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.