Featured image of article: Helping China Achieve Sustainable Paper Production and Use

What is China’s impact on forests and communities, given that it is the world’s biggest paper consumer and the fastest-growing investor in the pulp and paper industry? Activists from Indonesia and from the Chinese Environmental Paper Network are working together to increase understanding of this question. To assist this learning process, we are organising an exchange between environmental activists from China and Indonesia, together with European and North American campaigners.

During September and October 2014, Chinese activists will travel to Indonesia, and Indonesians will travel to China. The Indonesian visit will involve meetings in Jakarta and travel into forest lands in Sumatra, to observe the impacts on the ground of pulp and paper production, and to meet representatives of affected communities. The participants will learn about the impact of the policies and practices of the pulp and paper industry, governments and finance in Indonesia, and consider the role that China is and should be playing.

The return visit will involve a public event on 15 October exploring China’s role in the global publishing paper trail, looking at how printers and publishers can make sustainable paper choices, to supply books to Chinese and international markets with the miminum environmental and social harm. This visit will also include learning about the methods of paper production that have been carried out sustainably for thousands of years since paper was invented there, and it will be a chance for international campaigners to learn about Chinese culture and the potential and challenges for environmental advocacy.

Following the launch of our Global Paper Vision earlier this summer, this project demonstrates that the Environmental Paper Network is a truly global coalition, working together to find international solutions to the environmental and social problems caused by the pulp and paper industry in Indonesia and other producer countries.

 

Featured image of article: Our new Global Paper Vision

One hundred and twenty organisations share a vision for sustainable production and consumption of paper

Today, together with our membership of more than one hundred twenty civil society organizations on six continents, we are proud to unveil a powerful new Global Paper Vision uniting a myriad voices currently challenging the paper industry to adopt more sustainable practices. This blueprint for change addresses priorities for social responsibility and environmental conservation in response to global paper consumption patterns and the industry’s influence on biodiversity, forest health, global warming, air and water quality and local communities.

The new Global Paper Vision harmonises several regional vision statements for industry reform around the world into a more coordinated effort to match the globalised supply chain for paper products and raw materials. The signatories of the Vision are known collectively for their successful efforts moving the marketplace to more sustainable products, reforming forest governance, securing improved forestry practices by the world’s largest paper companies and accelerating the transformation of the entire industry over the past decade.

The new Global Paper Vision identifies seven common goals among the organisations that are key objectives for change: reducing consumption; maximizing recycled content; ensuring social responsibility; sourcing fiber responsibly; reducing greenhouse gas emissions; ensuring clean production; and ensuring transparency.

“Paper use has social, environmental, and human rights implications and this vision points at ways to improve them all,” said Saskia Ozinga of FERN, based in the United Kingdom.

“Jikalahari realized one of the underlying causes of deforestation in Indonesia comes from activities of timber plantations to fulfill the world’s demand for pulp and paper, and that is why we need a Global Paper Vision,” said Woro Supartinah of Jikalahari in Indonesia’s Riau province, the province experiencing the most deforestation in the last two decades. “Pulp and paper industry expansion has been associated with social conflict, forest-fires, lost livelihood of local and forest dependent people, loss of biodiversity, violations of law, corruption and modern slavery. With this Global Paper Vision we hope to join a worldwide movement to make a change in the way forest dependent people have been treated and in the way the forest has been managed.”

“By following the guidance of the Global Paper Vision, paper users can drive the market toward better paper products, which helps to reduce global warming pollution, save forests, conserve water and energy, and divert usable materials from incinerators and landfills,” said Darby Hoover of the Natural Resources Defense Council in the United States.

Collectively the signatories commit to developing collaboration and dialogue between NGOs, industry and other institutions; encouraging governments to develop legislative, fiscal and operational measures consistent with the vision; encouraging only responsible investment in the industry; articulating and implementing responsible procurement and purchasing guidance; monitoring the progress of all stakeholders towards the Vision; and campaigning to end socially and environmentally damaging activities by the pulp and paper industry.

