"KFC is the latest big brand to be caught trashing rainforests and pushing endangered animals, like the Sumatran tiger, towards extinction. KFC customers worldwide will be horrified to learn that packaging destined for the trash comes from trashed rainforests," said Bustar Maitar, head of Greenpeace's campaign to save the forests in Indonesia.
In Louisville, Kentucky today, activists deployed a giant banner depicting a Sumatran tiger on the front pillars of the KFC headquarters, which read: "KFC Stop Trashing My Home." The building, nick-named "the White House" because of its resemblance to the US Presidential residence, looks out on a lake where more activists deployed an aerial banner with a similar message. The activities in Louisville mark the start of a worldwide Greenpeace campaign to persuade KFC and Yum! Brands to stop driving rainforest destruction through their sourcing practices. Greenpeace investigators combined forensic testing and supply chain research to show how some of KFC's packaging comes from Indonesian rainforests. Some packaging products tested contained more than 50% rainforest fibre. The company's packaging includes paper products that come from APP, which continues to rely on rainforest clearance and was recently exposed for using illegal timber at its main pulp mill in Sumatra.
"KFC must stop buying from APP, a notorious rainforest destroyer which has been repeatedly exposed for wrecking Indonesia's rainforests to make products like throw-away packaging. APP treats Indonesia as little more than a vast disposable asset, destroying rainforests that are vital to forest communities," said Maitar.
Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has committed to a 41% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020. The country is one of the world's largest GHG emitters, largely due to deforestation. For Indonesia to succeed in reaching these emissions reduction targets, companies like APP must be stopped from destroying peatlands and cutting down rainforests. Just last week APP confirmed that it would continue to use timber from forest clearance for at least another two and a half years.
Greenpeace is calling for KFC, and its parent company Yum! Brands to immediately drop APP and create strong policies to rid their supply chains of deforestation. The environment group has launched an online campaign with a KFC parody website asking people to help save the forests and endangered Sumatran tigers. Visit for details.
More than 60 companies around the world have now suspended purchases from APP including Kraft, Adidas, Hasbro, Mattel, Staples, Unilever, Nestle and many more.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

WWF: latest APP promise more greenwash than protection

An Asia Pulp and Paper promise for a moratorium on natural forest logging in directly owned concessions needs to cover what goes into its mills rather than what comes off already mostly cleared areas, according to WWF. “APP once again has chosen to invest in greenwashing instead of meaningful change in the face of increasing and widespread condemnation of its forestry practices,” said Nazir Foead of WWF-Indonesia. “Our analysis suggests that this limited moratorium will have little impact, since APP has already cleared 713,383 hectares or almost all of the natural forest in its own and affiliated concessions in Riau.”

In a statement released last Tuesday APP announced that from June 1st it would suspend the clearance of natural forest on APP owned concessions in Indonesia to allow High Conservation Value Forest HCVF assessments to be conducted.
The latest promise doesn't even come close to the levels APP committed to in 2004, 2007 and 2009; all three times APP missed self-imposed deadlines of supplying its pulp mills exclusively from renewable plantation wood.
WWF has calculated that if APP abides by the promises made in its recent announcement it may save 22,000 ha compared to the more than two million hectares of natural forest and endangered tiger habitat pulped since 1984.
Just over 103,000 hectares of the remaining natural forests are forests that are already designated or by regulation must be protected.
“To be a meaningful commitment APP must immediately commit to stop clearing natural forests and accepting all natural forest fibre into its mills until areas of high conservation value have been independently and transparently identified and protected. We are conducting further analysis into this statement and its implications, in the meantime,” WWF said in a statement.
WWF ceased engagement with APP in 2004 after the company failed to honour commitments to improve sustainability.
In March of this year it was discovered that APP had decimated tropical forests it promised to conserve under “legally binding” debt restructuring in 2004.
Using satellite imagery the report by Sumatra based NGO coalition; Eyes on the Forest found that within three years of making the agreement, APP’s wood suppliers began clearing areas of high conservation value forest in central Sumatra’s Pulau Muda, a rain forest in the Kerumutan tiger landscape.
A footprint of a Sumatra tiger was found in one of the cleared areas.
APP is one of the world’s largest pulp & paper companies and markets products in more than 65 countries.
APP's pulp production in Indonesia is based in the Riau and Jambi provinces in central Sumatra, one of the most biologically diverse landscapes on Earth and one of the last refuges for the critically endangered Sumatran elephant, tiger and orang-utan. All face local extinction in the area because of massive habitat loss.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Asia Pulp & Paper recruits the Prince of Darkness

