A San Francisco-based environmental group is accusing the Staples office supply chain of misleading customers about its sale of paper products from old-growth forests.
Associated Press reports that ForestEthics claims that fibre from old growth trees in Indonesia and Canada is regularly provided to the company by suppliers. Staples has told customers in an open letter that “we work closely with our vendors to ensure they do not sell Staples any products made from old-growth forests.” Staples spokesman Owen Davis said the company “takes its commitment to environmental stewardship seriously.” He said he could not comment specifically on the report but said the company would be announcing a new environmental purchasing policy this fall.
ForestEthics does not claim that Staples actively seeks old growth wood products, but that it has no reliable mechanism to ensure that suppliers live up to the requirement that their products not come from such forests.
The group’s report claims that one supplier, Montreal-based Domtar Inc., logs in old growth areas of the boreal forest that stretches across eastern Canada, and that the company’s Espanola Pulp Mill in Ontario does not separate old-growth pulp from other pulp.
It makes similar claims about pulp supplies from British Columbia and Indonesia. Davis said that Staples had asked suppliers for assurances they were not using old growth forest products, and said the company received such assurances from a majority of its suppliers. But some did not respond, and Davis acknowledged they had not been cut off as suppliers or faced any consequences.