Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cascades Brings Two New Eco Papers to North American Market

Cascades Fine Printing Group of Quebec, Canada has developed two new papers that will qualify for listing on the Eco-Paper Database, an independent designation for the highest product leadership in environmentally responsible papers, developed by a coalition of environmental organizations.   The new papers are Rolland Enviro100 Satin and Cascades Enviro Kraft Print, both for commercial printing, and both contain 100% recycled content.

The Rolland Enviro100 Satin is manufactured using local biogas energy, contains 100% post-consumer fiber, carries certifications from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), EcoLogo, and is certified Processed Chlorine Free.

Cascades Enviro Kraft Print is 100% post-consumer recycled and is FSC and EcoLogo certified.

Learn more about Environmental Paper Network's - "Paper Steps" - A guide developed by a large coalition of conservation organizations to designate leadership in environmentally responsible paper products across multiple attributes, including recycled content, FSC certified fiber, bleaching process, and incorporation of agricultural residue fiber.

Monday, February 21, 2011

GeaSphere Files Complaint on Baboon Killing in South African Timber Plantations

The controversial, deadly and ineffective methods of protecting tree plantations from baboon damage in southern Africa is making headlines this week.  Mongabay.com reports, 

The African environmental group, GeaSphere, has lodged a complaint with the Forest Stewardship Council's (FSC) for certifying tree plantations as sustainable that are culling baboons in South Africa, as first reported by FSC-Watch. The primates are trapped with bait and then shot. According to the complaint, "unofficial numbers from reliable sources state that more than 1000 baboons have been shot over the past 2 years" in Mpumalanga Province.  
From the GeaSphere press release:  
The environmental pressure group GeaSphere submitted a formal complaint to the FSC – Forest Stewardship Council – on Tuesday, 11 January 2011. 
At least 1,914 permits to ‘remove’ baboons by a controversial ‘trap and shoot’ method by FSC Certified plantation companies have been issued by the authority during the past two years. Most of the affected troops were from the Sabie, Graskop and Blyde River areas in Mpumalanga province, South Africa. 
GeaSphere is demanding an immediate moratorium on the killing of baboons by FSC certified companies and the de-certification of plantation companies involved in this practice. Baboons are a integral part of our environment. They perform various vital functions, such as dispersing seed of indigenous plants they naturally eat. Very little data is known about baboon dynamics in our area, or the long term consequence of removing baboons in such large numbers. 
Baboons damage pine trees by removing patches of bark reducing the value of the timber and in some cases killing the trees – causing financial losses to the plantation industry. This problem was first reported in 1975, and ever since the timber industry was at war with the baboons.
 John Scotcher, FSC contact person in South Africa, told mongabay.com that,
.....the baboon culling did not go against any FSC regulations. Furthermore, Scotcher said that the FSC was aware of the culling prior to GeaSphere's complaint. 
The complaint has been formally accepted by the FSC and will now be examined by an independent panel. 
"Nobody from the FSC may be a member of the panel. [The panel] will consider the complaint and their findings will be binding on both the complainant and FSC," Scotcher explained. "If the panel identifies any transgressions of local laws or the FSC Principles and Criteria, then there may be a corrective action required from the affected companies."   
More information can be found at the Baboon Information Package on GeaSphere's website.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

EPN Statement: Forest Carbon Counts

EPN Statement on EPA’s Important First Step to Measure Carbon Pollution of Biomass Energy Produced by the Forest Products Industry

Environmental Paper Network Director, Joshua Martin, issued the following statement regarding EPA’s decision to delay for three years the regulation of CO2 pollution from biomass energy under the Clean Air Act pending scientific study:

“The Environmental Paper Network (EPN) understands that a reliable, accurate and complete accounting of the carbon dioxide pollution from the use of forests for energy production and as fiber for paper products is critical to sound climate and energy policy and to advancing environmental progress in the pulp and paper industry.  The forest products industry is the leading producer and user in the United States of biomass energy and its associated pollution.  Due to the urgency of the climate crisis and the impact of this decision on the sustainability of our nation’s forest resources, we look forward to a scientifically rigorous analysis as the EPA undertakes a three-year delay to conduct its study on regulating carbon dioxide pollution from biomass energy.

“EPN applauds EPA’s previous interim determination on biomass energy in the development of its Tailoring and Tailpipe Rules.  This decision, which set up a separate study process for biomass sources, affirmed that there was ample evidence that biomass energy could not credibly be declared ‘carbon-neutral.’  Now, this three-year study of the scientific evidence will finally put to rest the dangerous myth that harvesting forests for energy and paper production is ‘carbon-neutral.’

