Over the past few months, our annual Book Chain Project conference has been the focus for the team in London. The event involved a day of panel discussions and delved into topics on all aspects of the Book Chain Project, all under the theme of ‘The Story of Books’.
Set against panoramic views of the WWT London Wetlands Centre, we gathered together 11 speakers covering 5 sessions, and invited participating publishers, mills and suppliers to attend. Altogether, we had a packed room with over 60 people in attendance and speakers from a variety of companies.
The speakers covered various topics including; the economics behind recent pulp price rises; the various pressures on mill groups around the world; deforestation hotpots and NGO efforts to keep corporate commitments on track. We also dedicated a session to the issue of plastic where we had the lead Plastics Campaign manager from Friends of the Earth examining the different recyclable alternatives available and how these options could be implemented into the book making industry. In addition to that, with pressure to tackle human rights abuses in all supply chains from the Modern Slavery statements, we ran a session on human rights and heard some hard-hitting examples of corporate engagement to correct previous abuses with the help of the Forest Peoples Programme.
The day was a great success and ended with a tour of the wetlands and feedback has been incredibly positive with 50% of attendees rating the event as ‘Very Good’.
Over the past few months, our annual Book Chain Project conference has been the focus for the team in London. The event involved a day of panel discussions and delved into topics on all aspects of the Book Chain Project, all under the theme of ‘The Story of Books’. There are 60 people from invited participating publishers, mills and suppliers in attendance. 11 speakers from a variety of companies talked about topics on pulp price rising, mill pressures, deforestation hotpots, plastic issues and modern slavery etc. The day was a great success and ended with a tour of the wetlands and feedback has been incredibly positive with 50% of attendees rating the event as ‘Very Good’.
Canadian company Catalyst Paper Corp. is selling its US operations, including a pair of paper mills in Maine and Wisconsin, to a Chinese company Nine Dragons Paper. Nine Dragons Paper is paying US$175 million for the mills and an operations centre in Dayton, Ohio. There are no plans for lay-offs at the mills, which employ about 610 workers in Rumford, Maine, and 380 workers in Biron, Wisconsin, a spokeswoman said.
A new study finds that illegal logging, coupled with weak state-run timber licensing systems, has led to massive timber harvesting fraud in Brazil, resulting in huge illicit harvests of Ipê trees. Ipê wood is largely shipped to the U.S. and Europe with the high value (up to $2,500 per cubic meter at export). Buyers all along the timber supply chain turn a blind eye toward fraud, with sawmills, exporters, and importers trusting the paperwork they receive, rather than questioning whether the lower prices they pay for Ipê and other timber may be due to timber laundering. This process is doing major damage to the Amazon. To reduce document fraud, the Brazilian federal government required that all states register or integrate their timber licensing systems within a national timber inventory and tracking system known as Sinaflor. While this should reduce fraudulent paperwork, better oversight of forest management plans and more onsite inspections of timber operations are needed also.
The publishing initiative run by Carnstone, The Book Chain Project, held its second Asia Summit on 24th of April in Shenzhen, China. It was an opportunity for all the stakeholders in the paper and pulp industry to get together to discuss the latest developments in responsible fibre sourcing. Among the 70 delegates there were paper mills, printers, publishers, retailers, timber experts, and NGOs. The aim of the Summit was to discuss the latest developments on responsible forest sourcing and to share best practice.
The first session included speakers from Carnstone, Chronicle Books, and Donnelly, who shared their understanding on forest sourcing and provided the customer perspective. Next, WWF introduced their work on increasing demand of certified and recycled paper products. IKEA also presented their forest traceability system. Then, IPE and China Water Risk provided their insights on industrial pollution and the water-use pressures present in China.
The next session focused on three major paper mills; UPM, APP and Chenming Paper, sharing their response to the growing expectations and regulations around paper manufacturing. This panel was also joined by TFT who shared their insights on how mills can develop and implement sustainable sourcing systems and encourage engagement further up the supply chain.
