It has come to light that two of the biggest paper pulp companies TPL and APRIL have been intentionally mislabeling their export materials.Paper grade pulp which they claimed to be exporting is used to make paper and packaging. However dissolving pulp, which they were actually exporting is far more valuable.
As such they have cheated the Indonesian government out of more than 168 million dollars of tax. Will this have any impact on the vigor that the Indonesian government will defend their horrific environmental record?
The pulping companies have spent much money over the last few decades on advisors to help improve their image- “their plantations are good for locals giving them work and bringing health and education to the village”. Now it seems that not only have many of these been plantations been built on land stolen from the villages (as has come to light over the last few decades), and the villagers not got the benefits promised, but now it seems that the companies have also not been paying the tax that was owed.
It turns out that these two companies are actually owned by the same people-not really surprising,but information buried deep in tax havens in different parts of the world.
Indonesia made a conscious decision to open up much of its forests to commercial plantations, as a way of rising its large population out of property. It is clear that they have been scammed. Huge areas of rainforest has been destroyed, many people have had their land stolen, the environment has been damaged permanently making many locals ill, the promised sharing of profits with those local people has not happened and to cap it all off the companies are avoiding paying the tax that is owed.
Clearly these companies are unfit to remain. We must do what we can to avoid supporting these companies. The paper and pulp industry, like the palm oil industry miss labels much of their produce, making avoiding these companies next to impossible. We must put far more pressure on the company to buy their products, both to label them accurately and and to clean up their act. In many areas simply ceasing to cut rain forest down is not good enough, they must start to undo some of the damage they have done: replanting and restoring rain forest back to its former glory, and with the forest reintroducing and protecting the many animals that lost their home because of their disgusting behavior. I should add, there are palm oil producers who do not behave like this, and retain significant portions of their land with rain forest on it-I am not calling for Indonesia to stay the same, and leaves are people in poverty: I am calling for them to to move forwards as the country that benefits the whole population,rather than making a small number of people very very wealthy indeed.