Asia Pulp and Paper was the target of a campaign by Greenpeace, when the organisation asked toy companies to stop using the firm for packaging as it claimed it played a part in deforestation in Indonesia.
Since the campaign, Hasbro, Mattel, Lego, Cartamundi and others, have announced they will no longer use APP as a packaging source.
APP now says that the claims that its products contain Indonesian rainforest fibre have no scientific basis.
Greenpeace commissioned a US-based paper testing company, Integrated Paper Services (IPS), to conduct fibre tests on APP toy packaging in North America and tissue products in New Zealand.
However, In a letter to APP dated October 25th, 2011, Bruce Shafer, CEO of Integrated Paper Services, made the following comment on the sample tests which were commissioned by Greenpeace:
“IPS is only able to determine the types of fibres present in such samples. We have not, and are unable to identify country of origin of the samples. This type of assertion would need to be based on data outside of our findings. Therefore we are unable to comment on the credibility of the statements Greenpeace has made regarding country of origin.”
Shafer added that ‘some elements of mixed tropical hardwood’ (vessels, not fibres) were found in the samples and that IPS stood by that finding, but it did not conduct any tests to determine whether the samples were actually fibres from recycled material.
In a statement issued on June 8th, 2011, APP Indonesia made it clear that 95 per cent of its packaging materials came from recycled paper. The remaining five per cent is sourced from PEFC certified forests around the world.
Aida Greenbury, APP managing director, commented: “Greenpeace based its entire global campaign against APP on a single premise: it had commissioned tests which proved that APP products contained Indonesian rainforest fibre. The company Greenpeace asked to carry out the tests has admitted this claim cannot be justified.
“If there were any MTH materials in the packaging, it is highly likely (95%) that they came from recycled material. Or they came from a sustainably managed forest in another part of the world, for example South America.”
Mixed tropical hardwood (MTH) fibres can come from sustainably-managed forests in several tropical regions. Both PEFC and FSC-certified products can contain traces of MTH, as recent tests in Australia have confirmed.
Greenbury added: “We think Greenpeace owes the global toy industry an explanation: it has campaigned against them to stop doing business with both APP and Indonesia on the basis of a completely unsubstantiated and false claim.”
“We welcome a constructive dialogue with leading players in the toy industry, such as Mattel, Lego and Hasbro, to end the ban on Indonesian products and support a developing country which has made enormous strides to promote the use of legal and sustainable wood products in recent years.
“We also call on IPS, a respected North American paper services company, to end its association with Greenpeace before any more false claims are made regarding its testing results.
“APP is committed to continuous improvement of its sustainability practices, and wants to work closely with all concerned stakeholders, including NGOs, to support sustainable development in Indonesia.”