Cottonsoft holds back toilet paper tests

MARIA SLADE
Last updated 09:54 23/11/2011

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Toilet paper manufacturer Cottonsoft is refusing to give lobby group Greenpeace a copy of tests it says refute allegations that it uses wood from Indonesian rainforest in its products.

It has declined the green group's request to see the test results because it ''has no faith in Greenpeace's intentions to engage fairly, constructively or in the best interests of [our] staff''.

However, it says it is prepared to discuss the results with Greenpeace, which it claims has consistently declined its invitations to meet.

Cottonsoft, owned by large Indonesian corporate Asia Pulp and Paper, commissioned the independent testing after research by Greenpeace showed matter from rainforests in its toilet rolls.

The Cottonsoft testing shows the fibres in its product come from standard plantation trees such as acacia, eucalypt and douglas fir.

Greenpeace said it stood 100 per cent behind its research and it was not clear that Cottonsoft's testing did not find any traces of mixed tropical hardwoods.

Its own testing did not find the controversial fibres in all of the samples it tested, and this could have been the case for the Cottonsoft research as well, the group said.

It was strange that Cottonsoft only offered a summary of its testing in its press releases, while Greenpeace's results were available on its website.

Cottonsoft has claimed that staff at its Dunedin plant are working fewer hours as a result of the rainforest allegations.

The factory had been forced to reduce production from two shifts to one, following publicity about the Greenpeace study, corporate affairs director Steve Nicholson said. That had affected consumer buying habits, he said.

However, the union representing the workers said Cottonsoft had been gradually moving production from Dunedin to its Auckland plant for the last three to four years, and the recent axing of the night shift was part of that.

''It's the first I've heard about Greenpeace causing job losses,'' EPMU organiser Mike Kirwood said.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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