The international audit group studied the July 2010 document "How Sinar Mas is Pulping the Planet," a report that focused most of its attention on the sustainable forestry practices of the Jakarta-based Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), one of the world's leading pulp and paper companies.
The audit systematically analyzed 72 Greenpeace claims against APP that included more than 300 footnotes and approximately 100 references. The evidence shows that Greenpeace provided quotes that don't exist; maps that show concessions that don't exist; and used source material with high margins of error that was cited as absolute fact, said Alan Oxley, chief executive office of the Melbourne-based ITS Global.
"A careful examination of the evidence shows that the Greenpeace report is highly misleading and simply not defensible. The claim about a secret massive company expansion in Indonesia is based on fiction. And the information supporting the allegation that the company is engaging in illegal forestry on peatland is either groundless or seriously in error," said Oxley, whose firm was engaged by APP to conduct the Greenpeace audit. "Any information from the Greenpeace report should be treated with the utmost caution."
APP employs more than 180,000 people in more than 70 countries around the world, including nearly 70,000 employees in Indonesia. Greenpeace directly called on APP customers to stop doing business with the company based on the fictitious claims in the report.
"Our sustainable practices are among the most advanced in the pulp and paper industry anywhere in the world. When a group like Greenpeace fabricates information and misuses data to attack our business, they are really advancing their own political agenda at the expense of the livelihoods of our employees, their families and paper unions around the world," said Aida Greenbury, sustainability managing director for APP.
Ms. Greenbury noted that the ITS Global audit was APP's second independent review of allegations leveled against the company by non-governmental organizations. The first audit, conducted by a global auditing firm, determined that related allegations were baseless. These audits were conducted to augment the rigorous, ongoing, independent series of audits of APP's sustainability practices.
ITS Global commissioned two independent academic experts, one in forestry and economics and the other in agricultural science, to review Greenpeace's claims. The audit shows that both describe the Greenpeace report as "highly misleading." The audit report references two major claims against the company as not defensive. Those include:
Company Expansion Allegations:Greenpeace claims APP secretly planned to dramatically expand its concessions by 900,000 hectares between 2007 and 2009, basing its charge on a supposed in-house document the group has refused to reveal. According to the audit, APP's supplier concession increased by just over 25,000 hectares during that time and there is no evidence the expansion plan was ever company policy. Greenpeace supports its claim with maps it produced marking out APP concession areas. The map in the Greenpeace report showed four concessions that don't exist.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions:The Greenpeace report asserts that APP is playing a major role in expanding greenhouse gas emissions by damaging valuable peatland. The report cites a series of maps whose author admits have a margin of error of up to 31 percent. Indonesia's leading agricultural university assesses the margin of error of those maps to be as high as 90 percent. According to the audit Greenpeace's claim that APP is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions is not legitimate.
"Sadly this is not an isolated incident. Greenpeace has exaggerated claims in the past. When we see reports like this with such obvious factual inaccuracies it makes us call into question the real Greenpeace agenda, risking the greater good to achieve its own political ends. Greenpeace's misleading campaigns against forestry in developing countries ultimately harm the millions of livelihoods dependent upon the forest sector," Oxley said.