Resolute Forest Products Lawsuits (re-alleged racketeering and defamation by environmental organisations, USA)
Canadian logging company Resolute Forest Products has filed two lawsuits against various Greenpeace entities, Stand. Earth (formerly known as "ForestEthics"), and some of these organisations' staff members in the United States and Canada. These lawsuits were brought in relation to the organisations' criticism of the environmental impact of Resolute Forest's logging practices in the Canadian boreal region and to their campaigns encouraging customers to hold Resolute to account for its unsustainable forestry practices. The environmental organisations being sued assert that the lawsuits are meritless and constitute "strategic lawsuits against public participation" ("SLAPP") meant to silence their criticisms. Following the filing of Resolute's lawsuits, Greenpeace launched a campaign aiming to stop the use of SLAPPs to silence free speech. As part of this campaign, Greenpeace has received support from over 100 authors in several countries.
FSC has sent a "come clean" ultimatum to APP and its billionaire Indonesian owners, the Widjaja family, following evidence it continues to cut down tropical forests and operate through corporate proxies. A letter was sent to the pulp and paper giant on Monday which sets out the demands FSC expect APP to meet if they want to be readmitted to the council. The ultimatum comes after Greenpeace ended a five year truce with the company earlier this month following an investigation that revealed the company had been destroying tropical forests the entire time the two parties were cooperating on conservation. FSC have demanded APP respond to their letter by Monday, stating publicly their high level commitment to the council’s standards and proposing remedies to Greenpeace’s evidence of deforestation. By June 11th the company will also have to fully disclose their corporate structure and any other violations of the standards.
Greenpeace is campaigning for a ban on phthalates in toys marketed in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) countries of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. Phthalates is a family of toxic, synthetic, high production volume industrial chemicals used mostly to make plastics softer and more flexible. (Relevant story: NRDC and Scientists Urge CPSC to Finalize Phthalate Bans)
Hivos and Greenpeace Netherlands, together with indigenous groups from the Amazon rainforest, are launching a new campaign against deforestation called ‘All eyes on the Amazon’. Studies show that indigenous communities living in rainforests are crucial to the sustainable protection of these areas. This programme will aim to give indigenous communities the tools, knowledge and contacts to combat deforestation. It will also use satellite technology and drone photography to give indigenous groups evidence of the deforestation that is occurring.
One subsidiary of Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (April), Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (Rapp), has constructed a 3km canal through thick peatland on the island of Pedang, Indonesia, which has led to the suspension of their partnership with WWF and Greenpeace. The canal is built for draining peatland for pulp plantations, which is against both the company’s sustainability standards, and also government regulations. However, the president and director of Rapp insisted the action is legal based on a plan approved by the Indonesian government back in 2013, which was before the catastrophic fires of 2015.
President of Indonesia signed into law on Dec. 1, a new crucial regulation on peatland management, intending to call time on untrammelled commercial development of the archipelago’s vast peat swamp zones, which have been widely drained and dried by the palm oil and paper industries. The new regulation was praised by some observers as previously peatland development was only mandated by presidential guidelines. However, environmental pressure groups said that the new regulation may continue to trigger fires and the collapse of peat ecosystems. Greenpeace and Wetlands International say the government has not done enough to move on from destructive land use.
According to research by Greenpeace's Energy desk, Malaysian IOI Group, which is one of the biggest world's producers of palm oil and which exports its production to the European Union, is related to deforestation processes and violations of labour law in Indonesia. Following the publication of a report, Greenpeace activists have blockaded a palm oil refinery owned by IOI in the port of Rotterdam.
Greenpeace have released a publication outlining the economic exploitation issues of the Amazon rainforest and is demanding that the Brazilian government cancel hydropower projects such as the São Luiz do Tapajós (SLT) dam. This dam alone is expected to cause 2,200km2 of deforestation and to drown 400km2 of rainforest. Previous projects have led to huge habitats being wiped out causing significant impacts on the populations of fish, aquatic reptiles and the life cycles of local mammals.
Greenpeace have released a scorecard on 14 companies' progress on eliminating deforestation from their supply chains. Nestle and Ferrero scored the highest and Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson and PepsiCo scored the lowest. Greenpeace has encouraged these companies to work with an implementation partner to recognise their commitments as well as seek third party verifications on their progress.
Greenpeace have released a briefing update document on the Montagnes Blanches Endangered Forest. Nearly 50% of the intact forest landscapes have been lost or degraded due to logging, road building, and other industrial development between 2000 -2013. The briefing document covers the recent and current forestry operations in the intact forest landscape and describes the future steps for long-term solutions in the area as well as the role customers should play in forest products.
After three years of campaigning, a coalition of activists, celebrities and civil society representatives crowded into the Brazilian Congress last week to submit a bill calling for an end to deforestation. The bill is part of a Zero Deforestation campaign led by Greenpeace.
