Asian retailers called into haze campaign

As the toxic haze caused by Indonesian forest fires continues to enshroud Singapore and parts of Indonesia and Malaysia, the campaign to boycott brands linked to the fires is widening across Southeast Asia.

Last week, the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) and Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) reached out to more than 3000 companies to get their commitment and declaration that they procure their wood, paper and/or pulp materials from sustainable sources. These include book stores, supermarkets, other retailers and manufacturers of paper and tissue products.

Today, Consumers International (CI) has stepped in to ramp up the campaign, encouraging retailers and consumers in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand to boycott brands and suppliers who have not committed to sourcing from companies who reject supplies from irresponsible forest burning.

Singapore’s largest supermarket operator, NTUC FairPrice has already recalled stock supplied by Asia Pulp & Paper products due to the paper giant’s role in contributing to the toxic haze.

Today, CI called on all consumers to stop buying products produced by companies involved in the purchase or sourcing of wood, paper and/or pulp products that cause the haze.

“The global body is concerned that unlike Singapore, companies in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are not declaring their source of procurement of sustainable wood, paper and/or pulp.

“Every year people in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia are suffering under a thick haze of smog which is caused by the burning of forests for production of pulp, paper and palm oil primarily on the island of Sumatra, in western Indonesia and Borneo. The haze is leaving millions of people at risk of respiratory and other disorders. In addition countries in the region are also suffering economic losses and environmental damage including acid rain formation and other effects.”

CI says that with a lack of information about which companies’ activities are contributing to the haze, consumers should buy products that carry internationally recognised green labels such as Forest Stewardship Certification (FSC) or other independently verified labels that support sustainable production that does not cause harm to the wellbeing of consumers.

“CI believes that consumers should send a strong signal to the errant companies through their purchasing power and refuse to support companies which are contributing to this environmental disaster by their irresponsible practices.”

CI has also requested all governments in the region to take a tough stance against companies responsible for haze.

CI  is the world federation of consumer groups that, working together with its members, serves as the only independent and authoritative global voice for consumers. It has more than 240 member organisations in 120 countries.


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