Tuesday, December 19, 2006

From Russia with Love and Sustainability?

A coalition of two Russian logging companies, four of the world's largest users of paper products and one of the most important paper producers today released a project report "From Russia . with Transparency" documenting the key success factors in enhancing business practices, labour safety, and sustainable forestry in the Russian forest sector. The report is the outcome of a three-year joint effort to improve environmental and social performance in the Russian wood supply chain.

Together with the Russian partners work was done to improve safety training for forestry workers, introduce new logging technology, apply for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) forest certification, and implement new guidelines and reporting practices. The work was observed and the findings were reviewed by Transparency International and the Russian Karelian Research Center.

The project partners span the entire supply chain from the Russian forests to international paper and board markets. The Tikhvin-Chalna Project received its name from the communities where the Russian logging companies, Russkiy Les (Tikhvin) and Shuyales (Chalna) are located. The paper producer is Stora Enso and the three publisher partners are Axel Springer, The Random House Group UK, and Time Inc. Tetra Pak represents liquid food and beverage carton manufacturing in the project team.

Grist on Recycled Wrapping

The irreverant online magazine Grist has answers to a seasonal question for environmentalists wrapping gifts this holidays.

A reader ponders, "I'm a proponent of the "reduce, reuse, recycle" philosophy, but during the holidays, wrapping my gifts in the Sunday comics doesn't say "mindful conservationist" so much as it says "I'm too lazy and cheap to use store-bought wrapping paper." Do you have any suggestions on what I can use to show my holiday spirit without using a small forest worth of candy-cane-print wrapping?"

You can read the response in their Ask Umbra section.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Rice Rejects Kleercuts

The kids at Rice are alright!

Responding to research and advocacy by its students showing how Kimberly-Clark's logging practices were threatening the integrity of the boreal forests of Northern Canada, Houston's Rice University made a big decision this week to end its purchasing of tissue products from the company. The University switched its purchasing to products that include recycled material and exclude material from trees cut from the boreal.

Rice University Sophomore Kyle Saari and other students today delivered a four-foot tall copy of a letter announcing the change in campus purchasing practices to Marc Shapiro, a Houston businessman who is a member of the boards of both Kleenex maker Kimberly-Clark and Rice University. The letter confirmed removal of all Kleenex brand products from the Rice Housing and Dining Department.

The news made the front page of the Houston Chronicle...


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Paper: King of the Landfill

The average US garbage can. Credit: Plenty Magazine

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Victoria Admits Secret - Pledges to Reform

ForestEthics announced today a major milestone its campaign to transform the catalog industry. Limited Brands, parent company of Victoria’s Secret, revealed a new forest protection policy and a new contract for their catalogs. The policy, unprecedented in its scope, includes several landmark environmental measures and ensures that the pulp for the company’s catalog paper will not come from Endangered Forests. A new paper contract was also signed in accordance with the new policy.

For more than three years, ForestEthics has been educating the catalog industry about its negative environmental impact on the Canadian Boreal. Two years ago, they launched a campaign against Limited Brands/Victoria’s Secret and shortly after began discussions with the company. Since then, Limited Brands has increased their use of post consumer waste (PCW) recycled content, transitioning its clearance catalogs to sustainable paper with 80% PCW recycled content.

New, groundbreaking measures include:

  • Limited Brands has partnered with its paper supplier to eliminate all pulp supplied from the Boreal Forest (Alberta’s Rocky Mountain Foothills) and British Columbia (Inland Temperate Rainforest).
  • Shifting its catalogs to either 10% PCW or at least 10% Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) content during 2007.
  • A preference for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, the only credible certification for sustainable logging. Limited Brands has partnered with its supplier to shift four of its mills to FSC.
  • Overall catalog paper reduction
  • A commitment to continual improvement on environmental attributes of catalog paper and paper use. Progress will be audited by an independent third party and made public.
  • A commitment to phase out of Endangered Forests
  • One million dollars committed to research and advocacy to protect Endangered Forests and ensure leadership in the catalog industry
For more information, visit ForestEthics webpage.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Let Your Fingers Do the Stopping

The Product Stewardship Institute, Inc. (PSI) is undertaking a new project to reduce the tonnage of unwanted telephone books that are generated and distributed to households and businesses. The project also aims to increase environmentally preferable practices related to phone book production and distribution.

PSI was approached by multiple state and local governments that are struggling to respond to consumers’ frustration at receiving so many books, as well as having to pay for their recycling or disposal. They are currently identifying key industry stakeholders to participate in two meetings and work on developing collaborative solutions.

See PSI's phone book web page at: http://www.productstewardship.us/displayPage.php?pageid=339,

and the Project Summary at: http://www.productstewardship.us/displayPage.php?pageid=340.