The certification schemes, FSC and CFCC, explained how they are evolving to ensure transparency and traceability in global forest supply chains. And the event closed with practical sessions from the Carnstone team, who guided mills and printers to get the most from the online Book Chain Project database. Printers and mills had an opportunity to ask questions, share feedback, and offer ideas and improvements for the future.
Speakers’ slides: https://bookchainproject.com/event?event=5
IPE’s Companies environmental performance monitoring database: http://www.ipe.org.cn/IndustryRecord/Regulatory.aspx?keycode=343j9f9ri329293r3rixxx
China Water Risk website: http://chinawaterrisk.org/
An introduction to FSC certification scheme: https://v.qq.com/x/page/g0639hql3zp.html
The publishing initiative run by Carnstone, The Book Chain Project, held its second Asia Summit on 24th of April in Shenzhen, China. It was an opportunity for all the stakeholders in the paper and pulp industry to get together to discuss the latest developments in responsible fibre sourcing. Among the 70 delegates there were paper mills, printers, publishers, retailers, timber experts, and NGOs. The aim of the Summit was to discuss the latest developments on responsible forest sourcing and to share best practice. Further reading and speakers’ slides: https://bookchainproject.com/news
The Summit is going to take place on Tuesday 24th April 2018, which brings together organisations across the pulp, paper and publishing supply chain. The Summit will focus on learning about the latest developments in responsible forest sourcing, and an opportunity to share practical advice for paper makers on sourcing fibre responsibly. A wide range of attendees including paper mills from across Asia, participating publishers of Book Chain, NGO’s, representatives from certification schemes (FSC and CFCC) and technology providers will be invited. To register for the event, please sign up here.
Luxury fashion retailer Hugo Boss said it has found cases of forced labour, a form of modern slavery, in its supply chain. Young female workers have been held captive behind the walls of garment factories in southern India and prevented from leaving the premises at any time.
"Zero deforestation” champion creates new risks for Indonesia’s forests and carbon-rich peatlands with mega-scale pulp mill
A recent study released by 12 international and Indonesian NGOs reveal that Asia Pulp &Paper (APP) is building one of the world’s largest pulp mills without a sustainable wood supply in South Sumatra. This analysis indicates that the current planted area owned by APP is insufficient in supporting this new mill as well as the 2 existing mills. This report suggests that APP may fail to meet its ‘zero deforestation commitments’ made in 2013 which included ‘100% sustainable plantation wood for pulp’.
The Madison Paper Industries mill is closing in May, putting more than 200 employees out of work and adding to the decline of Maine’s paper industry. Madison Paper will be the fifth Maine mill to shut down in a little over two years, and its closure will leave just six mills operating in the state. Although some mills continue to operate profitably, the domestic paper industry has been grappling with the declining demand and cheaper imports, leading in recent years to mill closures, bankruptcies and layoffs.
Austrian timber company Schweighofer is linked to large-scale illegal logging which accounts for half of Romania's timber production. An EIA investigation finds that almost all the illegal timber ends up in the company's mills. Romania still has an estimated 218,000 hectares of old growth forests. A recent Romanian government study estimated that 80 million cubic meters of timber have been cut illegally in the past 20 years, representing a loss to the Romanian economy of over €5 billion. Following the report’s publication, WWF filed a complaint at the Federal Forest Office in Vienna for violations of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) and calls for a full investigation of the allegations against Schweighofer.
32 indigenous villagers in Cambodia’s north-eastern area, Stung Treng province, called on local forestry officials to crackdown on illegal saw mills and to provide them with protection after they received death threats from unsanctioned loggers of luxury timber. The 32 villagers are community activists, and they vowed to keep fighting illegal logging in their local area despite the threats. The environmental watchdog Global Witness said in a report in February that China’s voracious demand for luxury furniture is the driver behind the multimillion-dollar illegal trade in rosewood in Cambodia.
