Southern California environment news and trends

Pressure on Asia Pulp & Paper yielding corporate responsibility, new strategies on rainforest policy [UPDATED]

[author's note: see comments for an apparent dispute between Nat Geo & GP over what, if anything, they've discussed. Following...]

It's not spring yet, but corporate responsibility, and maybe some new savvy about rainforest politics, has been blooming all over.

National Geographic makes books in addition to magazines; they're the latest paper consumer to respond to a years-long joint campaign by several environmental groups to pressure retailers and other companies to end their paper-buying relationship with the Asia Pulp and Paper group of companies. [UPDATE: This may be wrong. See below for my explanation.] The World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace have been increasing the profile of their separate-but-related pushes in the last six months or so. WWF released a report entitled Don't Flush Tiger Forests: Toilet Paper, U.S. Supermarkets and the Destruction of Indonesia’s Last Tiger Habitat.


Morning Greens: A soup of shark fins, water bonds, and Barbie dolls

Good Morning Greens from the Silver Lake bureau of Pacific Swell, where August gloom looks a lot like June gloom. Let's waste no time getting into the bouilliabaise of green news this morning, so that you've got the energy to monitor market upheval the rest of the day.  

Sibling rivalry becomes sibling revelry over shark fin soup. LA foodie Jonathan Gold is known for his lucid and vivid prose, and for enjoying pissing off his brother Mark, who runs Heal the Bay. But 2 out of 2 Golds now agree: a ban on shark-fin soup is a good idea. Jonathan Gold has an editorial on the subject in the LA Times where he points out some super interesting things enviros rarely do: like that the burgeoning Chinese middle class is a significant driver of pressure on sharks, that it takes a skillful chef to make shark fin soup even taste good (interesting!), and that while a ban would mostly affect Chinese Americans, it wouldn't kill Cantonese culture.


Lego latest toy maker to respond to Greenpeace rainforest campaign

Since Barbie drove her bulldozer down an El Segundo business park, much has happened in the world of big toy companies and their packaging supplies. 

Well, except for Disney: that company has not said anything, so if it's doing something, we don't know about it. 

LEGO - a Danish company - announced within a day that preliminary investigations showed the problem was limited to a few suppliers of their suppliers. (Interesting that they quoted Greenpeace's allegations in their initial press release!) Just last week LEGO announced it would reduce packaging and only use FSC-certified fibers in the boxes around its products. That cuts out Asia Pulp and Paper, which lost Forest Stewardship Council certification status in 2007.

Hasbro updated a statement on its website that says, essentially, we were already working on this. Last year, Hasbro set a goal of 75% recycled fibres in its packaging. "Hasbro had been actively working with its paper packaging suppliers toward our goal of responsible sourcing from recognized, independent, certifying bodies, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)." Sounds like they're aiming for something, but they haven't hit it yet.