Monday, August 22, 2011

Please Pass On Paseo

On average (so the stats folk tell us), a person uses 8.6 sheets of toilet paper per trip, totalling about 57 sheets per day. Multiply that (seemingly quite low) figure across the population of the Western world, and it amounts to a helluva
lot of paper usage.
So I’m not surprised that another brand of loo paper is trying to make in-roads here in NZ. What I am surprised about is the brand’s claims about its environmental credentials...
Paseo’s advertising reads: We shouldn't have to compromise on luxury if we want to support the environment. That's why all Paseo products are made from renewable plantation fibre and certified fibre, using PEFC tissue paper, which promotes sustainable forest management.
The Paseo brand is made by Asian Pulp and Paper, one of the world's largest paper companies. APP stands accused of rapidly acquiring and destroying forested tiger habitat and carbon-rich peatlands to feed its two pulp mills on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. APP is responsible for more loss of rainforest there than any other company. Since APP began operations in the 1980s, it’s estimated to have pulped more than one million hectares of rainforest in the Sumatran provinces of Riau and Jambi alone. Unsurprisingly, APP and its subsidiaries are prohibited from using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, due to destructive forestry practices.
Gaining FSC approval is a big step in the right direction when it comes to global best practice in sustainable forestry use. The certification means the products haven’t come from illegal logging or forests with high conservation values, or from areas where human rights or indigenous peoples’ rights are violated.
In that area, the critically-endangered Sumatran tiger is hanging on by a thread. Its estimated 500 remain at best, with some figures as low as 250. Despite the animal's vulnerability, large-scale deforestation continues in its habitat mostly under the auspices of APP. Shrinking habitat and human encroachment has led to a rise in tragic tiger encounters, causing both human and feline mortalities. Eyes on the Forest (a coalition of 25 environmental organisations) has mapped encounters between humans and tigers, and found the majority took place near forested areas being cleared by APP. The Sumatran orangutan is also critically-endangered. Since 1985 Sumatra has lost half of its remaining forest...
An increasingly bitter dispute rages between environmentalists worldwide and the plantation industry over Indonesian forests. In the meantime, big names in the fashion industry – from Versace to J.Crew – have chosen other packaging suppliers and severed all ties with APP, and global toymakers Mattel and Lego are doing the same.
Here in NZ, forestry and wood processing represents 4% of GDP and is our 3rd largest export sector. By 2025 NZ will be one of the top five global suppliers of paper and forestry products…and we can do that because of the speed of timber growth – much faster than other parts of the world – rather than massive deforestation. Our forestry production is 99% from sustainable and renewable plantations, while the industry employs 150,000.
With all this in mind – damage to rainforests, near-extinction of Sumatran tigers and orangutans, concerns of environmentalists around the world – why would NZers do anything other than support our local forestry industry and buy local tissue products? Buying any Paseo product merely supports APP's destructive forestry practices.
No, I’m not on a retainer for any NZ manufacturer. I merely urge consumers considering Paseo to think about its impact on our world. And until APP reverses its environmental rape, please boycott Paseo products.

PS: 23 Aug.2011 - After an 8-mth.investigation, it's been proved that the Cottonsoft brand of toiletpaper (a subsidiary of APP) also contains pulp from rainforests. Indonesia has one of the fastest rates of forest destruction in the world.
PS: 04 Nov.2011 - APP cries foul, claiming it's being victimised by Greenpeace...mind you, it took them TWO MONTHS to come up with that response...!
PS: 15 Nov.2011 - finally gets onto the story...
PS: 23 Nov.2011 - Cottonsoft (Paseo) refuses to release test results to GP.


Living the dream said...

Interesting that you have picked up on this issue too. I wrote on my blog last year about this company and their environmental claims. Their packaging is not labelled recyclable either, although according to the response I got this was an "oversight".
Consumers really do need to do their homework and make more conscious decisions at the shops. Hopefully by writing about it we are putting the message out there.


Writer Of The Purple Sage... said...

Hi, Ailsa:
Thanx for yr comment. You're right: we all need to "do our homework" on the products we use.
I've gone a step further and lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). So we'll see what happens about Paseo...