Hotel association declares support for responsible paper sourcing

A second association has declared its support for the responsible sourcing of paper and pulp material.

The Singapore Environment Council (SEC) and the Consumers Association of Singapore yesterday announced that the Singapore Hotel Association (SHA) has invited its 145 hotel members to sign their declaration form.

Those who do so state that they do not source paper from companies - including Indonesia's largest pulp and paper firm Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) - linked to the haze-causing forest fires in Indonesia. The forms will be sent out this week.

In September, the National Environment Agency served APP in Singapore a legal notice to supply information on its subsidiaries in Singapore and Indonesia.

APP managing director of sustainability Aida Greenbury said in a statement yesterday: "Any supplier found using fires will be immediately disengaged.

"APP is doing its best to be a part of the solution to fight forest fires and haze."

ENCOURAGING GOOD PRACTICES

The objective of this whole exercise is to encourage hotel members to practise responsible procurement of pulp and paper materials.

MS MARGARET HENG, executive director of the Singapore Hotel Association

Six other Indonesian firms have been sent a notice asking them to take measures to extinguish fires on their land, not start new ones, and submit action plans on how they will prevent future fires.

"The objective of this whole exercise is to encourage hotel members to practise responsible procurement of pulp and paper materials," said Ms Margaret Heng, executive director of SHA.

The association has also urged members to commit to the responsible sourcing of paper.

If SHA's members sign the declaration, they will join 114 other firms - including major retail chain FairPrice - that have done so to date. The online form has been sent to 233 companies so far.

The first association that announced its support for the SEC initiative was the Singapore Manufacturing Federation, which sent out an appeal to its members asking them to commit to responsible sourcing last month.

SEC head of eco-certification Kavickumar Muruganathan admitted that signing the declaration form was not a magic bullet.

But the SEC, he said, does not expect "an overnight change".

When contacted, Royal Plaza on Scotts chief experience officer Patrick Fiat said that he will sign the form and "continue to work closely with suppliers to ensure that the papers used are from sustainable sources".

Santa Grand Hospitality, which has seven hotels here, is considering the matter. Its marketing manager Derik Poh said: "We will think about it. We are wondering if customers really care, and if we sign, what effect would it have?"

He said that while the chain does not procure paper from the companies that have possible links to the haze, sustainability is not a priority when it comes to choosing a paper supplier.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2015, with the headline 'Hotel association declares support for responsible paper sourcing'. Print Edition | Subscribe