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Certain environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGO's) are labeling major paper buyers and publishers as "wasteful" and "the forest's worst enemy". ENGO's are putting the onus on paper buyers t...

July 1, 2001  By Pulp & Paper Canada

Certain environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGO’s) are labeling major paper buyers and publishers as “wasteful” and “the forest’s worst enemy”. ENGO’s are putting the onus on paper buyers to be more environmentally friendly in their purchasing and distribution practices. This will lead to stricter environmental guidelines for our mills.

The primary environmental concerns of paper buyers today are the same global issues being targeted by ENGO’s: increased use of recycled fibre, logging of old growth forests, sustainable forestry certifications and greenhouse gas emissions.

Recycled content in magazines: As an example, the environmental organization called “P.A.P.E.R.” (Printing Alternatives Promoting Environmental Responsibility) is putting pressure on magazine publishers to increase their use of recycled fibre. Other recommendations are to:


Increase newsstand efficiencies, including an objective to achieve a 60% sell-through rate. P.A.P.E.R. claims that almost 3 billion magazines per year on newsstands are never read due to overproduction and over-distribution.

Follow the lead of magazines successfully printed on recycled papers. The Norm Thompson “green” catalog is being used as an example of an environmentally friendly catalog. See the following link for more information: http://www.environmentaldefense.org/Alliance/.

P.A.P.E.R. is a joint effort of the Independent Press Association, Conservatree and Co-op America. The magazine industry is being labeled as the “forest’s worst enemy”. For more, see www.ecopaperaction.org/factsheets.htm.

The Environmental Defense Fund web site has a web-based Paper Calculator that calculates the US average environmental releases and energy and wood consumption summed across the full “life cycle” of each of five major grades of paper and paperboard. For a given grade, it allows the user to compare the environmental impacts of papers made with different levels of post-consumer recycled content, ranging from 0% to 100%.

The approach is being labeled as the first step in determining the overall effect your paper purchasing decision is having on the environment.

The US Postal service was joined by the Environmental Defense Fund to develop the paper calculator. The US EPA endorses the approach. The parameters used to generate the impact estimates were developed by the Paper Task Force convened by the Environmental Defense Fund.

The Great Bear Rainforest Agreement: Greenpeace and the Sierra Club are labeling the British Columbia Great Bear Rainforest Agreement as a major victory for conservationists. This is an agreement reached between industry, environmentalists, First Nations and communities on British Columbia’s central and north coast rainforests. The consensus agreement package contains a combination of nearly 700 000 ha of protected areas and 900 000 ha of deferred areas, plus a new ecosystem-based approach to planning. The bottom line is to cease logging old growth forest and protect more land in BC. The percentage of protected land has increased from 8% to 21% and there will be less available for harvesting. The lost jobs will require $40 million to replace. See the web link below: http://www.greenpeacecanada.org/e/home.html.

The Boreal Forest: It can be expected that the Boreal Forest will likely be the focus of future campaigns by ENGO’s. Having said this, I was pleased to find that there is a master plan, at least in writing, to protect the boreal forest over the long-term. In June 1999 the Senate Subcommittee on the Boreal Forest published a report called “Competing realities: The Boreal Forest at Risk”. It describes strategies needed to ensure the survival of the boreal forest. The following are some key recommendations:

The boreal forest would be apportioned into three distinct categories. Twenty percent of the forestland would be managed intensively for timber production, using the Scandinavian model. Intensive management could boost timber yields per hectare by eight or more times those presently obtained in Canada. A second category, which would comprise the majority of the boreal forest, would be managed less intensively for a variety of values, but with preservation of biodiversity as the primary objective. The third category, comprising up to 20% of the forestland, would be set aside as protected areas to preserve ecologically and culturally significant areas.

The tax system should be used to promote sustainable forestry management. These include tax incentives for landowners who protect endanger species and who reforest.

All herbicide and pesticide use in the boreal forest should be phased out as soon as possible.

At the international level, Canada should promote the integration of the various forest certification systems.

Government and industry should work together to increase the amount of value-added wood manufacturing taking place in the boreal forest communities with a view to increasing employment in the forestry sector.

In the future, ENGO’s will continue to request paper buyers and publishers to be pro-active about environmental issues. The onus will be on them to continue selecting “environmentally preferable” paper suppliers. As with any industry, some buyers will want to take the lead and will be looking for good environmental stories from their suppliers. The following examples are requirements for selling paper to certain environmentally responsible buyers:

ECF or TCF pulp production;

Third party environmental certification of forestry and mill operations and all purchased wood;

Reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

To sell more pulp and paper, mills need to meet the environmental guidelines drafted by their clients as well as provide regular updates on how they are continually improving environmental performance. P&PC

Phil Riebel can be reached at phil.riebel@upm-kymmene.com.

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