The powerful British politician Lord Mandelson has been hired as a consultant by the controversial pulp & paper group Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), as reported by The Guardian. APP, one of the world largest paper groups, it is accused by environmental groups to have pulped up to two million hectares of Indonesian rainforest, endangering threatened wildlife and even the global climate.

 Lord Mandelson was the Member of Parliament from 1992 to 2004. He served in a number of Cabinet positions under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and was a European Commissioner. He was one of the first people in Britain to whom the term "spin doctor" was applied, and he was a key architect in the rebranding of the Labour Party as "New Labour" , and he was thus called 'the Prince of Darkness' and, after his ennoblement, 'the Dark Lord'. 

The article pubblished by The Guardian

Lord Mandelson confirms he is advising company accused of illegal logging
Peer's consultancy works for paper and pulp multinational alleged to have chopped down protected trees
The Guardian

Lord Mandelson has been recruited to advise a multinational company accused of illegally chopping down endangered rainforest.
The Labour peer and his staff in the political consultancy that he set up after leaving government have been meeting officials on behalf of Asia Pulp and Paper.
For more than a decade, APP, one of the world's largest pulp and paper companies, has been accused by environmental groups such as Greenpeace of destroying thousands of hectares of Indonesian rainforest and endangering some of the world's rarest animals. A growing number of firms have boycotted APP.
The disclosure comes as Mandelson and other peers are expected to face pressure from the House of Lords authorities to declare their clients.
Global Counsel, the consultancy Mandelson chairs, does not name its clients as it "respects their privacy". But after inquiries by the Guardian, he has confirmed that Global Counsel has a contract with APP, the first time he has acknowledged a client of his firm. The company says it is helping APP meet new EU rules requiring timber imported from Indonesia to be sustainably sourced.
The peer acquired a large roster of contacts from his time as the European trade commissioner between 2004 and 2008, and as a key member of the administrations of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
There has been long-running concern about politicians who exploit their contacts and knowledge gained while in public office after they leave power.
Mandelson said his work for APP centred on a new licensing regime that would mean Indonesian companies could sell timber products to Europe only if they came from legally harvested trees. He was advising APP on making the new regime a success and "raising awareness of these tough new standards" with APP customers and stakeholders. A significant proportion of APP exports are to Europe.
The peer has travelled twice to Jakarta in recent months and held meetings with the EU ambassador there; his staff have met members of the Indonesian government.
When Mandelson lost his post as business secretary after the 2010 general election, he set up the "strategic advice consultancy" with financial backing from WPP, the marketing services group headed by Sir Martin Sorrell. Under Whitehall rules, he was barred from lobbying ministers and officials in the British government for two years after he left office. It appears that he has been concentrating on getting work from foreign companies.
Mandelson has been accused of using a loophole in the Lords register of financial interests to sidestep a new requirement to disclose certain clients of Global Counsel. He is understood to reject the accusation on the grounds that he acted with advice from the Lords authorities. A Lords committee is reportedly recommending that peers who have set up consultancies declare their clients or leave the parliament.
APP is a controversial Chinese-Indonesian company owned by the Wijayas, a rich dynasty. In recent months, APP has come under growing pressure after it was accused of illegal logging in Indonesia and damaging the habitats of rare animals such as the Sumatran tiger. A year-long Greenpeace investigation, published in March, alleged that endangered trees, known as ramin, have been chopped down and sent to factories to be pulped and turned into paper. The trees grow in peat swamps in Indonesia where the dwindling number of surviving Sumatran tigers hunt. Greenpeace alleged that it found ramin logs in a paper mill belonging to APP on nine occasions over a year. Chopping down ramin trees, a protected species under an international treaty, has been illegal under Indonesian law since 2001. Wood from the rainforests is being turned into everyday products around the world such as photocopying paper, tissues and paper packaging, according to Greenpeace.
