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WWF launches online tool to measure environmental footprint of paper companies

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Press release from the issuing company

Gland, Switzerland - WWF has launched a new voluntary rating tool for paper companies to report on their global ecological footprint. The Paper Company Environmental Index assesses key environmental criteria, such as use of recycled fibre or fibre coming from well-managed forests, energy use and CO2 emissions, water consumption and water pollution.

Five globally significant fine paper manufacturers - Domtar from North America, M-real, Stora Enso and UPM from Europe and Mondi Group from South Africa/Europe - have been the first to voluntarily disclose their environmental profiles on WWF's new online Paper Company Index. Results and profiles can be found www.panda.org/PaperCompanyIndex. "WWF applauds these companies for their leadership and transparency," says Harri Karjalainen, WWF's Pulp and Paper Programme Manager. "They are the vanguard of a more sustainable paper industry."

"Other fine paper and tissue companies, particularly those in North and South America and Asia, are invited to follow suit and show their boards of directors, business partners, shareholders, investors, paper buyers and communities what they have done to reduce their global ecological footprint," says Karjalainen. "We hope this new online tool can promote some healthy competition within the paper industry. Who can achieve the lightest footprint?"

One of the participating companies, Mondi Group CEO, David Hathorn says: "We are pleased to have been part of the inaugural WWF Paper Company Environmental Index which assessed the efficient use of resources and environmental care. We hope that the index will attract many global paper companies as it provides an opportunity for participating companies to present progress made with reducing their environmental footprint."

Fine papers have everyday uses including copier/printer paper, book paper, envelopes, forms, writing pads, high-quality magazines and brochures, catalogues and annual reports.

WWF has launched the Paper Company Environmental Index at a time when total paper consumption is expected to increase from today's 400 million tons to 450-500 million tons by 20201 leaving an unacceptably large ecological footprint on the planet if the industry does not make significant improvements. Irresponsible pulpwood harvesting and expanding pulpwood plantations have the potential to threaten fragile ecosystems and create social concerns if not carried out responsibly. The pulp and paper industry is among the world's largest users of energy and emitters of greenhouse gases, and a significant source of water pollution and landfill waste.

The Paper Company Environmental Index covers impacts on forest ecosystems from fibre sourcing (35% of the maximum 100 points), emissions from manufacturing process such as water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions (35%), and corporate transparency (30%). The criteria apply to both policy and production, thus measuring each company's targets and actual performance. The index also includes companies' own operations as well as the supply chain; for example, market pulp bought for production of the end product.

The pulp and paper industry's expansion is driven largely by emerging economies, in particular in Asia. Many global pulp and paper companies are moving their production to the Southern Hemisphere due to lower production costs. Pulpwood from the South is travelling longer distances to North American and European paper mills; approximately 80% of market pulp crosses an international border and 40% crosses an ocean to reach its market.

 

 

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