Cottonsoft attempts to greenwash away toilet roll scandal

Wednesday 24 August 2011, 9:14AM
By Greenpeace New Zealand

Greenpeace today accused Cottonsoft of completely failing to address forensic evidence that their toilet rolls contain Indonesian rainforest fibre.

Greenpeace Campaigner Nathan Argent said, “Cottonsoft can’t greenwash away the bald fact that forensic tests found parts of an Indonesian rainforest in their own brand toilet roll.”

According to the international PEFC standard to which Cottonsoft claim to be certified, only plantation timber can be used in products, yet independent tests commissioned by Greenpeace clearly show the presence of rainforest timber (1).

Argent continued, “Either Cottonsoft are deliberately misleading New Zealanders by claiming all their products are certified as sustainable or Cottonsoft has accidentally admitted that PEFC-certified products contain rainforest timber, which places them at the heart of an international scandal."

Greenpeace sent a letter this morning to the Chief Executive of Cottonsoft challenging a media statement that the company issued late last night claiming that they were being ‘unfairly targeted’ by Greenpeace, WWF and the Green Party in a report released by the groups on Monday (2).

The letter was copied to all of New Zealand’s major food retailers.
The Warehouse has already suspended orders of Cottonsoft toilet rolls pending an investigation (3).

Argent continued, “We urge Foodstuffs and Progressive Enterprises to follow The Warehouse’s example and suspend stocking Cottonsoft products until the company can 100% prove they have stopped destroying rainforests to make toilet roll.”

Cottonsoft are a subsidiary of the notorious conglomerate Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). APP have already been dropped as a supplier by major companies around the world, including Kraft, Nestle, Unilever, Tesco and Carrefour because of their reliance on rainforest destruction to make pulp and paper products (4).

Indonesia has one of the fastest rates of forest destruction in the world. The Indonesian Government estimates that more than one million hectares of rainforest are being cleared every year. Rainforest destruction is also acknowledged as a major driver of climate change.

The destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests is also one of the main threats to the survival of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger, only 400 of which are estimated to remain in the wild. It is also an increasing source of conflict between tigers and humans.

On Monday Greenpeace New Zealand released shocking footage of a Sumatran tiger that was caught in a trap and later died in an APP logging concession in Riau, Indonesia. View footage here: http://youtu.be/tEg2AKTbxK4


1) For a full briefing on how the investigation into the New Zealand toilet roll industry and testing of paper was conducted go to http://greenpe.ac/toilet-paper-briefing The laboratory report into the toilet roll testing is available at http://greenpe.ac/cottonsoft-test-results.

2 The letter to Cottonsoft from Greenpeace is available here: http://greenpe.ac/cottonsoft-letter

3) Text of email from Warehouse:

From: donotreply@thewarehouse.co.nz [mailto:donotreply@thewarehouse.co.nz]
Sent: Monday, 22 August 2011 12:47 p.m.
Subject: The Warehouse Investigates Stocking of Cottonsofts

The Warehouse Ltd has today confirmed that it will investigate information provided by Greenpeace New Zealand regarding the sourcing of product from Auckland based company Cottonsoft…. The Warehouse will suspend all orders relating to this product range pending further information from all related parties.”