If you have any questions or comments, contact Carolyn Starrett.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Google Earth-ing Tasmanian Logging

Forest advocates in Australia unveiled a new online tool for demostrating the impact of woodchipping in Tasmania.

The software program is a unique combination of the global satellite imagery program Google Earth and Forestry Tasmania's logging plans, and gives a bird's eye view of the logging year ahead.

For the first time, people the world over can access the virtual reality of proposed logging in Tasmania via the internet. Technological developments now give us previously unseen viewpoints, and linking these to Forestry Tasmania's website provides alarmingly graphic illustrations of the scale of woodchip driven landscape change in Tasmania.

"These images highlight the close proximity of logging operations to The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. They also clearly show industrial scale logging and landclearing across the state, especially in the proposed wood supply zone for Gunns' Tamar Valley pulp mill," said Paul Oosting, spokesperson for The Wilderness Society.

The Google Earth program also has a graphic flyover which instantly transports the user from Gunns' export woodchip facilities in Tasmania to the factories of their Japanese customers.

"A trip from a Tasmanian woodchip mill to the yards of Japanese paper makers highlights the reality of the export woodchip industry. Huge piles of Tasmanian native forests lay piled on wharves awaiting export or processing," concluded Mr Oosting.

The program will be available for live access today on The Wilderness Society's website.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Military, Industry, and World Bank Money in Uruguay

Despite fierce international controversy and opposition, the Finnish pulp and paper company Oy Metsa-Botnia said the World Bank's International Finance Corporation has approved 520 million US dollars in financing for its pulp mill project in Fray Bentos, Uruguay plus 170 million US dollars in additional insurance guarantees from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

Meanwhile, thousands of Argentine citizens opposed to the completion of the pulp mill are assembling and picketing across the river, blockading access to Fray Bentos from Argentina, and the Uruguay army has moved into positions surrounding and protecting the pulp mill contruction site.

Miguel Campostrino, leader of the Gualeguaychu Environmental Assembly responsible for the route blockades was quoted in a newspaper saying that “over a thousand people are willing to cross over to Uruguay and do whatever is necessary to avoid the completion of the Botnia pulp mill, and I’m not bragging”.

100% Recycled Paper at Costco

Finally, 100% recycled paper is becoming more available at major retail outlets. Adding one more location to the growing list, shoppers at Costco stores can now buy 100% recycled paper from Gray's Harbor for a two month trial period. Gray's Harbor used Environmental Defense's Paper Calculator to estimate that purchasing a case of the paper will save 24 trees and about 3000 gallons of water. Costco shoppers should snatch up a case now to ensure that the product will remain available at Costco stores in the future.

Tata to Excessive Packaging in Britain

British environmental minister Ben Bradshaw told citizens to leave "unnecessary and excessive" packaging at the register when they check out. Packaging waste is on the rise in Britain despite the commitment from major retailers to curb it. The country's top 13 grocery retailers pledged last year to reduce waste by over 175,000 tons by 2008, but so far have eliminated only 38,000 tons. "Until the supermarkets demonstrate clearly that they are willing to lead by example, we cannot expect consumers to get fully engaged with reducing their own waste," Bradshaw said.

Read the full article in the Guardian.

In the United States, more than half of the paper produced goes into paper packaging and the average American generates 300 pounds of packaging waste.

Take the Pledge to reduce your packaging here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Endowment for Communities in Transition Formed

A new endowment set up with $200 million US dollars as part of the Canadian Softwood Lumber Agreement is intended to help workers through economic transition in small communities where mill closures have a major local economic impact.

"We hope to create systemic, transformative change to assist those workers who were making $20 an hour in a paper mill or a pulpwood mill who are now working in the fast food restaurants without benefits," said Dick Molpus of Jackson, president of the 11-member board of directors of the United States Endowment for Forestries & Communities Inc.

The endowment's chief executive officer is Carlton Owen of Greenville, S.C., a forester and wildlife biologist.

Roxie, Mississippi, where Georgia-Pacific closed its chip and sawboard mill on November 15, is hoping to benefit from the Endowment. Read it in the Sun Herald.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bowater Sells Land to Tennessee

Paper company Bowater, Inc. the largest private landownder on the Cumberland Plateau, an Endangered Forest of the Southeastern United States, has sold 12,500 acres of land to the state of Tennessee.

It remains unclear how the land will be managed by the state, but much of the acreage was acquired because of its benefits for wildlife conservation and public outdoor recreation. It represents a great opportunity for conservation policies in this incredibly biodiverse forest.

Last year, Bowater committed to significant environmental steps in its management of its landholdings in the Southeastern US, with the help of non-profit Dogwood Alliance.

Read about the details of the land sale in the Tennessean.

New Millwatch Report on GE Trees In Canada

A new Millwatch report details the threats posed by Genetically Engineered trees from a Canadian perspective.

