Paper company Solaris has said that comments posted anonymously on Mumbrella by a member of staff accusing a Greenpeace campaigner of being “scum” were inappropriate and unprofessional.
The link to Solaris came to light yesterday when Mumbrella became suspicious of a high number of similar comments in a story about the paper company taking out newspaper ads to counter claims made by Greenpeace.
Solaris has lost its contract to supply toilet paper to the IGA supermarket chain after Greenpeace began a campaign against the actions of Solaris owner Asia Pulp & Paper in Sumatra.
It turned out that 20 of those comments had come from a single, unidentified, IP address. As Mumbrella revealed yesterday, a further three came from an IP address registered to Solaris Paper. Two of those purported to come from a member of the public and included inflammatory language aimed at IGA management and at Greenpeace .
Solaris has issued a statement saying:
“It has been brought to our attention that two inappropriate comments that appeared on the website of Australian marketing and media trade publication Mumbrella were alleged to have been anonymously posted from a Solaris Paper IP address. The comments were unprofessional and do not in any way reflect the position of Solaris Paper.
“Solaris Paper has clear expectations around the ethical behavior of employees. That should include full transparency in any social media activity by people using company equipment as well as representing the Solaris Paper brand.
“In the meantime, Solaris Paper was unfortunately forced to downsize its operations and eliminate jobs. This was the direct result of unfair and ungrounded accusations and sustained threats by Greenpeace against loyal Solaris Paper customers. However that situation in no way excuses unprofessional behavior.
“Solaris Paper expresses its sincere regrets to any individual or group singled out or who would have been offended.
“Despite these challenging times, Solaris stays committed to Australia. We are still committed to investing in this market, creation of jobs in Australia and to providing high quality sustainable paper products to the community.
“We appreciate the continued support from our stakeholders and partners across Australia.”
Mumbrella understands that the comments were made by a senior member of Solaris management who yesterday owned up internally.
Solaris corporate affairs director Steve Nicholson told Mumbrella that he was cutting short an overseas holiday to return to address the issue. The company had been receiving advice from public relations agency PPR.
Nicholson told Mumbrella: “PPR had no role in the comments whatsoever. Their wise advice was not taken.”