Media Releases

From Markets for Change & the Huon Valley Environment Centre …

Treachery to the forests – secret letters exposed

Prominent environmentalists in Tasmania have accused two environment groups of selling out the forests by secretly undermining the market campaigns of fellow conservationists in Japan and Australia with letters to Ta Ann’s corporate customers.

“This act is undermining the chances of achieving protection of magnificent forests in Tasmania, and also the campaigns of Tasmanian, Australian and Japanese groups who have been participating in a successful markets campaign for the past twelve months,” said Peg Putt of Markets for Change.

We have consistently asked companies receiving Ta Ann product to call for an immediate stop to logging the conservation claim in Tasmania whilst negotiations over the future protection of these forests take place, and to refuse to take wood product coming from inside this area.

“The ACF and TWS letters are clearly designed to counteract this campaign and to appease the forest industry. They repeatedly express concern for “a sustainable future for the forest industries in Tasmania”, but not for the fate of the magnificent forests under the chainsaw. We do not believe that their members and supporters are aware of or would condone their actions” Ms Putt said.

“The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and The Wilderness Society Inc. (TWS Inc) have sent false confidence to the Japanese customers of Ta Ann. This miscommunication in the markets will increase uncertainty. The fact remains that Ta Ann is shipping high conservation value forests to Japan, and these environment groups have endorsed this controversial product in the international market,” said Jenny Weber of the Huon Valley Environment Centre.

The letter by ACF’s Don Henry and TWS Inc.’s Lyndon Schneiders requests the Japanese customers to continue to purchase the contentious wood supply that Ta Ann Tasmania is supplying.

The letter states; “As a buyer of Tasmania forests products we continue to respectfully request that you not make any decisions that could adversely affect Tasmanian suppliers during the current negotiations that are now closer to achieving a sustainable future for the forest industries in Tasmania.”

“Far from giving peace a chance, the letters have reduced pressure for the forestry industry to come to an agreement. There is still no final forest agreement in Tasmania and the outlook is bleak as forestry industry representatives have now suspended their participation in the talks,” Ms Weber continued.

“At best the ACF TWS letters are grossly misguided, at worst they are a capitulation to industry. In either case these peak bodies have shown they are willing to support the forestry industry and deliberately undermine our campaign in secret. They have endorsed the ongoing logging of high conservation value forests for Ta Ann and their Japanese customers by making this communication with the markets.”

“This is not a time for these environment groups to lose their way and become the green tick for an unsustainable native forest logging industry in Tasmania. This is one step too far for these groups who have been waylaid by a long drawn out process that has not delivered any conservation gains and these conservation groups are endorsing the very company that contributes to the devastation of the forests for which they are trying to secure protection,” Ms Weber concluded.

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And from the Observer Tree …

Still Wild Still Threatened vows to continue campaigning against Ta Ann’s forest destruction.

Still Wild Still Threatened are today raising concerns for the future of Tasmania’s forests, after the uncovering of secret letters sent from some environment groups to Ta Ann’s customers. The letters called on the customers to not make any decisions regarding their contracts with Ta Ann.

“The letters that were sent to Ta Ann’s customers undermine the campaign for forest protection, because they are calling on those customers to sit on the fence while the destruction of our ecosystems continues unabated” said Miranda Gibson, spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened.

“The forest negotiations have to-date failed to deliver any conservation outcomes that were promised and as a result high conservation value forests are being lost daily in Tasmania. Ta Ann are continuing to receive wood sourced from this destruction” said Ms Gibson.

“We have great fears that the forest negotiation process is being used as a way to green-wash Ta Ann’s role in forest destruction. The company continues to sell products that are sourced from the destruction of Tasmania’s world-class forests. In addition, Ta Ann continue to be associated with logging in Sarawak causing environmental destruction and the displacement of indigenous people. They need to be held accountable” said Ms Gibson.

“From the upper canopy of the Observer Tree I have been in communication with people right around the world who want to see Ta Ann immediately cease accepting wood from high conservation value forests. It is evident that on a global level there is not a market for such destruction. As long as Ta Ann continues to accept such wood we will continue our international campaign to bring an end to the destruction of our globally significant forests” said Ms Gibson.

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