The report states, "A cozy triad of government, forestry industry stakeholders and academic biotechnology researchers is developing, poised to promote the public acceptance of GE trees."

Millwatch is a bi-monthly newsletter on Clean Pulp and Paper Production, featuring news, analysis, resources and contacts. Produced by Reach for Unbleached since October 1995 and published on the internet and in the Watershed Sentinel, BC's environmental news magazine.

The Paper Industry and Its Endangered Species Challenge in Ontario

The province of Ontario still has some areas of very extensive old-growth and intact forests (i.e., wilderness). These forests are home to endangered species like woodland caribou and wolverine that are continually losing ground as their habitat shrinks. Much of this is due to the paper industry. Catalogs, office paper, newpspaper, pulp and other products are coming from the region, so this is an issue for most companies and individuals.

There is a good article in the Tonronto Star today about the plight of these species and the fight there to even get some endangered species legislation. Federal Canadian legislation does next to nothing to protect these species since the law only applies to federally controlled lands... and the forests are alomst entirely under the control of the provinces.

You can also visit the website of SOS - Save Ontario Species - for more info.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Williams-Sonoma Cooks Up Leading Paper Policy

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. announced it will begin sourcing, effective immediately, virtually all of the paper used in the company's seven catalogs (Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Bed and Bath, Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen, west elm and Williams-Sonoma Home) from sources certified by FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). FSC certification ensures, through independent third-party audits, that Williams-Sonoma, Inc.'s catalog paper comes from well-managed forests that adhere to strict environmental and socioeconomic standards. Williams-Sonoma, Inc. will begin to display the FSC Mixed Sources label on its catalogs in early 2007.

"Today's announcement takes Williams-Sonoma, Inc.'s existing environmental commitment a step further by becoming the first major catalog company to print all of its catalogs on Forest Stewardship Council certified sustainable paper," said Todd Paglia, Executive Director of ForestEthics. "Williams-Sonoma, Inc. has assumed an environmental leadership position in the catalog industry."

Further information about Williams-Sonoma, Inc.'s Environmental Catalog Paper Procurement Policy can be found at http://www.williams-sonomainc.com/car/car_val.cfm.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Print Greener

A new software product called Greenprint creates a solution for the wasted pages that occur when they are mistakenly printed out. You know, like the last page with just a URL, banner ad, logo, or legal jargon. The software analyzes everything that is sent to the printer and then highlights and removes unnecessary pages, thus saving $$/paper/ink/trees.

For more info, visit GreenPrint online or read about it in the Portland Tribune.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Forest certification resource website

The Alliance for Credible Forest Certification has launched its new website. The site is probably the best resource for the NGO position on certification, scientific and policiy studies on certification.

The Alliance consists of ForestEthics, Rainforest Action Network, Natural Resources Defense Council, Co-Op America, Dogwood Alliance, Greenpeace, Healthy Building Network, Markets Initiative, National Wildlife Federation, Seattle Audubon Society, Sierra Club, the Southern Forests Network, and many others.

The site has lots of good information on the FSC and the SFI.

The short version: the SFI is simply not credible and only the FSC ihas the support of a wide range of conservation and forest advocates.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Citizen's Defeat International Paper's Tires for Energy Burn at NY Paper Plant

** Breaking News **

Late Tuesday afternoon, International Paper announced the permanent stoppage of its burning of tire-derived fuel at its plant in Ticonderoga, NY. The official reason given was because "test data indicates that long-term use of tire-derived fuel would not be economically feasible at the time."

Citizens who have been fighting the toxic plan for three years celebrated Tuesday night, knowing that the citizen monitoring of the toxic nature of the plan and drawing interational attention to the issue were what likely compelled IP to stop its burn when immediate health effects were clearly present as a result of the burn.

Stay tuned for more news on this in the morning.....

Dell Sells on Recycled Paper

Dells marketing publications now use an average of 50 percent recycled content paper -- and in many publications up to 90 percent -- exceeding a five-year company goal to use 50 percent recycled content by 2009.

Dell estimates the increased recycled content paper is avoiding the use of nearly 35,000 tons of virgin fiber paper per year. That is the equivalent of saving more than 250,000 trees or more than the number of trees required to print three Sunday editions of the New York Times.

The company announced the results in New York City at a Boreal Forest and Paper Roundtable event organized by members of the Environmental Paper Network including the Green Press Initiative, ForestEthics, Markets Intiative, and Co-op America.

Read Dell's full press release here....

Monday, November 13, 2006

IP Tire Burn Not Going Well

International Paper's controversial test burn of tire chips for energy at its Ticonderoga plant is running into problems and reportedly making Vermonters downwind sick. The Montpelier Times Argus reported on Saturday that IP had to scale back its test tire burn at a mill on Lake Champlain's west shore when, burning tires at one-third the allowed rate, it was bumping up against the limit for particular matter, a key pollutant.

