Paper company Double A lets consumers plant a tree through a ream of paper

SINGAPORE - Buying a Double A brand ream of paper for the next three months means having a tree planted in Thailand, with the company's new environmental sustainability initiative launched on July 7.

Consumers who buy reams of paper made by the company till September will be able to register for a tree to be planted using a QR code, and track the growth of the tree through updates via e-mail or Facebook.

At an event to launch the initiative, Mr Thirawit Leetavorn, senior executive, vice president at the company, said that over 1.5 million rice farmers will plant these trees in the vacant spaces that separates rice fields that are otherwise unproductive.

The farmers will then sell the trees back to Double A for additional income.

Mr Leetavorn, who leads the company in developing sustainable strategy, said that the time period for the initiative is based on the time of the year that seedlings are usually planted.

He added that he wanted to involve the consumer in the process because they have the power to vote with their wallets.

"Consumers are empowered. Through their purchasing decisions, they could actually force some businesses to change their activities," he said.

Mr Edwin Seah, executive director of the Singapore Environment Council who was present at the launch, said that while Singaporeans are "price-sensitive", anecdotally, they have come to be more aware about what they buy and how it relates to the environment.

He gave the example of the haze that plagued the region last year, the worst on record, during which supermarkets pulled off items from companies which were identified to have contributed to the haze.

"The silver lining for the haze episode last year is that consciousness was brought to bear. They can see the direct links," he said.

The sustainable paper will be also be sold in Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand.