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Toilet paper taking out tiger, elephant habitat, WWF says


A Sumatran tiger cub is photographed by a hidden camera. WWF says the cub was walking through a corridor being cleared by Asia Pulp and Paper in Indonesia.

Is your toilet paper wiping out forests used by tigers, elephants, orangutans and other wildlife? In a report Wednesday, the World Wildlife Fund alleged that a major paper supplier from Indonesia is clearcutting habitat there and targeted a major U.S. distributor to stop buying from that source.

"We found that two brands sold in the United States ― Paseo and Livi ― are made with paper from Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), which is responsible for more forest destruction in Sumatra than any other single company," the World Wildlife Fund report stated. "Paseo is a retail brand of toilet paper, paper towels, napkins and facial tissue, and it is now the fastest growing brand of toilet paper in the United States, according to its marketer."

The distributor, Oasis Brands, didn’t responded directly to the accusation, but defended APP while saying it wants to work with grocery chains to set up a system of monitoring the sustainability of its tissue products.

"Everyone wants the reassurance that the products they buy from Indonesia meet internationally recognized certification standards and are not damaging the precious natural resources of that country," Oasis Brands CEO Philip Rundle said in a letter to the industry.

"Continuous, rigorous auditing has proven APP products are made from sustainable sources and meet well-established sustainability standards," he added. "Now we would like the US grocery industry to see the results of such an audit for themselves. We are confident that APP will meet the expectations of US grocers."

WWF questioned Oasis' defense of the pulp and paper producer. "APP’s forest management operations in Indonesia are not certified as sustainable by any credible third party, "WWF forest expert Linda Kramme told msnbc.com. "There are responsible pulp and paper companies in the US, in Indonesia, and the world over, which employ people and make a profit – all without destroying rain forests."

The group also noted that in recent months eight large retailers -- identified as BI-LO, Brookshire Grocery Company, Delhaize Group, Harris Teeter, Kmart, Kroger, SUPERVALU and Weis Markets -- had decided to stop carrying APP tissue products.

Eyes on the Forest

WWF said an APP supplier was draining this peat forest inside a tiger sanctuary in Riau, Indonesia.

"We applaud each of these companies’ decision to remove these products from their stores," Jan Vertefeuille, head of WWF’s tiger campaign, said in a statement.

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