Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Botnia and Stora Enso Turning Old Growth into Magazines in Finland

Finnish governmental forestry enterprise Metsahallitus has begun construction of roads leading into the planned logging sites in the Intact Forest Landscape of Pokka-Pulju in Finnish Lapland, the largest area of unprotected old growth forest left in North Finland, just south of the Sammi people's homeland.

The forests of Pokka-Pulju are intact, virgin old-growth forests in their natural state. They have never been logged before. The Finnish government will now start industrial logging in this pristine area. This clearing of Intact Forest Landscape is occurring to supply the needs of the Finnish pulp and paper industry despite intense objection from people around the world.

Lemmenjoki National Park, Pulju wilderness protection area and unprotected forests of Pokka-Pulju together form a roadless area of over 3294 square-km. The threatened part of the area, Pokka-Pulju is 130 square-km of old-growth forests, mires and treeless hills.

Wood logged from the Northern Finnish old-growth forests is sold to Botnia (owned by UPM and M-Real) and Stora Enso. The wood already logged from roadline is labelled to Botnia mills in Kemi.

Local conservationists are encouraging concerned people everywhere to contact the Prime Minister of Finland Matti Vanhanen and seek the protection the old growth forests of Pokka-Pulju.

More info about the area

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Abitibi + Bowater = Third Largest N. American Papermaker

The merger of Canadian paper-maker Abitibi and Greenville, South Carolina headquartered Bowater creates a combined company, AbitibiBowater Inc., that would be the third largest paper-maker in North America and have an annual revenue of about $7.9 billion. The companies say they will be able to cut annual costs by $250 million in an industry grappling with overseas competition and a dwindling market.

The combined company's global headquarters will be in Montreal, and Bowater's former corporate home in Greenville will be turned into a regional center.

AbitibiBowater's product lines will include newsprint, uncoated and coated mechanical papers, market pulp and wood products. It also will be one of the world's leading consumers of recycled newspapers and magazines. The combined company will own or operate 32 pulp and paper facilities and 35 wood product facilities located mainly in eastern Canada and the southeastern U.S

Associated Press Article

Local South Carolina Article

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Friday, January 26, 2007

The Packaging Problem

Tired of all of that excess packaging that fills your trash, litters the countryside and is absolutely unnecessary? Help is on the way... Today Dogwood Alliance announced the creation of their packaging campaign to help solve the packaging problem, here is an excerpt from their blog:

This week is the kick-off of Dogwood Alliance’s packaging campaign. This campaign targets companies that use paper-packaging products sourced from endangered Southern forests.

Think about it - what could be more wasteful than when a company cuts down trees to make the packaging we discard after purchasing the product? Does the box that my Dove soap comes in really need to be made of virgin material harvested from some of the world’s most biodiverse forests? You can help us make a difference…

Read more of our blog, and sign our packaging pledge!

Canada Coughs Up Cash For Great Bear Rainforest Deal

When activists took on a phone book company over 10 years ago for using paper from a portion of the coastal rainforest of British Columbia, they could only dream it would lead to such broad, permanent conservation for one of the most beautiful coastlines on earth. But this week, completing a key component of the historic conservation agreement to protect millions of hectares of forest in the Great Bear Rainforest, the Canadian government agreed to contribute $30 million (Canadian) to match $60 million from private investors and $30 million from the BC provincial government. This completed a key pillar of the agreement, the economic investment in sustainable economies for the region. Private funds will flow to a conservation endowment fund, dedicated solely to conservation management, science and stewardship jobs in First Nations’ communities. Public funds will be used for investments in ecologically-sustainable business ventures within First Nations’ territories or communities.

“The challenges of our age require innovative approaches that place a premium on a healthy environment. With today’s announcement we’re proving that conservation can attract investment and actually support jobs that won't threaten the living systems that we depend upon,” said Merran Smith, BC Coast Program Director, ForestEthics.

US Press Release

Canadian Press Release

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Robin Wood Steals the Show at PaperWorld

On January 24, forest conservation organization Robin Wood stole the show at the annual industry trade fair, PaperWorld, in Frankfurt, Germany, with a protest that included a giant banner reading, "We have a dream: PaperWorld 100% recycled."

Robin Wood's protest called on people to be less wasteful when using paper and to change over to recycled paper whenever possible, especially in offices. According to the press release, Europe is responsible for 1/4 of the world's paper consumption, and 1/2 of all trees cut worldwide are used to make paper. Robin Wood urged people in Germany to look for and purchase paper with the Blue Angel symbol as it is the most environmentally friendly on the market.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Neenah Paper Makes History...Channel, That Is

Neenah Paper will appear tonight, January 24, on the History Channel’s Modern Marvels program during the “Environmental Tech” episode which focuses on recycling. Neenah’s application of sustainable technology at it Neenah, Wisconsin (USA), mill will be featured during the program.

