Investigation links Cottonsoft’s toilet paper to deforestation in Indonesia



Posted on 21 August 2011  | 
Evidence released today reveals that Auckland based company Cottonsoft is sourcing its toilet paper from rainforests in Indonesia, home of the critically-endangered Sumatran tiger.

The evidence is the result of an eight-month investigation by Greenpeace, the Green Party and WWF-New Zealand into exactly where the toilet paper sold by New Zealand retailers originates from.

Cottonsoft refused to disclose where they were sourcing their toilet paper from so samples were sent to a US laboratory for forensic testing. This confirmed the presence of mixed tropical hardwoods (timber that comes from rainforests) in a range of Cottonsoft products (1).

Cottonsoft are a subsidiary of the notorious conglomerate Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), which has been dropped as a supplier by major companies around the world, including Kraft, Nestle, Unilever, Tesco and Carrefour because of their reliance on rainforest destruction to make pulp and paper products (2).

Greenpeace, the Green Party and WWF-New Zealand are calling on retailers to stop stocking Cottonsoft and other APP Products until the company commits to ending rainforest destruction. They are also asking the public to use their consumer power to force Cottonsoft products off the shelves.

To help consumers find ‘rainforest friendly toilet paper’ a shoppers guide was released today.
Indonesia is now the biggest supplier of imported toilet paper pulp to New Zealand, supplying one in four toilets rolls sold in New Zealand (3).

The destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests is one of the main threats to the survival of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger, only 400 of which are estimated to remain in the wild. It is also an increasing source of conflict between tigers and humans.

Today Greenpeace New Zealand released shocking footage of a Sumatran tiger that was caught in a trap and later died in an APP logging concession in Riau, Indonesia. View footage here: http://youtu.be/WeDoEKFw6GA

Greenpeace campaigner Nathan Argent said, “Many Kiwis would be shocked to know that by using Cottonsoft toilet paper they could literally be wiping out some of the world’s most endangered species.”
 “We’re asking customers to tell retailers to stop selling toilet paper that has come from trashed rainforests.”

“The rainforest and its communities are already being destroyed by illegal logging. Trashing rainforests to make toilet paper is simply obscene”, said Green Party forestry spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

WWF-New Zealand’s Executive Director Chris Howe said, “Many New Zealanders will want to make sure their shopping choices are not harming forests and wildlife in Indonesia. We encourage people to help ensure the forest homes of endangered tigers and orangutans remain in tact by using the consumer guide to make the right choice at the checkout.”
 
Indonesia has one of the fastest rates of forest destruction in the world. The Indonesian government estimates that more than one million hectares of rainforest are being cleared every year. Rainforest destruction is also acknowledged as a major driver of climate change.
ENDS

1) A full briefing on how the investigation into the New Zealand toilet roll industry and testing of paper was conducted is available on request.
2)http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/publications/forests/2011/HowAPPisToyingWithExtinction_Media.pdf   (page 2)
3) Import data provided by Statistics NZ and analysed by AZTEC.

Sumatran tiger cub, Riau, Indonesia
© WWF-Indonesia / Tiger Survey Team Enlarge

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