Environmentalists have called Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s commitments on reducing deforestation and supporting renewable energy ‘weak’ and representing little more than maintaining the status quo. Greenpeace Brazil say the target of restoring 12 million hectares of forest represents only half of the reforestation requirements under Brazil’s Forest Code and are just another commitment to comply with existing laws, not a bold new initiative.
Brazil has, however, worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more than any large country over the past decade, with emissions from all sectors having fallen by around 40% since 2005, with an 85% cut in carbon dioxide from deforestation.
April, one of the world’s largest pulp and paper producers and controls a million hectares of forests in Indonesia, announced that it had stopped clearing forests as part of its operations. Last year, it also launched its sustainable policy, including a pledge to halt forest clearing in 2010. Now the company is called a “champion” by the environmental group, Greenpeace, which used to be a fierce critic of the company. Also Greenpeace vowed to monitor April’s implementation of new policy closely. Activists said that battle is still far from won.
A toolkit, named the HCS Approach, has been developed by a group of organisations with the aim of identifying High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests. The toolkit was endorsed last week by major NGOs and plantation companies in Singapore including Golden Agri Resources, APP, Wilmar, Greenpeace, WWF, RAN, Unilever and The Forest Trust. The toolkit is seen as a crucial element in developing sustainable plantations and the companies involved will now begin the steps towards implementation in the field. HCS sits alongside HCV
It’s been a year since Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd (APRIL) released its latest ‘Sustainable Forest Management Plan’. APRIL claims to have an ‘ongoing commitment to conservation and a sustainable approach to landscape development.’ But it plans to continue clearing forests until 2020. It also refuses to stop draining peatlands - even though doing so wrecks the climate, and leads to forest fires and floods. Over the past year, Greenpeace researchers have been monitoring APRIL’s operations on Padang Island, off the coast of Sumatra. The photos they took show what APRIL’s real objective is to clear as much of Indonesia's rainforest as it can get away with before it is forced to stop.
Pulp and paper giant APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd) has been found to be violating its own sustainability policy by continuing to source fibre from peatlands in Riau, Indonesia. The investigation, from Eyes on the Forest, shows that APRIL affiliate Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP) is operating in breach of APRIL’s pledge not to clear potential high conservation value (HCV) areas. Dramatic photographs released by Greenpeace-Indonesia in June clearly showed natural forest clearance on deep peat areas, and ongoing preparations to turn the land in to plantations. APRIL says this activity doesn’t violate its policy commitments and clearing is only taking place in non-HCV areas. APRIL is under mounting pressure to clean up its supply chain since its largest competitor, APP, signed a comprehensive zero deforestation policy in 2013. APP’s subsequent commitment to support conservation and restoration of forests equal in size to its own operations was also applauded by environmental groups. APRIL has since said that it will match APP on this commitment – see APRIL’s letter responding to the Greenpeace photographs in June 2014.
Campaigning organisation Greenpeace has spent two months placing GPS trackers on illegal loggers in the Amazon using GPS tracking technology and satellite surveillance. The operation was designed to uncover the activities and movements of illegal loggers near Santarém, the centre of the logging industry in the Amazon. The investigation found that the timber is transported by trucks on highways at night to evade the police and that fake documentation is used to launder the timber.
Asia Pulp and Paper have signed an agreement to end natural forest logging. Suppliers of the Indonesian based company will be bound to log solely plantation timber and not use timber with high conservation value or from peat swamps. AP&P have received widespread lobbying from Greenpeace and WWF to change their timber sourcing policies. However, it is understood the company’s real fear was that paper mills in Japan were beginning to ask questions about responsibly sourced timber.
According to a letter signed by signed by Huma, Forest Peoples Program, Rainforest Action Network, Wahana Bumi Hijau, Scale Up, Jaringan Masyarakat Gambut Jambi, Jaringan Masyarakat Gambut Riau, and Pusaka, APRIL’s new forest policy allows the company to continue destroying rainforests and peatlands for industrial plantations. The letter highlights a dozen concerns over APRIL's policy, including a lack of a moratorium on natural forest conversion, failure to identify and protect high carbon stock (HCS) areas, and unclear commitments on resolving social conflicts and embracing the concept of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) from affected local communities. It also says that the policy appears to not apply to APRIL’s sister companies or suppliers. The letter comes days after Greenpeace documented APRIL-owned PT. Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper destroying peat forest on Pulau Padang, an island off Sumatra. In response to the report, APRIL said the clearing was in line with its forest conservation policy.
Almost 80% of logging in the state of Pará is illegal, but loggers and sawmills here have clever scams that give illegal timber a cover story. Greenpeace discovered that the DIY chain Jewson was selling decking made from ipe, a rare tree found in the Amazon. Jewson buys its ipe from International Timber, who admitted to buying the timber without any third-party check to verify the chain of custody. Greenpeace have asked the NMO to investigate Jewson and International Timber, as well as other companies importing and selling timber from the Brazilian Amazon.