Oasis Brands has issued an open invitation to leading US grocery chains to participate in an independent sustainability audit of the key tissue products it supplies to the US market from Indonesia.
In a letter to grocery retailers, Oasis Brands said it understood that US companies were calling for independent, science-based evidence that tissue products from Indonesia come from sustainable sources. In the letter, Philip Rundle, CEO of Oasis Brands, said that the offer of an independent audit was fully supported by its major supplier in Indonesia, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP).
“It’s time to introduce more rigorous reporting into this issue, which naturally concerns the US grocery industry,” says Rundle. “Everyone wants the reassurance that the products they buy from Indonesia meet internationally recognized certification standards and are not damaging the precious natural resources of that country.”
APP is regularly assessed and certified by many of the world’s leading environmental auditors and authorities on sustainable forest management. In addition, APP also works with customers who have particular issues they would like to ensure are being addressed.
“Continuous, rigorous auditing has proven APP products are made from sustainable sources and meet well-established sustainability standards,” says Rundle. “Now we would like the US grocery industry to see the results of such an audit for themselves. We are confident that APP will meet the expectations of US grocers.”
Rundle continued, “No company is perfect, and constructive feedback from NGOs and other stakeholders is necessary for any company to continuously improve its operations. Calls to action against Indonesian products, especially without verified claims, are unconstructive. Unsubstantiated claims cause a great deal of confusion around terms such as ‘mixed tropical hardwood’ or MTH. A great many certified tissue and paper products can contain traces of MTH, but that does not mean the products have caused environmental damage or come from unsustainable sources.”
There is a human element to the overall environmental sustainability cycle of APP that is often overlooked. Indonesia is a nation in which nearly 30 million people live below the poverty line, and APP is a key driver of jobs—employing approximately 70,000 people in Indonesia alone—as well as economic development through associated downstream jobs in the communities in which it operates. APP and Oasis Brands contribute to direct and indirect employment in Indonesia, China, the United States, and globally. In the US, Oasis Brands and its manufacturing partners Mercury Paper and Solaris Paper employ over 300 people, and their payrolls alone contribute millions of dollars to local economies in Virginia and California.
Additionally, Oasis Brands and APP have invited the US grocery industry to participate in APP’s Sustainability Roadmap initiative, which will lay out plans to make APP one of the world’s most sustainable pulp and paper companies by the end of the decade.