Australian union opposes unsustainable products

EoF News / 10 June 2008

BWI website - 30 May 2008 -- In August 2007, the Australian union CFMEU's Pulp and Paper Workers' Branch contacted Woolworths, a major Australian retailer, demanding that the company cease buying tissue and paper products from Asia Pulp & Paper, APP, a leading paper manufacturer based in Indonesia.

Labelling on the packaging of Woolworths' tissue products under the label "Select Brand" claimed that these products came from "sustainable forest fibre" and were "sourced from a certified environmentally managed company that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable."

The CFMEU rejected these claims as false and misleading. A number of recent reports document the claims of the company as false. In February this year, the major office supply retailer Staples, stopped buying products from APP because of its environmental mis-management. The CFMEU publicly called on Woolworths to withdraw these products from its supermarkets.

On August 24, 2007, John Sutton, CFMEU National Secretary, requested a meeting with Woolworths Chairman James Strong to discuss this issue and once again requested that APP products be withdrawn from sale. Then on August 27, Woolworths did remove the products, only to return them several days later with the offending labelling covered by a sticker. In the light of these events, the CFMEU and its members have established the "Wake Up Woolworths" campaign. On April 10, 2008, the members of a BWI forestry conference for affiliates in the Pacific rim, being held in Melbourne, also expressed their support to the CFMEU campaign. The ongoing campaign has begun exerting considerable pressure on Woolworths by highlighting the recalcitrant practices in the media (print and television), store visits, targeting Woolworths business leaders and investors, instigating a billboard and poster campaign and through direct approaches to the board of Woolworths. CFMEU feels that the campaign is hurting the company and that it really means business.

Original article