“This decision on measuring the carbon dioxide pollution impacts from burning trees for energy is a critical priority for many local communities, for our nation’s forests, and the planet’s climate.  The central issue is proper accounting so that sound decisions can be made to safeguard the public interest and establish fair rules of the game for business.  These fair rules will stimulate and encourage stalled investment in technology in the paper industry to increase competitiveness and job creation in the global, low-carbon economy. 

“The Obama Administration’s EPA must utilize the best science and avoid politics and the hard lobbying that we have already seen from those with a special interest in perpetuating the 'biomass is carbon neutral' myth.  As EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said publicly in the past, ‘Science must be the backbone of what EPA does. EPA's addressing of scientific decisions should reflect the expert judgment of the agency's career scientists and independent advisers.’

“The Environmental Paper Network stands ready help the public, business leaders, and conservation organizations provide scientific input to this study and to work with EPA through the process.”

# # # 

The Environmental Paper Network brings together a diverse coalition of environmental non-governmental organizations to accelerate environmental transformation in the pulp and paper industry.  Learn about the work of our members at www.environmentalpaper.org.

Media Contact:  Joshua Martin, 828-251-8558, Joshua@environmentalpaper.org

Monday, February 07, 2011

Are pulp & paper industry consultants distracting the public?

The Paper Planet welcomes a guest column by Aaron Sanger, Director of U.S. Campaigns at ForestEthics, in response to "Are environmental campaigns misleading the public?"

At the end of last year, pulp and paper industry consultant Phil Riebel wrote a blog post for RISI posing the provocative question “Are environmental campaigns misleading the public?” Riebel’s main point is that paper products should be evaluated across their entire life cycles, and not on only one environmental impact point such as fiber content.

ForestEthics couldn’t agree more: paper products should be assessed across their entire life cycle and environmental impacts should be minimized at each stage of the cycle.

However, ForestEthics’ expertise is focused on a specific part of a paper product’s life cycle: the one that potentially destroys the forests we need for clean air, water and healthy life of all kinds.

And as a matter of fact, ’fiber content’ features prominently as one of Riebel’s “Ten Ways to ‘Green’ Your Paper”.

But here lies the hypocrisy: If you’re going to recommend fiber-assessing certification and eco-labels as part of a plan to ‘green your paper’, you should recommend those that are truly green and not those that are just greenwashing, such as SFI.

If a certification is going to do its job, and give the consumer information that is relevant to the life cycle, it should have all those things that the ‘Sustainable Forestry Initiative’ (SFI) lacks: full and transparent chain of custody information, rigorous standards that aim higher than ’business as usual’, restrictions against clear-cutting, protections against the destruction of old-growth forests, legitimate audits, and adequate caution with regard to practices which may harm rare wildlife.

In other words, SFI’s labels lack credibility. SFI: Certified Greenwash, the report ForestEthics released last November, has all the details.

If you go ahead and recommend SFI despite its lack of these fundamental components, what’s the point? The life cycle of a paper product can’t possibly be green if the ‘fiber content’ isn’t green. And promoting all ‘certification and eco-labels’ as a ‘sign of environmental commitment’ isn’t a way to green paper products; it’s a tip for how to greenwash.

In a sequel post published a few weeks ago, Riebel reiterates his position that “the key certification systems [including SFI] can be effective tools to achieve sustainable forest management.” We disagree, and our report demonstrates that SFI suffers from inherent flaws that prevent it from being an effective tool to protect forests.

Riebel also claims that each certification system’s performance varies depending on where it is applied, and that the differences between certification systems are not “black and white.” We’ve never said the difference between SFI and other systems is ‘black and white’. We are saying that, based on SFI’s overall failure to protect our forests, its claim that it is ‘good for forests’ is greenwash.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

A Blizzard of Action and News on Yellow Pages Waste Reduction

San Francisco and Washington state introduced legislation last week in order to address the environmental and financial impacts that phone books are having in those communities.  The industry has responded by making efforts to improve its current, voluntary, opt-out program.  A central part of these efforts was to create a single clearing house for users who wish not to receive a phone book to go to, instead of the old website which directed users to a phone number of their local distributor after a zip code was entered.  

The new site was launched this week at YellowPagesOptOut.com, and though it was crashed for a day or so, presumably because so many people want out, it appears to be back up and online today.

Here's a round up of the current storm of phone book waste reduction news.

San Francisco’s Opt-In Legislation and an accompanying news piece.

An article on the industry's efforts.

Scott Cassel of the Product Policy Institute, a member of the Environmental Paper Network, has written a great article that addresses the phone book issue.

And on Gizmodo.com, this blogger let's us know how he really feels, in the posting, "At Last, You Can Send the Yellow Pages to Hell"

And if you don't feel like reading, here's an ABC News video segment: