Breaking down environmental apartheid
My latest email from Greenpeace (below) tells of the success of a 10-year campaign to get big businesses to boycott Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) because of its role in driving unsustainable deforestation in Indonesia.
This is what the World needs today – an environmental campaigning movement as motivated and successful as that which brought Apartheid in South Africa to an end over 20 years ago…. Today’s apartheid is a fallacy we have inherited from the Age of Enlightenment: Humans need to stop seeing themselves as superior to Nature and, instead, accept we are part of it.
However, enough sermonising from me; here is the good news from Greenpeace…
I can’t believe I’m writing this. Today, you’ve made an amazing breakthrough in protecting the world’s rainforests.
After a tough campaign that’s lasted 10 years, Asia Pulp & Paper – the company that has been destroying huge areas of Indonesian forest – has been forced to change its ways. It has finally agreed to introduce a new policy that should end the appalling amounts of deforestation it has been responsible for.
The pressure you put on companies like Mattel (makers of Barbie), National Geographic and Xerox – all APP customers – persuaded them that being linked to the destruction of Indonesia’s remaining forests wasn’t good business sense. As a result, they all dropped their contracts with APP, and you were well on the way to persuading KFC to do the same.
So the pressure on APP has been immense and, after months of intense negotiations in Jakarta with our team, they have finally agreed to end their reign of destruction. This means that protecting the habitat of Sumatra’s endangered tigers from illegal and destructive logging is one huge step further forward.
I’ve worked on this campaign for several years and there were times when I thought this would never happen, but your commitment to protecting Indonesia’s rainforests has made this possible. Thank you so much!
So far, this policy is only on paper. Permanent changes need to happen in the rainforest before we can claim victory, so experts from Greenpeace and the Indonesian organisations (who have also worked so hard to achieve this) will be monitoring closely the situation on the ground.
It’s not just APP. Other companies are still rampaging through the forests in the name of profit, turning pristine tiger habitats into paper and palm oil plantations. We’re already planning the next steps and you’ll be the first to know.
But for now, take a moment to celebrate. Even though APP still needs to turn words into action, this is a giant leap forward for Indonesia’s rainforests and the people and wildlife that depend on them.
Together we’ve shown that persistence pays off. Well done.
PS Plans are already being developed to confront other companies destroying Indonesia’s rainforests and your support is vital, so please consider making a regular donation to help protect these forests in the future. Thank you.