21 March – International Day of Forests

Mar 21, 2013

European pulp and paper industry takes care of the forest




“The paper industry destroys forests”:a common misconception put forward by environmentalists all around the globe. What they don’t realise is that the European paper industry…

– contributes to keep up forests.

– practices sustainable forest management.

– is not responsible for the depletion of tropical forests.

From all the wood extracted around the world’s forests, 53% is used for energy production, 28% is used by sawmills and only around 11% is used directly by the paper industry(1). The paper industry depends on wood and needs thriving forests. It is very much in our interest that wood is used sustainably and will remain available as a raw material to future generations.

From a tree the branches cut to maintain a healthy forest are used for paper making. Residues from saw mills such as wood chips, are also used as raw material for paper. Over the years, thinning operations weed out the weaker trees, but there is still a net gain. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) calculates that the annual increase of forest cover in EU 27 member countries is app. 503 000 ha/yr. This corresponds to the size of 3403 football (soccer) fields per day and an area almost twice as large as Luxembourg every year(2).

Deforestation is generally occurring in the southern hemisphere and is mainly due to unsustainable agricultural practices and fuel requirements. The European paper industry supports sustainable forest management as well as certification. A sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest growth, while producing an annual sustained yield of wood, will generate the largest carbon storage benefit(3). We support certification as a way of documenting sustainable forest management. Certificates based on defined criteria issued by independent auditors make this verifiable for customers and consumers(4). Half of Europe’s forests and 92.2% of forests owned by paper companies are certified(5).

In Europe, the paper industry signed up for a Legal Logging Code of Conduct(6) in 2005 firmly condemning illegal logging and related corruption and criminal activities. Our commitment to responsible sourcing is clear and beyond any reasonable doubt.

More forest related news in the European paper industry at http://www.cepi.org/topics/forest

Or visit paperonline.org for more myth busters at http://www.paperonline.org/myths-and-realities

Information about the International Day of Forests: http://www.fao.org/forestry/international-day-of-forests/en/

1. FAO Statistics 2007

2. FAO Statistics 2010

3. 4th Assessment of the UN intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

4. To learn more about certification, please visit www.fsc.org and www.pefc.org

5. CEPI Sustainability Report 2011

6. Legal Logging Code of Conduct for the Paper Industry