Pulp and Paper
- 28 million hectare expansion of pulp and paper plantations planned by Indonesia’s government for 2030
- 50 percent of remaining orangutan habitat could be lost if these plans go ahead
- 5 percent of production forests are plantations, yet these contribute 50 percent of all raw forest materials
- 500 percent increase in exports of pulp and paper from Latin America over the past decade
- 43 percent of the global pulp market came from just one species, eucalyptus, in 2005
- 65 percent of Time Magazine’s carbon emissions are from pulp and paper mills
Pulp and paper have close links with palm oil, with many companies in Southeast Asia involved in the production of both. It will not be surprising to find out that – like palm oil – the production of pulp and paper also brings with it environmental side effects.
Although just 2% of pulp and paper sold worldwide originates in old-growth forests, including those in Indonesia, Canada and the USA, in these places it is a significant driver of deforestation. In Indonesia, a plantation system was established by the government to reduce the pressure on natural forests. Instead this has ended up fuelling a rapidly growing pulp and paper industry. Despite identifying the pulp sector as one of the biggest threats to forests, the Indonesian government plans to expand production by 28 million hectares by 2030. With other commodities, including palm oil, this will include 50% of remaining orangutan habitat, and 40% of Indonesia’s forests.
The threat to Indonesia’s tropical forests comes from a small number of large companies, with just six accounting for over 90% of the country’s wood pulp capacity. Despite concerted NGO campaigns, they are slow to change their practices.
- A common vision for transforming the European Paper Industry
- Boucher et al. (2011) The Root of the Problem: What’s Driving Tropical Deforestation Today? Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative Union of Concerned Scientists
- Greenpeace (2010) How Sinar Mas is pulping the planet
- Greenpeace (2010) Protection Money
- International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) (1996) Towards a Sustainable Paper Cycle: An Independent Study on the Sustainability of the Pulp and Paper Industry, report prepared for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development
- World Resources Institute (1999) No end to paperwork
- World Resources Institute (2010) Risk Free? Paper and the Lacey Act