Paper Supplier Not Green Enough for Staples
Staples has been very public about its commitment to go green and the retailer has now made a very emphatic statement to that effect with the cancellation of its contract with Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) over that company’s alleged environmental misdeeds.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, Staples cut off APP after it determined the company was not taking appropriate action to protect rainforests in Indonesia and other parts of Asia where it has operations.
The office supplies retailer joined others including Office Depot in choosing to no longer do business with APP. Until recently, Staples had sourced roughly nine percent of its paper supply from the Singapore-based company.
Mark Buckley, vice president for environmental issues at Staples, told the Journal that it decided that its relationship with APP was putting the retailer’s brand at “great peril.” He said the company decided to end its contract because, “We haven’t seen any indication that APP has been making any positive strides” in changing its approach to the environment.
The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) has been one of the harshest critics of APP. Last month the environmental organization issued a scathing report against the company and its affiliates claiming they were cutting “an enormous swath through one of Sumatra’s last remaining large forest blocks, home to two tribes of indigenous people and endangered elephants, tigers and orangutans.”
Adam Tomasek, director of WWF’s Borneo and Sumatra Program, said, “APP shows a total disregard for the ecosystem in their quest for cheap sources of raw materials.”
The Journal reported that APP’s practices have come under greater scrutiny as new data has placed Indonesia at number three on the list of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide. Groups such as the WFF claim that fires set to clear forests and peat swamps that have been logged are a major source of the pollution.
Discussion Questions: If the accusations against APP are true, were its environmentally unfriendly actions putting the Staples brand at “great peril?” What learning is there for other retailers in this case?
- Staples Cuts Off Paper Supplier – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- Highway Planned by Paper Giant Asian Pulp and Paper Will Destroy Sumatran Forests, says WWF – World Wildlife Federation
- New Report: Asia Pulp & Paper Misleads Customers, Continues to Destroy Indonesia’s Rainforests – World Wildlife Federation