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ENVIRONMENTAL PAPER SUMMIT and COMMON VISION
Press Coverage

Montreal Press Conference, January 29, 2003

New York Press Briefing, March 10, 2003

Resource UK Article, Jan/Feb 2003 (PDF)


MONTREAL PRESS CONFERENCE, January 29, 2003

ENVIRONMENTALISTS RELEASE COMMON VISION
FOR TRANSFORMING PAPER INDUSTRY
Groups Lay Out Path to Environmental and Social Sustainability

MONTREAL 29/1/03 - A diverse group of environmental organizations joined together at the annual Canadian Pulp and Paper Conference today to release a common vision urging the paper industry to abandon its destructive 20th century environmental practices and adopt environmentally responsible alternatives for the 21st century.

The Common Vision emerged from the NGO Paper Summit, an unprecedented gathering of over fifty environmental groups working on paper, toxics and forestry issues. The Paper Summit was the first time that such a large and diverse group had come together on this issue. By sharing information about impacts and approaches, and by articulating action priorities, the groundwork has been laid for increasing coordination among campaigns in the future.

The virgin-timber based pulp and paper industry is the single largest industrial consumer of forests worldwide, the largest industrial consumer of freshwater and largest generator of polluted wastewater. The industry is the third largest industrial generator of greenhouse gases and the fourth largest consumer of fossil fuels.

The Common Vision sends a unified message to paper producers and consumers of environmentalists' highest priorities for reducing damage to the Earth:

  • eliminate excessive and unnecessary paper consumption,
  • end the use of fiber that threatens endangered forests,
  • maximize post-consumer recycled fiber content in all paper and paper products,
  • eliminate harmful pulp and paper mill discharges and the use of chlorine and chlorine compounds,
  • end the clearing of natural forest ecosystems and their conversion into plantations.

"The consensus vision released today marks an unprecedented coming together of major environmental organisations across North America. Our organisations will be working with progressive corporations to implement this vision, and singling for further scrutiny those companies who are not interested in change," said Greenpeace Canada's Gavin Edwards.

A number of Fortune 500 companies have already instituted policies that insist on more recycled and sustainably-harvested content in their paper. Recently, office supply giant Staples Inc, announced a landmark environmental policy in November 2002, which other office supply leaders including Office Depot and Office Max are now scrambling to meet or exceed. In its policy, Staples agrees to increase the overall post-consumer recycled content and to stop sourcing paper from endangered forests.

"In Canada, book publishers have already printed more than two million books on paper which is free of endangered forest fiber. Forward looking companies in Canada and around the globe are already implementing the pathway outlined in this paper vision," said Nicole Rycroft, Campaigns Director for Markets Initiative.

Members of the Common Paper Vision Coalition Include: Center for a New American Dream, Co-op America, Conservatree, Dogwood Alliance, Environmental Defense, ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Markets Initiative, Natural Resources Defense Council, Recycled Products Purchasing Cooperative/Green Press Initiative

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NEW YORK PRESS BRIEFING, March 10, 2003

COMMON VISION FOR TRANSFORMING PAPER INDUSTRY GAINS MOMENTUM
Over Fifty Environmental Groups Have Signed Document; Pledge to Coordinate Efforts

(10 March, 2003 - New York) As leaders from the paper industry gathered for the annual Paper Week meetings in New York City, environmentalists announced that they are uniting around a Common Vision for transforming paper production and consumption.

The Common Vision, first presented at the Canadian Pulp and Paper Conference in Montreal last month, emerged from the NGO Paper Summit in November 2002, an unprecedented gathering of over fifty environmental groups working on paper, toxics and forestry issues. By articulating action priorities and sharing information about their work, they laid the groundwork for increasing alignment and coordination of campaigns in the future.

The Common Vision sends a unified message to paper producers and consumers about the highest priorities for reducing damage to the Earth:

  • eliminate excessive and unnecessary paper consumption,
  • end the use of fiber that threatens endangered forests,
  • maximize post-consumer recycled fiber content in all paper and paper products,
  • source any remaining virgin fiber from independent third party-certified forest managers that employ the most environmentally responsible practices (currently, the Forest Stewardship Council is the certification program that comes closest to meeting this standard),
  • eliminate harmful pulp and paper mill discharges and the use of chlorine and chlorine compounds,
  • end the clearing of natural forest ecosystems and their conversion into plantations.