“Neenah Paper recognizes that our industry is one of the most resource-intensive in the world. The manufacturing of paper consumes more water per ton of product than any other manufacturing process,” says Meredith Christiansen, product manager. “Therefore, it’s important as a leading fine paper mill to promote the technological advancements that allow us to recycle the water used in making recycled papers, return 70% of the water to the Fox River cleaner than when it left, and to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels.”

For more information on water quality impacts on the Fox River from the paper industry visit the website of Fox River Watch, a project of Clean Water Action of Northeast Wisconsin, a member of the Environmental Paper Network.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Will Comic Book Publishers Save the Planet?

Real life superheroes from the Activism Center at Wetlands-Preserve in New York City are using their powers to compel comic book publishers to examine the environmental impacts of their publishing choices. As the Comic Foundry reports in an excellent article on the topic, some comic book artists are bounding to action, like Maxeem Konrady who states, "The paper industry is one of the single most serious threats to our clean air, our habitat and our water because it's so stubbornly ingrained."

According to surveys done by the Wetlands-Preserve of dedicated comic books fans, a community with a keen sense of good and evil, a strong majority of them are cheering for eco-justice.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Warming Weather Hampers Paper Production in Finland

Warm weather is hampering the harvest of wood for the production of paper in Finland, according to paper maker M-Real. Following one of the warmest year on record, and during an unusually warm winter, the muddy ground in nordic Finland is not hard enough for many forest tracts and stockpiles to be accessed by forestry trucks. The lack of frozen ground is therefore hampering the supply of wood fiber for paper production.

"The company is living from hand to mouth with its wood supply. Possibly we have to limit our (paper) production if the weather does not get colder," said Juha Mantyla, M-real's director for wood sourcing.

Read about it in Planet Ark.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

...also in Chinese paper news

The Ethical Corporation reports this week that US newspapers are beginning to source newsprint from China for economic reasons, but may be ignoring sustainability in the process.

Tribune, Gannett, and the New York Times are all looking at making a move to newsprint from China, but apparently have failed to analyze the environmental implications of the move despite internal policies that they do so.

A member of The Paper Planet's family of bloggers, Jim Ford of ForestEthics, shows up in the article, urging a closer look at the ethics of the forestry practices where the fiber is being sourced from in Indonesia and Russia.

To China and Back Again Via Nine Dragons

The New York Times Business Section reports today on the story of Zhang Yin of Hong Kong, who built her fame and fortune on recycling U.S. and European scrap paper into the incredible amount of containerboard needed for shipping all those "Made in China" products back to the U.S market. Her company, Nine Dragons Paper, capitalizing on the availability of cheap labor, cheap coal, and cheap land, is set to compete among the largest paper companies in the world in the containerboard sector.

“My goal is to make Nine Dragons, in three to five years, the leader in containerboards,” Ms. Zhang says emphatically in a short interview in her glistening Hong Kong office. “My desire has always been to be the leader in an industry.”

For years, conservation groups have been closely monitoring the growing appetite for paper products in a rapidly developing China and its importing of raw pulp and scrap paper.

The Paper Planet asks you to share your thoughts and links to sustainability information on this subject in the comments section.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Celebs "Play a Part" for Paper

With help from E! Entertainment Television, an extensive Environmental Media Association Public Service Announcement campaign -- tapping some of film and television's favorite celebrities, the "Play A Part" PSA campaign features celebrities challenging viewers to "Play A Part" by adopting simple changes to their daily routine that will positively impact the health of the environment. The PSAs will air throughout the year on E! and THE VINE @ E!

According to press releases and reports on, participating celebrities include: Ed Begley Jr., Kristin Davis, Daryl Hannah, Anthony Kiedis, Wendie Malick, Nicole Richie, Jeffrey Tambor, Wilmer Valderrama, Constance Zimmer, and many others.

Sample EMA PSA tips: Using a reusable mug when purchasing your coffee for the day will help save 13,000 trees per day. Using a reusable nylon grocery bag will help to save the trees required to produce paper supermarket bags (1 tree for every 700 paper supermarket bags).

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Packaging Planet

Packaging is one of the largest uses of paper and anyone who has ever opened a box would agree that we live in an overpackaged world, especially when modern paper production is putting severe stress on our natural resources. Recently, Package Design Magazine developed an online supplement to its magazine called "Sustainability by Design," which offers some enlightened advice, time and money saving tools, slick ideas and satisfyingly long lists of resources and links to help accelerate progress on this challenge.

Take a moment to think inside the green box on their homepage.

Plum Creek and Weyerhaeuser Get Called Out

The Washington Post reports that two conservation organizations have independently brought official challenges to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative challenging two of the biggest timber companies with using the misleading "green" label as cover and carrying out unsustainable forestry practices. The Seattle Audubon Society is challenging Weyerhaeuser for logging which threatens spotted-owls in the Pacific Northwest. And the Natural Resources Council of Maine is challenging Plum Creek for unsustainable practices which resulted in previously unreported, and major fines from the state of Maine.

Read the article or access the Alliance for Credible Forest Certification which also has detailed coverage and information on forest certification issues.