The Environmental Paper Network will serve as a hub to facilitate collaboration and dialogue, identify and implement collective actions, host shared resources and monitor progress towards the Vision through publications such as the State of the Industry Report.

To read the complete Global Paper Vision and a list of signatories visit: www.environmentalpaper.org/Vision.

This information is available in Chinese here. (China is the biggest paper user and producer on earth).

The Environmental Paper Network is an international collaborative project of more than 120 organizations working for social and environmental transformation in the production and consumption of pulp and paper. Regional network leadership is provided by committees in Europe (environmentalpaper.eu), North America (environmentalpaper.org) and China (environmentalpaper.cn).

 

Featured image of article: Tasmania’s zombie pulp mill vanquished?

Australian campaigners are optimistic that they may have succeeded in their mission to ensure that no company buys the permits to build and operate the Tasmanian ‘zombie’ pulp mill. There have been concerns over the past few months that the pulp mill planned by Gunns several years ago, and defeated after a vigorous campaign by locals and environmentalists, was at risk of coming back to life.

Peg Putt, of Markets for Change, explains why there is once again cause for celebration.

“It has been announced that Gunns’ plantation estate and other assetts have sold to New Forests, a plantation company, who say they have no interest in the pulp mill permits and won’t buy them. The purchase of the feedstock required for this mill without also buying the pulp mill permits makes it very difficult for the mill to proceed, as they won’t have the guaranteed volumes of plantation wood they need to operate it.

The pulp mill permits remain on sale, but it isn’t only we green groups who think the pulp mill proposal might be dead: ABC says that the pulp mill is ‘dead in the water’.  We won’t get a final announcement however, as the receivers must continue to try and sell everything no matter how unlikely. Also both major political parties here can’t lose face by admitting they’ve backed a loser.

Have a look at our facebook page – people are very pleased. https://www.facebook.com/marketsforchange

The Heemskerk meeting on pulp mill finance organised by EPN and BankTrack was timely and very helpful for us. Skills learnt and contacts made were vital to our ability to get the message out re this odious proposal. We are very grateful.

We still have a tremendous fight on our hands in Tasmania to defend 74,000 hectares of World Heritage listed forests that our new government wants to open up for logging, plus another 400,000 hectares of high conservation value forests that are to be re-allocated into future logging zones under new legislation just introduced (they are currently designated for protection in future reserves). We fear that some of this could be fed to a pulp mill in the future if the government wants to revive the zombie by changing the hard fought provision for plantation only feedstock.
But right now Tasmania’s zombie pulp mill looks dead. We hope we don’t discover again that it is only resting.”

Peg Putt
CEO – Markets For Change

Featured image of article: EPN welcomes Asia Pulp and Paper’s commitment on forest restoration and conservation

Media release, 28 April 2014

The Environmental Paper Networks (EPN) of Europe and North America cautiously welcome today’s announcement by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) of a plan to work with global and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to restore and support the conservation of one million hectares of rainforest across Indonesia.

With its announcement, APP commits to all elements of “The First Test”, a set of Performance Milestones developed by the EPN in September last year (1), to guide the company towards ending its controversial practices. The Milestones’ scope is not intended as a standard for responsible paper production, but rather as a first step towards activity consistent with the EPN and EEPN Common Vision for sustainable paper production, trade and use (2).

“APP’s announcement is a significant step forward towards addressing the legacy of its extensive negative impact on forests, peatlands and communities in Indonesia,” said Sergio Baffoni, of the European Environmental Paper Network.

“Resolving and compensating for the company’s past legacy of environmental and social impacts will require a number of years. Independent third party auditing to verify the implementation of these commitments by APP will help customers and investors to determine the actual progress towards the Performance Milestones in due course. We hope that these milestones can also help to guide action by other pulp and paper companies in Indonesia and elsewhere to address their controversial heritage,” said Joshua Martin, Director of the Environmental Paper Network in North America.