Across the border in Vermont, numerous reports of foul smells and severe illness are being reported to local doctors and health agencies. According to local citizen groups, Vermonters report experiencing widespread adverse health affects ranging from severe respiratory affects, reactive airway inflamation, burning & blood shot eyes, burning nasal passages and throat, strange taste in mouth, metallic/rubber tasting, naseau, extreme fatigue and malaise, and cognitive defecits. Dr. Jack Mayer, a local pediatrician reported three cases of acute respiratory conditions transported north to Fletcher Allen Medical Center.

Vermonters, including state legislators, are calling on Governor Jim Douglas to invoke his authority under state statute to make International Paper stop the test burn in order to protect public health.

Tasmanian forests on YouTube

The Wilderness Society of Australia has posted its videos about Tasmanian Rainforest destruction and Gunns (the logging company responsible for the annihilation of the remaining rainforest in Tasmania and its export as chips to Japanese paper companies).

Powerful stuff. You can watch them here.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Some background on tissue paper producers

In light of Greenpeace stepping up their campaign on Kleenex, here is some useful background material.

WWF in Europe have been monitoring and reporting on the big toilet/hygiene products producers.

Toilet paper must get tougher

Toilet tissue manufacturers are failing to sell enough environmentally friendly products in the UK.

New research ranking the five 'giant' tissue manufacturers that make up 75 per cent of the European market - Georgia-Pacific, Kimberly-Clark, Metsa Tissue, Procter & Gamble and SCA Tissue - shows that whilst the companies have improved their overall environmental performance they need to make a greater effort to reduce the impact of their products on the world's forests.
And in the US, NRDC (Natrual Resources Defense Council) published this guide to tissue products.

Both are great resources for consumers.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Toilets of Turin

Activists from Greenpeace today confronted Kimberly-Clark at its regional headquarters in Turin, Italy demanding that the company “Stop Flushing Ancient Forests Down the Toilet.” While 2 activists suspended a massive banner from the rooftop, 20 others chained themselves to toilet bowls outside the office with trees being ‘flushed down’ them, symbolizing the company’s destruction of Canada’s ancient Boreal forest to make toilet paper and other disposable tissue products.

Greenpeace is campaigning to get Kimberly-Clark, the world’s largest manufacturer of tissue products, to end its destruction of the Boreal Forest. Kimberly-Clark produces some of Canada and Europe’s most well known brands of tissue and toilet papers such as Kleenex, Andrex, Scottex, Page and Hackle. Almost one-third of the virgin pulp used to make Kimberly-Clark’s European products and one-fifth of its global pulp is from destructive logging operations in Canadian forests, including the Boreal forest.

Monday, November 06, 2006

"A Funeral for Clean Air"

Today, Monday, November 6th, International Paper begins its toxic test burn of sludge and tire chips in Ticonderoga, NY, despite the opposition of the people and the government of Vermont and several of its customers.

This plant, whose products include the Hammermill line of office copy paper, will burn used tires for the next two weeks to try to make the case that they do not need to install pollution control devices.

On Sunday, the Burlington Free Press ran a comprehensive article with new details on the tire burn.

Organizations such as People for Less Pollution will hold what Joanna Colwell of the group called "a funeral for clean air," today at the plant and continue to challenge International Paper to be accountable.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Corporate Shell Game: International Paper Completes Land Sale

On October 30th, International Paper (NYSE: IP) completed the sale of 900,000 acres in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas to TimberStar Southwest, a Timberland Investment Management Operation - TIMO, for $1.13 billion. IP's total landsales in 2006 originally announced in April, totals 5.1 million acres and also includes the company Resource Management Services, another TIMO.

This marks the largest divestment of land by a timber company in the history of US forestry. IP however retains logging rights for from 30-50 years and the sale itself basically serves as a tax shelter saving the company millions and allowing them to pay down debt they have accrued from mergers with companies like Champion, Union Camp, Ilim (Russia), and more.

IP's sale matches a current industry trend in which most companies in the Southern US are selling off to TIMOs and private land managers. Other companies that have done this include Georgia Pacific and Bowater, and MeadWestvaco recently announced they would likely follow suit.

To learn more about the original sale, visit the story on the Dogwood Alliance website, here.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

That Takes Guts: International Paper CEO Refuses to Meet with Governor of Vermont

In a telling move about the power with which corporations hold sway over (or some might say prisoner) the US government, International Paper (NYSE: IP) refused to meet with Governor Jim Douglas of Vermont to discuss the proposed use of tires as fuel at the IP mill in Ticonderoga, NY on the NY/VT border.

The controversial project is set to begin on November 6th.

Residents of Vermont and nearly every elected official in the state have decried this project to no avail and it seems now that even the Governor will not convince the company.

