A new European association, the paper by Nature Association, comprising UPM Kymmene, Stora Enso, Arjo Wiggins, MECSEA (Manufacturers of Educational and Commercial Stationery Association) and FEPE (European Envelope Manufacturers Association) has just announced its plans for a new converted paper European ecolabel 'Paper by Nature'. The Association is currently inviting comments on its ecolabel criteria by 10 September 2008.
This blogger has yet to fully review the criteria which cover some key areas of concern to all such as origin of the raw materials, chemical products, emissions, waste management and energy use. But she does note that whilst the Association states that its approach is 'entirely based on a multi-stakeholder dialogue' it has created 'a specific Observer status reserved for environmental NGOs and consumer associations'; it is not clear if NGOs can actually become members and therefore be elected to its board.
Other observers have called the initiative 'greenwash' and noted that forest certification systems are treated equally, no preference is made between recycled and virgin paper and that there is no onus to reduce paper consumption.