AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS, 8 January 2002 – Akzo Nobel has cancelled its plans to participate in the construction of a pulp factory on the Indonesian island of Kalimantan. Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) has been demanding the company do so since 2001. Until recently, Akzo Nobel refused to reconsider its plans. Friends of the Earth Netherlands is pleased that Akzo has finally taken this step.

Just a few weeks ago, on December 2, Friends of the Earth voiced its protest by draping a ‘jungle curtain’ accompanied by the sound of chainsaws in front of the entrance to Akzo Nobel’s head office in Arnhem, the Netherlands. The Friends of the Earth report Paper from Forest Giants- Akzo Nobel’s plans in Indonesia was published simultaneously.

Akzo Nobel was part of a so-called Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Singapore company that plans to build a pulp factory in Kalimantan. Nearly 50 thousand hectares of tropical rainforest would have to be cut down and replaced by plantations to supply the pulp factory with wood pulp. Akzo had agreed to build a chemical plant that would manufacture bleaching agents for this factory.

FoE Netherlands is happy to see that Akzo Nobel has shown it takes its own environmental policy seriously by withdrawing from this project. Akzo Nobel states:

‘The four points raised by Milieudefensie in their executive summary actually reflect our own views: Akzo Nobel share their concerns over mismanagement and deforestation in Indonesia as well as in other countries. It is in our interest and a basis for our pulp and paper chemicals business to develop and market more environment compatible products and systems for pulp bleaching and paper manufacturing.’

Akzo is the second company in the Filthy Five series of Friends of the Earth Netherlands. The series highlights Dutch companies that are not taking their corporate responsibility seriously in foreign countries. The alarming situations uncovered in these cases illustrate the need for binding international legislation for multinationals.


Press Office Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie), tel: +31 20 5507 333