The forest conservation and restoration commitment is equivalent to the approximate area of plantations operated by APP suppliers in 2013 and thus represents a 1 for 1 approach to addressing the company’s legacy (3). Indonesia’s rainforests are some of the most biologically diverse forests on the planet. They provide livelihoods to millions of people, they sustain the last habitats of Sumatran elephant, tiger, rhino and orang-utan, and their peat bogs sequester a massive amount of carbon. These forests however have been experiencing one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation due to development of industrial plantations for commodities such as palm oil and pulp and paper.

For many years, APP has been criticised for its extensive clearance of tropical forests in Sumatra and Borneo, many of which were located on deep peat bogs and/or were the habitat of critically endangered elephants, tigers, rhinos and orang-utans. The deforestation has led to numerous conflicts with local and indigenous communities whose tenure rights were ignored.

After 30 years of operation, in February 2013 APP announced a new “Forest Conservation Policy”. The EPN’s “The First Test” was a collective response to this policy by many NGOs, articulating a set of Performance Milestones that APP needed to achieve to address the gaps and weaknesses of their policy. These included the need for due process in ensuring local communities give full and prior-informed consent to use of their land, the need for forest restoration or compensation, closing of loop-holes in the policy regarding forest acquisitions, addressing damage to peat land, and ensuring independent third-party monitoring of progress in implementing the plan.

NGOs are now urging Indonesia’s second-largest pulp and paper producer APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources International), part of the large conglomerate Royal Golden Eagle Group (RGE), to also comply with the EPN Milestones.

The Environmental Paper Network is a coalition of 122 NGOs from 26 countries including Indonesia who share a Common Vision for a future where paper is produced and used sustainably.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Sergio Baffoni, +49 162 3812 528
Email: sergio.baffoni@environmentalpaper.eu

NOTES:
(1) EPN Performance Milestones: The First Test: http://environmentalpaper.org/milestones/
(2) EPN Common Vision:

http://environmentalpaper.org/our-vision/

http://www.environmentalpaper.eu/our-common-vision/

(3) EPN expects that the commitment to restore and conserve 1m ha of natural ecosystems will be in addition to the approximately 260,000 ha of natural forests the company is required by law to protect in its 2.6m ha of plantations anyway.

LINKS:
140428 MEDIA RELEASE EPN welcomes APP announcement
APP’s announcement
WWF’s response
Greenpeace’s response
Greenpeace blog
Another Greenpeace blog
Mongabay article

The European Environmental Paper Network has formed a partnership with BankTrack, to further our aim to stop irresponsible investment in pulp mill developments. BankTrack is a network of organisations campaigning for reform of the banking sector. Its secretariat, based in the Netherlands, has considerable expertise in financial campaigning, and we are delighted to be working with them. As first steps in this process we have formed a pulp finance working group, with a preliminary plan of action and a solid commitment to develop our joint activities.

You can find out more about our interests and priorities in pulp mill finance here.

An updated version of our popular factsheet giving Top Ten Tips for Paper Efficiency is now available here.

We have also published several new case studies of companies and other organisations that have made impressive reductions in costs and environmental impacts through paper efficiency. These include Standard Chartered Bank, which saved €9 million by encouraging its customers to give up paper statements, Vodafone, which has cut its office paper printing by 80%, and Marks and Spencer, which has taken paper efficiency to the heart of its business.  Read more in our Case Study Library.

Featured image of article: Keeping an Eye on the Taiga

Russia has more forest than any other country on earth, so it is important that there is vigilance to ensure that unsustainable pulp and paper developments do not put the taiga at risk. We are therefore delighted to welcome another Russian NGO into our network: Aetas, which campaigns for forest protection in Archangelsk in Northern Russia.

At the end of last year, one of the most controversial pulp and paper mills in the world finally closed. The mill at Baikalsk had for decades been pouring chlorine-based contaminents into Lake Baikal, the world’s biggest body of freshwater, and a unique and precious ecosystem, as well as sourcing timber from high conservation value Siberian forests. Baikal Environmental Wave, the Irkutsk-based NGO, can take considerable credit for campaigning for closure of the mill for many years.

