Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 279

WWF says no to tiger protection

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 30 settembre 2011


Image by Plan for Opportunity via Flickr

A cable published by Wikileaks from the US embassy in Jakarta has demonstrated one thing: WWF cares more about blacklisting companies than saving animals.
The cable revolves around a tiger conservation program that the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) had initially planned to undertake with the Indonesian forestry and paper producer, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). WCS had planned to train APP staff in assessing tiger populations and undertaking best management practices for conserving tiger populations. According to the cable, APP was responsible for 1.2 million hectares of forest land. But WWF effectively told WCS to walk away from the agreement, despite the protestations of WCS staff, who believed that abandoning the project would have a negative impact on tiger populations. But why would WCS agree to WWF’s demands? Conservation, like anything else, requires large sums of money. WWF is the world’s largest environmental organization. It often partners with WCS, and WWF is in control of the purse strings more often than not. WWF and APP originally commenced joint work on APP’s forestry concessions in 2003. The two groups set out a sustainability action plan with an agreed set of targets. But late in 2003 the agreement fell apart. According to the cable, the falling out was over methodologies and projections. Since then, WWF has lobbied hard against APP, targeting both its customers and the press. WWF went one step further in 2007, lobbying FSC to alter to its rules so that APP could no longer use its certification standard. An analysis of the WWF strategy indicates that this was less about APP changing its habits than a concerted effort to capture the supply chain for paper products. Indonesia has emerged as one of the world’s most competitive large paper producers. The largest Indonesian paper producer is APP. FSC’s ‘dropping’ of APP meant that FSC supporters – such as Greenpeace – could shut APP out of the supply chain simply by lobbying for companies to use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) paper. This supply chain strategy may have some success in parts of the developed world, where the demand for ‘Green’ products is high. An incarnation of this is currently being seen in Australia, with the emergence of a Greenpeace-backed group called ‘Markets for Change’ (MFC). MFC’s current ambition is to pressure Australia’s largest retailers to cease buying products made from native Australian hardwoods. Such a strategy is less likely to have less success in places like China or India, where habitat conservation is a luxury few companies and consumers are willing to pay for. Yet it is in these markets where growth is occurring. Demand for paper products has flat lined in the Western world. Excess capacity is being shut down. Demand for products without Western sustainability standards will continue to grow in emerging markets. The likely result for an organization like WWF is that it will have difficulty curbing demand for low-cost product and these markets; at the same time, it will have walked away from a legitimate and well-informed attempt to conserve tiger populations.

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