To read the full story, go here.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Activists Chain Themselves to Victoria's Secret Over Catalogs

On October 23rd in New York City, activists supporting the Victoria's Dirty Secret Campaign of ForestEthics chained themselves to the doors of a Victoria's Secret store. The two activists were drawing attention to Victoria's Secret's controversy catalog paper sourcing policies. Victoria's Secret sends out over a million catalogs a day and they are printed on paper from Endangered Forests like the Canadian Boreal.

Read about the action in the Village Voice

Watch it on CBS News

Thursday, October 26, 2006

International Paper Storms Russia

Yesterday, International Paper (NYSE: IP) announced the creation of a joint venture with Ilim Paper, the largest forest products company in Russia. IP will invest $1.2billion in the country, and the investment is focused on four pulp mills. The Russian Boreal is one of the most threatened forest regions in the world. Ilim Paper has been going through the process of getting FSC certified but it is unclear how this will continue based on IP's support of the North American greenwash certification system - the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

To Read More Details on the Merger, click here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Asia Pulp and Paper: Nasty as They Want to Be

A new report released last week details how one of the world’s largest pulp and paper companies has broken numerous promises to protect forests in Indonesia, and is clearing forests in violation of Indonesian regulations.

“Anyone buying products from a company that sources illegally or from the clearing of high conservation value forests is contributing to the devastating loss of rainforests in Indonesia and pushing tigers, elephants and other wildlife closer to extinction” said Nazir Foead, WWF-Indonesia's Director of Policy & Corporate Engagement.

If you are buying products from Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), like many who supply paper products in the United States, Europe, Japan and elsewhere are, you are participating in one of the most heartbreaking forest tragedies of our day happening right now in Indonsesia.

Additional clearing and burning of these forest will only further fuel the growing problem of climate change from a country that already ranks in the top five in the world of greenhouse gas emitters. The smoke and haze resulting from the uncontrolled burning of Indonesian rainforests this year has again sparked international tensions, halted air travel, created a public health crisis, and slowed tourism across the region.

WWF is calling on pulp and paper producers and buyers to avoid APP and other suppliers who use wood fiber from illegal sources and clear forests with a high conservation value. Some companies, like the Ricoh Group and Fuji Xerox Group, both headquartered in Japan, have stopped purchasing APP products.

Get all the details from WWF here....

Monday, October 23, 2006

Universal Music Group Rolls Out Enviro Friendly CD Cases

This weekend, Universal Music Group announced plans to roll out a new fully recyclable cd sleeve and case. The sleeve will be made of recycled paperboard and the case will be made from paper foam that is biodegradable and recyclable. The special cases will be used exclusively with the Millenium Collection, a "best-of" series produced by UMG.

Universal is the parent company of such important music labels as Geffen, Verve, Mercury, Motown, Interscope, Island and Def Jam. Let's hope that they choose to use this technology with all of their products, not just a special "best-of" series.

Read the full story here...

World Bank To Fund Pulp Mill Project?

The World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency announced that they will ask their Boards of Directors to approve IFC financing and MIGA guarantee support for Oy-Metsa Botnia’s Orion pulp mill project in Uruguay.

Despite the environmental degradation and social conflict produced by two pulp mills on the Uruguayan/Argentine border, the World Bank in its revised cumulative impact study has determined that the Orion pulp mill project will "comply with IFC and MIGA's environmental and social policies while generating significant economic benefits for the Uruguayan economy."

The other side of the story from conservationists and local citizens...(Spanish)

More from the World Bank....

Vermont Governor Appeals to IP to Stop Hazardous Tire Burn

Vermont Governor James Douglas appealed to International Paper (NYSE: IP) CEO John Faraci to intervene on behalf of the people of Vermont in respect to the proposed use of burning tires as a source of fuel at the IP Ticonderoga (NY) paper mill.

This controversial burn has the potential to open the floodgates to the use of tires as fuel and reduce hard fought clean air protections.

To read the full story visit: http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061020/NEWS/610200363/1004/NEWS03

Genetically Engineered Trees - no thanks!

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity is calling for comments and views on the impacts of genetically engineered (GE) trees on forests and natural ecosystems, indigenous peoples, peasants, local communities and small-scale farmers, woodlot owners, women or children. Current research on 'Frankentrees' includes genetic engineering to produce trees with reduced lignin and higher cellulose content for paper production. Some of the world's biggest paper industries, such as International Paper, Stora Enso, Nippon Paper Industries, Mitsubishi, Oji Paper and Aracruz Cellulose are involved in this research, as are many government research institutes and forestry agencies.

