Environmental group commissions tests on paper purchased at Officeworks retail store in Canberra, Australia, says 84% of fiber used to produce paper made by APRIL comes from tropical rainforests

LOS ANGELES , August 22, 2011 () – Tests carried out by a U.S. company on office paper bought at an Officeworks store in Canberra, Australia, have found that 84% of the fiber used in the paper came from tropical rainforests, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Aug. 20.

Privately-funded environmental group Markets for Change commissioned the tests, which were carried out by IPS Testing Experts in Wisconsin.

The paper was manufactured in Indonesia by Singapore pulp and paper giant Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd. (APRIL), the group said, and was purchased earlier this year by an OfficeWorks retail location.

According to IPS's test results, the Lazer IT paper contained 89.9% of hardwood fiber by weight and 10.1% of softwood fiber. Of the hardwood fiber, 93.5% was sourced from at least 12 different tropical hardwood species, and the balance was eucalyptus.

Officeworks states on its website that its Lazer IT paper is produced at a mill certified under the Indonesia Ecolabel Institute's (LEI) accreditation scheme, and says the LEI's scheme "ensures that the paper meets the particular qualifications of a fair and sustainable forest management standard."

Officeworks is owned by Wesfarmers, which produced a sustainability report in 2010 that set deadlines on giving customers information about office products with a reduced environmental impact, and on product selection criteria.

Officeworks' managing director Mark Ward said the company was making good progress toward the report's objectives, but some had proved more complex than expected. He said a full update on progress would be included in the next sustainability report in November.

For its report, The Sydney Morning Herald recently bought a variety of office paper products at Officeworks's Alexandria store, which it says claimed accreditation under schemes including Acacia Chain-of-Custody and the LEI program.

But Markets for Change chief executive Tim Birch said he had not heard of those accreditations and called on Officeworks to end its contract with APRIL.

Fuji Xerox recently halted its business with APRIL after a TV news feature showed the company's logging activities in Sumatra.

Birch said Markets for Change was seeking an urgent meeting with Officeworks, while Ward said his company was looking to review the claims being made against APRIL and would soon announce a decision.

The primary source of this article is The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, on Aug. 20, 2011.

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