APP, part of the Sinar Mas conglomerate, denied any wrongdoing, saying that it "maintains a strict zero-tolerance policy for illegal wood entering the supply chain and has comprehensive chain of custody systems to ensure that only legal wood enters its pulp mill operations. APP's chain of custody systems are independently audited on a periodic basis." It said it welcomed the Greenpeace report as it would help "identify and act on any weaknesses in its chain of custody systems".
Last month, three large companies said that they were going to stop buying paper products from APP, either for ever or until they were satisfied that the products were being produced sustainably.
At least 67 companies worldwide, such as Tesco, Kraft Foods and the office suppliers Staples, have boycotted APP since 2004, according to a Greenpeace list.
APP has consistently said it has always acted in an environmentally responsible manner, that it has not been destroying large areas of Indonesian rainforest and that it was a prime mover behind establishing a sanctuary for the Sumatran tiger.
A Greenpeace spokesperson : "Asia Pulp and Paper has been responsible for the destruction of vast swaths of Indonesia's rainforests, including areas of habitat for the critically endangered Sumatran tiger. Mandelson joins a growing list of spin doctors and industry stooges who have tried to rehabilitate APP's image."
APP said its aim was to work with countries to "build and strengthen an efficient mechanism to eradicate the illegal logging trade".
The aim of the regime is to stamp out the illegal logging and rapid deforestation which has been taking place in Indonesia since the 1990s. The disappearance of the forests are also responsible for climate change.
The peer, who is also an adviser to investment bankers Lazard, has been recruiting to Global Counsel individuals whom he reportedly "rated in government and who have the skills and connections to help him in his business". His staff include the ex-civil servants Stephen Adams and Duncan Buchanan.
Adams worked as a speechwriter for Mandelson at the European commission and the business department, while Buchanan was the head of the South Asia unit of UK Trade and Investment, the government agency that promotes exports. A spokesperson for Global Counsel said : "Global Counsel are advising APP on how to ensure that the new voluntary partnership agreement on legal and sustainable timber trade between the European Union and Indonesia is a success ... As companies in emerging economies grow across the globe meeting high European and American standards is one of their key challenges."

Monday, May 07, 2012

NGOs: paper products tainted by corruption

A coalition of Indonesia’s NGOs called Anti-Forest Mafia Coalition urged global pulp buyers last week to beware of allegedly corruption-tainted pulp products following an analysis of timber companies’ involvement in graft cases that jailed government officials in Riau province. The coalition in a press conference in Jakarta also urged the government to curb logging licenses to companies who allegedly involved in forest corruption cases and bring the timber companies to justice.
The NGOs consist of Jikalahari, ICW, IWGFF, Walhi, Sawit Watch, Telapak, Greenpeace and Huma held a press conference last week following the coalition’s submission of data on corruption to the national Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
According to the Indonesian portal Eyes on the Forest, four government officials are sentenced in prison and another one is detained for by Indonesia law enforcement on charges of accepting bribes for logging licenses given to Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and APRIL affiliates who supply wood to the two companies’ pulp mills. The coalition said that timber suppliers related to APP and APRIL still rely on natural forest timber forests to keep the mills running and APP even started to develop a new pulp mill in South Sumatra to add more pressure on the island’s already scarce forests and deep, carbon rich peat soil.
"We have been monitoring and trying to stop massive deforestation to supply global demand for paper and the devastating impacts on our people, our wildlife and the global climate - said Muslim of Jikalahari - We call global buyers stay away from paper made from deforestation in Riau and investors not to fund further destruction." Global paper buyers have likely purchased pulp and paper products linked to bribery and corruption At least 10 and 25 wood supplier companies for APP and APRIL have been either confirmed, alleged or indicated to have provided bribes to government officials to be able to harvest natural forest and develop plantations in areas where they were not supposed to do so.
In 2011, two and three companies were still clearing natural forest in these areas for APP and APRIL, respectively. As the table of companies linked to corruption issued by the coalition, nine companies who received licenses from bupati are among the 14 companies whom the Ministry of Environment plans to sue. None of the allegedly involved wood suppliers has been convicted or barred from operating in the areas to supply APP and APRIL with tainted plantation or natural forest wood, the coalition said.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

