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Toilet Paper Harming Tigers Through Habitat Destruction, World Wildlife Fund Claims

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Using toilet paper may be a dirty business, but what about where your TP came from?

A new report from World Wildlife Fund suggests that American consumers and businesses are "inadvertently contributing" to deforestation in Indonesia and destruction of Sumatran tiger habitats by purchasing paper products made using fibers from Asia Pulp & Paper (APP).

APP is currently the fifth largest tissue producer in the world, according to a WWF press release, and is "rapidly expanding" into U.S. markets with paper products under the Paseo and Livi brands.

According to World Wildlife Fund estimates, APP and its affiliates have used "nearly 5 million acres of tropical forest on the island of Sumatra," for paper pulp since 1984.

Sumatran rainforests are home to the Sumatran tiger, a subspecies of Panthera tigris, which is currently listed as critically endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Recent estimates suggest there are between 441 and 679 wild Sumatran tigers remaining.

WWF says they have contacted the 20 U.S. grocery chains who they believe to be the largest retailers of Paseo products, in an effort to convince them to discontinue sales.

Eight retailers -- including Kmart, Kroger and SUPERVALU -- have recently agreed to stop selling paper products made from APP fiber. The other 12, listed below, "did not respond or commit to stopping Paseo sales," according to WWF.

The CEO of Oasis Brands, which owns Paseo and Livi, said in a recent letter, "Continuous, rigorous auditing has proven APP products are made from sustainable sources and meet well-established sustainability standards."

In 2011, toymaker Mattel announced that it would no longer package Barbie dolls with paper products made by APP. An APP spokesperson said in response, "Asia Pulp and Paper applauds Mattel's commitments to recycling, wood, legality, protection of High Conservation Value Forest, respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and robust auditing and certification procedures. These principles very much mirror APP's philosophy and environmental commitments and we are delighted to see a major global toy manufacturer adopt the same."

Below, check out WWF's list of the 12 American retailers that have not committed to discontinuing sales of Paseo brand paper products. Click here to read WWF's full report.

Click here to read APP's 2011 "Declaration of Commitment to Support Conservation of Tigers,
Endangered Species."

List courtesy of World Wildlife Fund. Images courtesy of credited Flickr users.

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