NTUC Fairprice has announced today that it would be pulling all paper products sold by Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP). This follows the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) announcement that it would institute a temporary restriction on the use of the “Singapore Green Label” certification for the Indonesian paper firms’ products.
All APP-related products, including those from Paseo, NICE and Jolly, will be pullled by 5pm today.
Out of 14 house brand products certified by the Singapore Green Label, 2 of these house brands are sourced from APP through a distributor – FairPrice Softpack Tissue 200s, and FairPrice Gold 3 Ply Facial Tissue 140s. These too will be pulled from shelves.
“As a fair business partner, we reserved taking action pending further information and investigation by the authorities. Our decision to withdraw all APP products is a result of the temporary restriction of their Green Label certification,” an NTUC Fairprice spokesperson said.
However, in its follow up statement on the same day (7th Oct), APP has hit out against the pulling of its products, arguing that “no supplier has been proven to be involved” in raging forest fires in Indonesia contributing to hazy conditions around the region. It added that the company has “nothing to hide”.
APP is a member of Indonesia’s Sinar Mas Group and has an office in Singapore. It received a notice from Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) on 25th Sep, and says it had cooperated with the NEA’s investigation. NEA had issued the notice to APP under the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act, seeking information on its subsidiaries in Singapore and Indonesia, as well as measures taken by its suppliers in Indonesia to put out fires in their concessions, as smoke from raging forest fires in Indonesia’s Sumatra and Kalimantan had pushed air quality to unhealthy levels in Singapore.
APP says it has extended an invitation to NEA officials to visit its operations in Indonesia to demonstrate the company’s no burning policy.
“If a supplier were found to have been involved in setting forest fires, our policy is clear and we would disengage that supplier. Thus far no supplier has been proven to be involved. It is premature therefore to make judgments until investigations by relevant authorities are completed,” an APP statement wrote.
APP added that its list of pulpwood suppliers is public, and the company submits concession maps to the Indonesian government and World Resources Institute (WRI).
“We continue to implement our Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) round the clock, as well as deploying 2,900 trained firefighters and fire suppression helicopters to help deal with this tragic situation.” However, APP admitted that there have been fires within their suppliers’ concessions, but these were not started by the company or its suppliers.
“The fire situation is complex and both the Singapore and Indonesia governments and authorities are still investigating the situation.”
APP products include Enlivo notebooks, Inspira paper and Paseo tissue paper.