For more information on GE trees see www.stopgetrees.org and http://www.wrm.org.uy/subjects/GMTrees/text.pdf
For debate on the topic see http://www.conservatree.org/paperlisteningstudy/Forests/question70.html

The deadline for comments to the UN is November 30. They should be sent to:
Dr. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
413 Saint-Jacques Street, Suite 800
Montreal, Quebec, H2Y 1N9 Canada
Please also send a blind cc (bcc) of your written comments to info@stopgetrees.org
If you would like help with this process or have questions, contact: info@globaljusticeecology.org

Friday, October 20, 2006

Argentine Citizens Block Bridge Again to Protest Pulp Mills

Argentine environmentalists protesting against the building of pulp mills in Uruguay lifted late Sunday, October 15, the two days roadblock of a route leading to the neighboring country but warned that new “actions” can be expected in the near future.

Read the full story here...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

West Fraser: the key word is deficient

West Faser, one Canada's biggest loggers and suppliers of market pulp to world markets, was caught with 'deficient' equipment to contain spills, according to this report in HazMat magazine. The fine is $100,000 (Canadian dollars).

The whole story is here.

West Fraser is a dinosaur company that endangers wildlife in many ways... pollution, logging of Endangered Forests, you name it. For other impacts by West Fraser, check out ForestEthics report "Staring at Extinction: Mountain Caribou in British Columbia."

Monday, October 16, 2006

International Paper Sells Beverage Packaging Unit

In another big move for North America's largest paper manufacturer, International Paper (NYSE: IP) announced the sale of its beverage packaging unit to New Zealand based Carter Holt Harvey, a former partner of IP's in ArborGen the world's leading genetically engineered trees R&D company.
This sale focuses on the company's mill in Pine Bluff, AR which produces 1/4 of the world's beverage packaging and continues a trend in divestment by the company to allow the company to focus on uncoated packaging and printing and writing paper.

Read the story at:

Friday, October 13, 2006

Responsible Wrapping Paper + Holiday Cards

It's still a couple months until the winter holidays, but its never too early to get ready. Again this year, Conservatree has developed an easy online guide to help find lots of responsible holiday cards and wrapping paper that are environmentally conscious. Spread the word about this tool to everyone you know who wants to celebrate this season with a lighter footprint on the planet.

A Tale of Two Pulp Mills

From the Associated Press: Argentine opponents of Uruguayan pulp mill projects that have strained ties between the South American neighbors have vowed to resume border bridge blockades this weekend even as the government of President Nestor Kirchner urged calm Wednesday.

Some 800 activists voted late Tuesday to blockade two of three international bridges to renew attention to its claim that the planned wood pulp plants will contaminate farmland and tourist areas in northeastern Argentina.

Read the story...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Southern Forests & the Packaging Problem

According to the University of Georgia’s Center for Paper Business and Industry Studies, in the 13 states that make up the US Forest Service’s Southern Region there are 96 mills producing paper packaging. As far as impact to the South, one big player rises to the top.

Giant pulp and paper manufacturer International Paper owns 5 container board mills and 4 additional consumer paper packaging mills across the south including the 876,000 tons of paperboard per year Riegelwood Mill near Wilmington, North Carolina, the 650,000 tons of paperboard per year Augusta Mill located in Augusta, Georgia, the 620,000 tons of paperboard per year Texarkana Mill located in Texarkana, Texas, and the 400,000 tons per year Pine Bluff Mill located in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. At this volume, and with current insufficient logging standards, the impact is a growing problem.

Learn more about the packaging problem for the forests of the Southern US

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Scoring European Tissue Paper

Gland, Switzerland - While some of Europe's leading tissue manufacturers have made improvements to their environmental performances, many gaps remain.

As part of its annual environmental performance assessment, five "giant" tissue manufacturers that make up 75 per cent of the European market - Georgia-Pacific, Kimberly-Clark, Metsa Tissue, Procter & Gamble and SCA Tissue - were scored by WWF across a range of criteria, including their levels of recycled content, wood sourcing practices, pollution control and transparency.

This year, two of the five companies achieved a score of over 50 per cent, compared with none in 2005. Metsa Tissue received a 53 per cent score, while SCA Tissue achieved 69 per cent, the only company to get a "green mark".

For more info and full list of scores click here....

High Seas GE Trees Protest

Charleston, South Carolina, October 9, 2006, alongside the outing to Fort Sumter by participants in the ArborGen sponsored plantations conference.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Genetically Engineered Trees ?!?!

One of the biggest threats to native forests that no one knows about is the development of genetically engineered trees. As in food crops, this technology poses tremendous threats, and extensive information about its hazards specific to trees and forests is available at the website of the Stop GE Trees Campaign.

This week in Charleston, S.C., October 10-13 the International Union of Forest Research Organizations hosts a paper industry conference entitled, "Sustainable Forest Management with Fast Growing Plantations." One of the sponsors of this conference is locally based bio-technology firm ArborGen, a joint venture of International Paper, MeadWestVaCo, and others. ArborGen has acquired 126 permits to conduct field tests of genetically engineered trees, most of them in South Carolina.