New attack on Greenpeace in Indonesia

>Last week Rudy Gani, the leader of the Aliansi Mahasiswa Tolak LSM Asing (the Alliance of Students to Reject Foreign NGOs), a student group, filed a complaint against Greenpeace with local police alleging that the green group had misappropriated up to 20 billion Indonesian rupiah ($2.2 million) from supporters. Rudy Gani presented no actual evidence of embezzlement. His charge was predicated on a comparison of Greenpeace's reported income with Gani's extrapolation of Greenpeace's income based on the assumption that all 30,000 Greenpeace members in Indonesia pay the standard monthly dues of 75,000 rupiah ($8). Both Indonesia Corruption Watch and Greenpeace quickly shot down the claims.

"The backbone of the Greenpeace campaign is donations from individuals around the world, therefore the transparency and accountability are critical for Greenpeace - a spokesman for Greenpeace Southeast Asia told - We see some tendentious efforts of Rudy Gani to continually bring misleading news and totally incorrect about Greenpeace in Indonesia since last year, which is based on bad assumptions and presumptions, without even once making an effort to clarify whether the allegation is traue or not."

Indonesia Corruption Watch Coordinator Danang Widoyoko told Mongabay-Indonesia that Aliansi Mahasiswa's accusations seem to part of a smear campaign against Greenpeace Indonesia, whose recent market campaigns have hurt powerful interests in the palm oil and pulp and paper sectors.

"The question is, ‘Who is funding the students?" asked Widoyoko, adding that the student group's accountability is almost non-existent. "Do they let public auditor check their funding? We probably will never know the source of their funding.”

Suspicion immediately fell on Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), the main target of Greenpeace's current campaign. But APP denied any links to the group.

"APP has no relationship whatsoever to this group," an APP spokesperson told

Nevertheless Aliansi Mahasiswa's police report was immediately championed by groups that advocate on behalf of APP internationally. Both the Consumer Alliance for Global Prosperity and World Growth International, which campaign against Greenpeace and criticize companies that have dropped APP products, highlighted the fraud charges in statements published yesterday.

It wasn't the first time Greenpeace has been pressured in Indonesia. Last year, during the height of its APP campaign, the group was hit with allegations of use lottery money to fund its operations (illegal in Indonesia) and was served with an eviction notice for its office in Jakarta. In October, John Sauven, the executive director of Greenpeace UK, was prohibited from entering Indonesia ahead of a critical meeting, while forest campaigner Andrew Tait was harassed and barred from re-entry. The campaign was accompanied by op-eds published in Indonesian newspapers and international media as well as messaging on blogs.

Greenpeace is targeting APP for its forestry practices on the island of Sumatra. The paper giant continues to rely on conversion of natural forests and peatlands for fiber and plantations. These forests are critical habitat for endangered species including orangutans, elephants, and tigers, and store large amounts of carbon in their soils and vegetation.

The campaign has cost APP dearly. It has lost dozens of customers, including Xerox, National Geographic, Mattel, Gucci, Staples, Carrefour, Tesco, Kraft, Unisource, H&M, and Fuji, and Danone, among others. APP also lost its certification under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a eco-standard.