Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Singapore moves on "haze-free" products - apart from wood, paper makers, SEC plans to work with others such as palm oil industry

14 October 2015: Singapore moves on "haze-free" supply chain for wood and paper trader and makers. Supermarkets pull products.

Editor's note: APP has been in spotlight, but expects to meet pulp demand without clearing more forest, refer to write-up of independent assessment by TFT on associated Greenpeace approach:

Another 20 firms sign 'haze-free' declaration - NTUC FairPrice's staff removing Asia Pulp and Paper (APP)-related products from shelves at the supermarket chain's outlet at Nex mall in Serangoon on Oct 7, 2015.  NTUC FairPrice's staff removing Asia Pulp and Paper (APP)-related products from shelves at the supermarket chain's outlet at Nex mall in Serangoon on Oct 7, 2015. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI  Published Oct 13, 2015, 5:00 am SGT Twenty more firms have declared that their products are free of raw materials from Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), which is under investigation over its connection to the haze. This brings the number of firms that have signed the Singapore Environment Council's (SEC) declaration form to 38. The latest firms to sign are those that sell wood-related products under the SEC's green label scheme. The online declaration form was sent to 210 firms in the wood-related product trade last weekend, said the SEC and the Consumers Association of Singapore in a joint statement yesterday. It was sent to    companies earlier this month, including major supermarket chain FairPrice and APP's exclusive distributor here, Universal Sovereign Trading. The move led several retail chains to pull APP products off their shelves.....SMF secretary-general Lam Joon Khoi told The Straits Times yesterday that the SEC approached the federation two weeks ago with the idea. The appeals were sent out last week and responses are trickling in. He said: "It's not something that we expect them to change overnight, but at least we have started the journey. "We really need to tighten the screws and increase the pressure to encourage firms to buy from more sustainable companies. "Some have said this will increase their costs. But my point to them is that we already pay a high price for the effects of the haze....Last month, the National Environment Agency served APP a legal notice to supply information on its subsidiaries in Singapore and in Indonesia. Six other Indonesian firms have been sent a notice asking them to take measures to  extinguish fires on their land, not to start new ones, and submit action plans on how they will prevent future fires. The sixth firm, PT Bumi Andalas Permai, was sent the notice yesterday.....

More firms on board for 'haze-free' declaration Oct 8, 2015, 5:00 am SGT - Jessica Lim  Consumer Correspondent - Apart from wood, paper makers, SEC plans to work with others such as palm oil industry....There are other complications, said SEC's head of eco-certification Kavickumar Muruganathan. Retailers here typically obtain the rights to sell a product from distributors, which then arrange with overseas manufacturers to import the stock. "Manufacturers might own plantations, but some strike deals with landowners on the side to use their land. Some also ask other suppliers to sell the fruit to them on an ad hoc basis if demand spikes," he said, adding that errant firms pay farmers to use their land for oil palm. On paper, the land is owned by the farmer and the firm is not implicated. There is also no map of land ownership available, making the task of pinpointing the owners of a plantation difficult. However, Nanyang Technological University's Professor Ang Peng Hwa, who co-founded the Haze Elimination Act on Team volunteer group, urged retailers to stop "putting up a smokescreen". "It is true it can be difficult. But retailers have to ask suppliers to show them certification," said Prof Ang. "Consumers also have a role to play to demand higher standards."....

Haze fallout: NTUC FairPrice, Sheng Siong withdraw all APP paper products - Additionally, Cold Storage says it has suspended further purchase of APP-related products while Watsons Singapore has confirmed that it does not stock such brands as Paseo, Jolly and Nice.   UPDATED: 09 Oct 2015 21:23

Singapore and Malaysia Wheeze as Indonesia Goodwill Hammered by Haze - The strongest El Nino in two decades may prolong the dry weather, meaning the haze could remain for some time yet  by Pooi Koon Chong  October 7, 2015 — 9:53 AM HKT

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