An independent study by The Forest Trust and Ata Marie have found that APP has sufficient plantation resources to supply a massive new mill being built in OKI, South Sumatra. The study did however uncover one minor gap in supply in 2020. Aida Greenbury, APP’s managing director of sustainability said “The TFT report forecasts a minor gap in supply in 2020. However it is clear that with a harvesting rotation of around five years, improvements made now can bridge that gap by increasing productivity of supplier plantations through improved yield, better tree stock and reduction of waste. As such, we have been developing an action plan to ensure we have sufficient plantation fibre to meet the pulp requirements of our existing mills as well as our future mill in South Sumatra, in line with our target to become a 100% plantation business for pulp production.
Recognising the severe impact illegal logging is having on tax revenue generation, the Lao government has launched a pilot program to track the source of timber from sawmills and wood-processing plants. Demand for the valuable hongmu (redwood) timber from neighbouring China is thought to be driving illegal logging in the country. The pilot program requires all logs in sawmills and wood-processing plants to be inspected before export and to lay a framework for documentation that they are derived from legal sources, according to the reports.
The American Forest and Paper Association has released its 2014 Sustainability Report, exhibiting the substantial and measureable progress that US pulp, paper, packaging and wood products have made towards achieving sustainability goals. The report outlines how paper mills self-generate most of their energy needs, and most of that energy is renewable and that the forest products industry is the second largest producer of combined heat and power electricity in the manufacturing sector.
Asia Pulp and Paper have signed an agreement to end natural forest logging. Suppliers of the Indonesian based company will be bound to log solely plantation timber and not use timber with high conservation value or from peat swamps. AP&P have received widespread lobbying from Greenpeace and WWF to change their timber sourcing policies. However, it is understood the company’s real fear was that paper mills in Japan were beginning to ask questions about responsibly sourced timber.
Almost 80% of logging in the state of Pará is illegal, but loggers and sawmills here have clever scams that give illegal timber a cover story. Greenpeace discovered that the DIY chain Jewson was selling decking made from ipe, a rare tree found in the Amazon. Jewson buys its ipe from International Timber, who admitted to buying the timber without any third-party check to verify the chain of custody. Greenpeace have asked the NMO to investigate Jewson and International Timber, as well as other companies importing and selling timber from the Brazilian Amazon.
Indonesian civil society groups have called on their government to reform its legal timber certification system, pointing to widespread illegal practices among certified companies and an auditing system that is “almost impossible” for companies to fail. The Anti Forest-Mafia Coalition, a group of Indonesian NGOs, has published a 63-page assessment of SVLK which finds that SVLK-certified companies had illegally cleared natural forests inside the habitats of protected species, in deep peat areas, and in forests zoned for conservation, and had intentionally started fires in some cases while in others their certificates were linked to officials sentenced for corrupt practices in issuing licences. The report also criticises SVLK’s failure to address human rights concerns such as land tenure issues and the fact that certified mills are not required to source timber exclusively from SVLK-certified timber concessions.
Following a long-running international campaign, government troops in Brazil have begun to evict illegal settlers from an area belonging to one of the world's most endangered tribal groups called the Awá. Six months ago Brazil’s military had launched a ground operation against illegal logging around the land of the Awá. The forces closed down at least eight saw mills and confiscated and destroyed other machinery, but they did not remove the loggers and ranchers from inside the Awá’s land.
A report from the UK- and US-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has said that up to 80% of the hardwood harvested in the Russian far east is logged illegally. The EIA say the demand for this material comes from Chinese sawmills and subsequently their western customers. The material that is of most concern is illegally logged Russian oak. US wood flooring retailer, Lumber Liquidators, was named in the report as being heavily reliant on Chinese suppliers who allegedly mainly sell illegally logged material. The EIA say the US and EU regulations on illegal logging are important pressure points where they now have the ability to intervene – before now, and without this pressure, illegal logging in Siberia has seen rapid expansion. Despite industry incentives from the Russian government, incredible demand from China has led to Chinese sawmills establishing just over the China-Russia border. EIA’s investigations suggest that most of these mills rely on a supply of illegally logged timber.