The Stop GE Trees Campaign organized an alternative forum on October 8-9 to educate the local community on ArborGen and GE trees. Delegates from the campaign will also be presenting a paper at the conference presenting the latest relevant research and advocating for the use of the precautionary principle in approaching this technology.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Buy Better Stuff for Your Green Office

One of the coolest things about 2006 is the proliferation of easy opportunities to buy the eco-friendly items we all want in our hearts to buy but often find easy excuses to not, such as "its too hard to find." Well here are two new websites that provide easy shopping for all the environmentally friendly products your office could ever need.

The Green Office

The Recycled Products Purchasing Cooperative

Were You Aware?

That this is National Junk Mail Awareness Week organized by the Center for a New American Dream? And were you aware that more than 100 million trees’ worth of bulk mail arrive in American mail boxes each year – that’s the equivalent of deforesting the entire Rocky Mountain National Park every four months.

During the first annual Junk Mail Awareness Week (October 1-7), which coincides with the peak of junk mail season and the third anniversary of the implementation of the federal Do Not Call registry, New American Dream and their partners will draw national attention to tools that give Americans control over their private mail boxes. 3 states have already initiated legislative efforts to make it easier to opt-out of junk mail and momentum is building for Congress to act.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Rally Against Pulp Mill in Tasmania

On September 16, approximately 8000 people marched through the streets of Launceston, Tasmania, Australia to rally against the Gunns' planned pulp mill.

The pulp mill is proposed for the Tamar River near Bell Bay in northern Tasmania. If it proceeds the mill will eventually consume 4 million tonnes of logs each year.

“Today’s fantastic turn-out is a show of strength against the pulp mill which will pollute the air and sea and devastate our native forests if it goes ahead,” said Geoff Law

See a short video of the rally.....

More on this issue here....

Boreal Business

An economists' new report lends an economic accounting to the "value" of a primary zone of pulp and paper production. Forests in northern nations such as Russia and Canada are worth US$250 billion a year because of services they provide by purifying water or soaking up greenhouse gases, a researcher said on Tuesday from the National Forest Congress in Ottowa, Canada.

Read more on this story....

Ready with a management and conservation solution at the Congress were 60 businesses who put forward their support for the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework,
- a balanced vision for conservation and sustainable development in Canada 's Boreal forest.

Read more on this story....

Hemp on Hold at French Mill

Workers at Stora Enso's mill in Corbehem, France who had been laid off earlier this year when two machines were shut down, marched this week to protest Stora Enso backing out on a deal to sell the two machines to a company called Green Recovery. Green Recovery planned to rehire 180 workers, and add 100 jobs running a machine to produce hemp paper for Europe. The workers protested in front of the Finnish and Swedish embassies.

Friday, September 29, 2006

South America in the Crosshairs of the Industry

A new report from Greenpeace Argentina presents forecasted statistics for the rapid expansion of pulp and paper production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil. The growth threatens to be disastrous to the ecosystems and public health of the area.

More information on the report is available in Spanish here....

"Writing on the Wall" - An English language news article about the report is available here...

The Packaging Planet

This week Wal-Mart announced at the Clinton Global Initiative that it will be working to reduce its packaging impact by working with its 60,000 suppliers. Read more...

Friday, September 22, 2006

International Paper Burning Sludge and Tires?

A battle between Vermont and New York and public health advocates and International Paper (IP) is "heating up" over burning of tires and sludge at their Ticonderoga plant. As a toxic "test burn" approaches without the installation of best available technology, customers of IP are weighing in and a boycott is looming.

For more info on this issue visit People for Less Pollution.

For a Boston Globe Article on the Issue Click Here

Businesses Say Shame on Kimberly-Clark

In a bold ad in the National Edition of the New York Times newspaper, Greenpeace announced that more than 650 businesses in North America and from around the world are refusing to use tissue products manufactured by the Kimberly-Clark Corporation and made from ancient forests. The businesses are calling on the company to use more recycled fiber and pulp from sustainable logging operations in its products including Kleenex brand facial tissue. Visit the Forest Friendly 500 webpage to learn more.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mergers and Acquisitions

Will today's news be a net gain or a net loss for sustainability? Can these companies lead ethically and responsibly into the future?

Weyco and Domtar Fine Papers to Merge

Stora Enso Buys International Paper holdings in Brazil

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Schwarzenegger's Great Opportunity

Rainforest Action Network today called on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act, which passed the state Assembly on Wednesday with strong bipartisan support. The bill would lift the ban on one of the most economically and ecologically promising alternatives to industrial logging and give farmers the ability to legally supply US manufacturers with hemp seed, oil and fiber.

“We need to look past all the misconceptions about hemp and embrace its potential as a sustainable raw material for everything from paper to textiles to soap,” said Brant Olsen, director of Rainforest Action Network’s Old Growth Campaign. “In signing this bill, Governor Schwarzenegger will create a boon for California farmers and our regional economy, and he will show the nation that there is an environmentally sustainable alternative to turning our last remaining forests into paper.”