Unfortunately as one misguided pulp mill closes, another Siberian mill is causing grave concerns. A pulp mill planned in Lesosibirsk by Angara Paper, in partnership with Japanese company Marubeni, has been highlighted as a major risk to Siberian forests. At the EEPN’s meeting in January on pulp mill finance, participants agreed that potential investors must carry out due diligence to ensure that the Angara Mill has sustainable, legal and conflict-free supplies of timber, before providing financial support to the project. Last year, Södra, which had been involved in the project, pulled out.

Featured image of article: EEPN’s 2013 Annual Report now online

The European Environmental Paper Network had a positive year in 2013, and you can now read about the highlights in our short annual report.

It includes a summary of our main activities and projects and disclosure of our finances, which are still very much at the shoe-string end of the spectrum. Thanks to our funders, and to our member organisations, and particularly our steering group members, without whom the vital work of co-ordinating our response to the global paper industry would not happen.

We hope you enjoy finding out what we have been up to. The document is here. Please do not print it.

    Civil Society Meets to Discuss Pulp Mill Financing Concerns
    MEDIA RELEASE
    For immediate release Tuesday 28 January 2014

    Representatives of twenty-eight civil society organisations from Europe, North America, Asia, Latin America and Australia have gathered in the Netherlands to discuss concerns about financial investment in pulp and paper developments. The meeting is organised by the European Environmental Paper Network, in partnership with BankTrack, and it includes participants from non-governmental organisations as well as some banks. It is the first meeting to take a fully global perspective on the financing of pulp and paper mills.

    The meeting is discussing lessons learned from past campaigns to stop irresponsible investment in pulp mills, including the campaign to stop a pulp in Tasmania, Australia, which is being re-triggered by new Tasmanian government legislation today.

    The meeting participants have agreed to issue a statement to the Government of Tasmania regarding the former Gunns pulp mill proposal, noting their dismay at the revival of the project and advising potential investors to be aware of the potential of environmental and social risks connected to the Gunns pulp mill project.

    Mandy Haggith, EEPN co-ordinator, said: ‘Participants in the meeting have had the chance to learn from experts in pulp mill investment and experienced campaigners about the opportunities for influencing financing decisions. We have also had discussions about how to identify mills that may threaten forests and agree joint strategies for future campaigns.’

    The European Environmental Paper Network has many member organisations who are engaging with investors and others in the financial world to ask them to make a positive influence in reducing the relevant impacts of paper industry developments, including their fibre sources and their human rights implications. Working together in a more co-ordinated manner, these organisations aim to stop irresponsible investment into unsustainable pulp and paper mill developments and to encourage investors to support only environmentally sound, socially beneficial and sustainable projects.

    The participants also considered pulp and paper mill developments around the world including Indonesia, Russia, China, Latin America and Africa, and the need to ensure future investors give backing only to developments that are not linked to social conflicts, forest degradation and deforestation.

    Notes for editors
    1. The European Environmental Paper Network (EEPN) is a coalition of 72 environmental and social NGOs in 25 countries that share a common vision for transforming the European paper industry to become ethical and sustainable. The Environmental Paper Network (EPN) is its sister network in North America, and the Chinese Environmental Paper Network its sister network in China.

    For more information, contact Mandy Haggith, EEPN co-ordinator, mobile: +44(0)7734 235704
    email: hag@environmentalpaper.euOne of the aims of the European Environmental Paper Network is to stop irresponsible investment into unsustainable pulp and paper mill developments. We are keen to co-ordinate the work of our member organisations who are engaging with investors and others in the financial world to ensure that their decisions are well-informed and take into account all the relevant likely impacts of paper industry developments, from their fibre sources to their human rights implications. Our priority areas will include scrutinising investment into Indonesian pulp developments, and engaging with the Chinese financial sector.

    We are holding a meeting in the Netherlands in late January 2014 to discuss pulp finance campaign strategies. Around thirty activists, from Europe, America, Russia, China, Indonesia, Australia and Latin America will gather to share information on their campaigns. We will also have the chance to learn from experts in pulp mill investment about the opportunities for influencing decisions, which will help us to identify targets and agree joint strategies for future work.