Since the Summit, a total of 57 environmental groups have signed onto the Common Vision, and agreed to further its goals in their work.

''The Common Vision represents a new level of cooperation among major environmental organizations across North America," said Susan Kinsella, executive director of Conservatree. "Despite having many different approaches to encouraging change, environmental groups are united in the goal of achieving environmentally sustainable paper production and use."

A number of Fortune 500 companies have already instituted policies that insist on more recycled content and no fiber from the world’s endangered forests in their paper. Office supply giant, Staples Inc, announced a landmark environmental policy in November 2002, which other office supply leaders including Office Depot and Office Max are being challenged to meet or exceed. In its policy, Staples made a commitment to phase out paper products originating from endangered forests and dramatically increase their sale of recycled paper products.

"Staples and other forward-looking Fortune 500 companies are already beginning to implement the solutions outlined in the Common Vision, challenging some of the world’s largest paper producers to clean up their act," said Sarah Hodgdon, executive director of Dogwood Alliance. "The Common Vision will bring new energy and alignment to the work citizens and environmental groups across the Southern United States and throughout North America have been doing for years to move the pulp and paper industry toward more sustainable practices."

Signatories of the Common Vision share the goal of reducing the heavy costs to the Earth of paper production and consumption. In the United States, the pulp and paper industry is the largest user (per ton of product) of industrial process water, and ranks third among manufacturing industries in both energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. It also ranks third among industrial sectors in emissions of Toxics Release Inventory chemicals to air, and fourth in discharges of such chemicals to surface water. And paper products make up the largest portion (31%) of discarded municipal solid waste.

''The world simply cannot tolerate another 100 years of ecologically destructive business as usual in the paper industry. The Vision Document is a roadmap for the future; it is based on ecologically necessary and commercially proven practices and technologies," said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist at Natural Resources Defense Council. ''Making the technical shifts outlined in the Vision document will undoubtedly involve many challenges. Consequently, along with this Vision document we are also issuing a plea to collaborate, recognizing that in order to overcome these challenges the industry will need help from the environmental community.''

Members of the Common Vision Paper Coalition include the Center for a New American Dream, Co-op America, Conservatree, Dogwood Alliance, Environmental Defense, ForestEthics, Greenpeace, the Markets Initiative, Natural Resources Defense Council, Reach for Unbleached, and the Recycled Products Purchasing Cooperative/Green Press Initiative.

Representatives of several of these organizations will be at Paper Week to talk more about the Common Vision document. Their presentation will take place on Monday, March 10 at 5:00 p.m. at the Metropolitan Hotel, 569 Lexington Avenue, Mezzanine Level, Verrazano Room III.

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Additional quotes:

''As an organization working with thousands of paper purchasers across the country, the Center for a New American Dream is thrilled finally to see agreement among all of the major environmental groups about what constitutes an environmentally preferable paper. This definition will eliminate confusion among purchasers, lead to rapid increases in sustainable paper purchases, and help protect human health and the environment.'' -- Scot Case, Director of Procurement Strategies, Center for a New American Dream

''The Common Vision sends a strong message that environmentalists are united in developing the market for environmentally preferable papers. Paper producers, purchasers, and environmentalists all have a role in making this Vision a reality. By eliminating unnecessary paper consumption, maximizing recycled content, and sourcing virgin fiber responsibly, we can help protect forests and wildlife, conserve energy and natural resources, and minimize waste and pollution.'' -- Victoria Mills, Project Manager, Environmental Defense

''Over 25 U.S. book publishers have recently committed to implement production policies that will protect ancient forests and support markets for recycled paper. These are innovative companies that are helping to reform their industry. '' --Tyson Miller, Program Director, Green Press Initiative

''In Canada, book publishers have already printed more than two million books on paper that is free of endangered forest fiber. Forward-looking companies in Canada and around the globe are already starting down the pathway outlined in the Common Vision.'' -- Nicole Rycroft, Campaigns Director, The Markets Initiative

 
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