Learn more...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Do You Buy Paper?

Of course, we all do. So we all need someplace convenient to find out how and where to choose and buy environmentally responsible papers. Enter Conservatree, and their new user-friendly website, with an entire new section for regular, everyday paper purchasers, choosing things like paper to put in your home desktop printer. No more excuse not to be able to find responsible paper...or that the choices are too confusing...sorry.

The Human Impact of Paper

A coalition of groups working to assist the Grassy Narrows First Nation protect their traditional lands has released a new factsheet detailing the impact on First Nations communities in Ontario, Canada, where clearcutting of the boreal forests tramples treaty rights, destroys a community's source of food, and threatens the cultural survival of communities.

Book Industry Treatise on Responsible Paper

The Green Press Initiative has announced that 118 US book publishers have signed an Industry Treatise on Responsible Paper Purchasing, paving the way for significant changes in the paper usage of the US book publishing industry.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

TRN Conference announced publicly

Very exciting for me... I live in Cambridge. This is THE paper and forest event of the year.


Taiga Rescue Network 8th Biennial Conference

The Global Importance of the Boreal Forest: Migratory Birds and the Paper Industry

10 - 13 September 2006 Clare College, Cambridge, UK

The conference will feature:

  • Industry - NGO - government - science discussions to promote cross-sectoral collaboration and/or communication, build relationships and increase mutual understanding
  • In-depth discussions of the world's impacts on boreal ecosystems, especially in relation to migratory birds
  • The latest campaign news from around the boreal forest
  • Release of the State of the Paper Industry and the Environment by the Environmental Paper Network
  • Unveiling of new tools and information to help papermakers and major paper buyers improve environmental performance

Attendees will include those from the following cross section of industries:

  • Paper industry and boreal forest products industry representatives
  • NGOs working on paper issues, boreal forests, and related
  • Indigenous peoples groups and local community organizations throughout the boreal region
  • Academics - Scientists - Researchers interested in boreal forests, migratory birds and the paper industry worldwide
  • Government agencies and development agencies
  • Financial institutions, especially those affected by or invested in boreal regions and the paper industry

Additional meetings of Birdlife International's Forest Task Force, the Taiga Rescue Network and the Environmental Paper will be held following the conference by invitation. Additional workshop information will be made available.

Contact: Jim Ford, jim@taigarescue.org

Save the date in your diary and be sure to check back at www.taigarescue.org/conference2006 for more details as they become available. An email reminder will be sent.

Co-hosts are the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Birdlife International, Boreal Birdsong Initiative, ForestEthics, and UNEP -World Conservation Monitoring Centre with support from the Environmental Paper Network, Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and others.


Forest Ethics Logo

IP Sells coated division

International Paper has just sold its coated paper division -- including four mills that sell endangered forest fibre and are some of the dirtiest mills around. It would be interesting to know how the outstanding lawsuits against International Paper for their polluting of the Androscoggin River in beautiful Maine played a part in the sale and the ongoing controversy regarding IP's use of Endangered Forest fibre from the Rocky Mountain Foothills in Alberta.

This sale will have pretty big implications for the catalog and magazine industry since IP were one of only three players in the market for the biggest magazine and catalog publishers ('roto' publishing as it is known in the biz).

Press release link via Bloomberg from the sale.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Bank Dumps Uruguay Pulp Mill

Dutch banking giant ING announced in a letter to Friends of the Earth International, CEDHA and BankTrack that it is pulling out of a divisive venture opposed by environmentalists and local communities in Uruguay and Argentina.

The ING Group wrote in an April 12 letter that its participation in the
1.7 billion USD controversial paper mill project of Finnish company Botnia in Uruguay "is no longer under consideration".

Site of the pulp mill at Fray Bentos.
Photo credit: Giovanny Garrido/Argentinaphoto

Friday, April 14, 2006

Introducing "The Paper Planet"

Thanks for reading the inaugural post of "The Paper Planet", a new project of the Environmental Paper Network (EPN). On this site, leading environmental advocates from around the world will share tidbits, tools, tech, and tales of triumph and tragedy as society tackles one of its most challenging, and important, production and consumption issues. The pulp and paper industry is a leading contributor to global warming, a major driver of deforestation, and a top polluter of our water. Nevertheless, paper plays an important role in our society, and has and will continue to spread knowledge and culture across the planet. We touch it 100 times a day. Its everywhere, and even in our technological age we use it more and more. But even now, alternatives are available and change is possible. Right now, there are good businesses to support, creating paper with all the quality and variety that we all love to hold, but produced in a more environmentally sustainable manner. We hope you will join us on this journey as we enter an age of sustainability solutions and transform the pulp and paper industry in order to protect life on this earth as we know it.