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How Paper is Killing Tigers

Forest clearing by Indonesian pulp and paper companies is having devastating impacts on wildlife, including driving Sumatran elephants and tigers toward local extinction.

In addition to the wildlife impacts, forest clearing also contributes significantly to the country’s annual 1.2 gigatonnes of carbon emissions, making Indonesia the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter.

According to a recent report of the World Wildlife Fund, Indonesian-based company Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) is responsible for more forest destruction in Sumatra than any other single company. Despite public and vehement claims of their commitment to sustainability, maps and other evidence point to the contrary.

Although many of APP’s statements regarding their production practices and sustainability are clearly misleading, complicated supply chains and greenwashing campaigns make prosecution difficult. Furthermore, the U.S. can only prosecute a company like APP if the government of the producing country (in this case, Indonesia) has criminal penalties for the activity in question.

Indonesia is essentially subsidizing the pulp and paper industry by permitting APP to engage in illegal logging and other business practices that result in artificially low prices.

The most common APP products on U.S. shelves are marketed under the Paseo and Lin tissue brands. To avoid supporting these practices, consumers can avoid those speficic brands, or just look for tissue products that are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified or 100% recycled.

Image Credit: cheetah100/Flickr