McDonnell joins the fray over Greenpeace campaign
- January 31, 2012
Gov. Bob McDonnell is warning a major retailer that its decision not to stock products from a Shenandoah County manufacturer could hurt the state’s economy.
Kroger has joined a growing number of national retailers that have decided not to buy products made from raw materials produced by Singapore-based Asia Pulp & Paper (APP).
The environmental group Greenpeace accuses APP, a division of the Chinese conglomerate Sinar Mas, of destroying rainforests in Southeast Asia. Greenpeace began a campaign urging U.S. grocery chains and big-box stores not to carry APP-sourced products until the company changes its practices.
Strasburg-based Mercury Paper, also owned by Sinar Mas, uses APP raw materials to make toilet paper and tissue products sold under the Paseo brand.
Mercury expanded its manufacturing-distribution center near the Interstate 81-and 66 interchange in Shenandoah County in 2010 and relocated its corporate headquarters to the site. The $21 million facility employs more than 150 people.
Mercury Paper says it follows strict policies to ensure that its suppliers are sustainable.
In a letter to Kroger CEO David Dillon, McDonnell said, “The organizations pressing for this boycott are focused neither on the best interests of Virginia’s citizens, nor your customers, and are unaware of Mercury’s commitment to environmental sustainability throughout its supply chain.”
“Mercury Paper is an important part of Virginia’s economic recovery, and Kroger’s decision will harm this business,” the letter said. “They have created jobs in a struggling part of our state through advanced technology and by bolstering trade.”
Several other elected officials — including U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, state Sen. Mark Obenshain, Del. Todd Gilbert, and Strasburg Mayor Timothy Taylor — have also spoken up in defense of Mercury Paper.
Goodlatte, whose 6th District includes Shenandoah County, has written letters to the CEOs of Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Target, Costco, Kmart and Safeway, urging them to stand firm against the Greenpeace campaign.
In addition to Kroger, other companies deciding not to use Sinar Mas products include Food Lion, Hasbro, Nestle and Staples.