Asia Pulp & Paper Group has taken another blow to its reputation as online retailer RedMart became the latest in a string of Singaporean businesses to stop selling APP products because of its alleged involvement in creating the haze.
In a statement, RedMart said APP paper products, which include popular brands Paseo and NICE, were removed from its website effective 6pm on Monday in light of ongoing investigations of APP.
The paper manufacturer has temporarily had its ‘Singapore Green Label’ certification revoked by the country’s environmental department.
"We remain deeply committed to supporting sustainably and responsibly sourced products; and encourage our suppliers and partners to adopt sustainable practices in their operations," RedMart said.
The company also used the statement to point out that it stocks 13 other fully certified paper products, and has updated its search function to allow consumers to filter by environmentally accredited brands.
RedMart is one of the later retailers to stop stocking APP products. In early October, several supermarket chains including NTUC Fairprice, Sheng Siong and Prime all removed APP products from their shelves.
Moreover, the Dairy Farm group, which owns Cold Storage, Giant and 7-Eleven, said it would sell its existing APP stock and not replenish it. To date, 38 companies have declared that they do not get supplies from companies being investigated about the haze.
APP has published a detailed statement on its website stating categorically that it is not responsible for the fires that have been causing think smog to drift across Singapore for the past three months.
"Our policy is clear: we do not burn our land. We will disengage any supplier involved in starting fires," the statement reads. Yet APP remains under investigation.
Yu Poh Leng, senior vice president at Ruder Finn Asia, told PRWeek Asia while retailers are under pressure to show they are doing something to oppose the haze, imposing a ban on a business is not a long-term solution.
"I don’t see it as a PR fallout for APP," she said. "The company has taken steps to address the concerns and they have taken the opportunity to educate the public through various means. I commend them for adopting such an approach.
She added, however, that more could always be done.
"Building a company’s reputation is an ongoing process. Once the dust has settled, firms like APP could go on the aggressive to further educate various stakeholders on its CSR efforts. It’s an uphill task, nonetheless."