WWF statement regarding proposed acquisition of Domtar by Paper Excellence

Posted on 22 July 2021

WWF has major concerns about the proposed acquisition of Domtar by Paper Excellence, given the affiliation of Paper Excellence with Sinar Mas Group’s (SMG) Asia Pulp & Paper (SMG/APP).  APP is one of very few companies still disassociated by FSC, the leading global certification system for forests and forest products.  As detailed in numerous reports and articles by conservation and social civil society organizations and media over the years, APP has a legacy of over 30 years of more than 2 million hectares of deforestation, destruction of wildlife habitat, fires and greenhouse gas emissions from peat development, and conflicts with local communities related to land grabbing, forest clearance, and pulpwood plantation development in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia.  More details on APP’s history of negative environmental and social impacts are detailed in this WWF Advisory, which recommends that companies and  investors avoid business relationships with SMG/APP and its affiliates until and unless APP improves its practices towards reassociation with FSC and makes true progress to remedy harms associated with deforestation and community conflicts in Indonesia. 

WWF renews its call on APP and its affiliates to demonstrate meaningful action to stop deforestation, restore impacted areas, and resolve community conflicts and for APP to take all necessary steps to reassociate with FSC. With the opportunity to build on the tradition of leadership established by Domtar, Paper Excellence must do its part to accelerate such action and chart a new path to sustainability. In an era of heightened awareness of the pace and scale of deforestation, the implications for climate change, and the related risks to people and business, customers, investors, and consumers will accept no less.

WWF has valued Domtar’s longtime leadership in responsible forestry, particularly around its role in developing, implementing, and promoting Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certification and efforts to implement improved forestry practices in the US and Canada.  We appreciate the opportunity to partner with Domtar in past years on many of these efforts.