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Greenies reject Australian Paper sustainable initiative

Tuesday, 28 June 2011
By Print 21 Online Article

Only complete withdrawal from native forests will satisfy the Wilderness Society in its ongoing boycott of Reflex paper.

Sustainable solutions for fibre sourcing, which have been tabled as part of Australian Paper’s review of its long-term strategy, drew a predictable response from environmental groups. Despite a new stakeholder engagement program to examine a long-term approach to AP’s wood resource strategy, Peter Cooper, senior campaigner for The Wilderness Society says it does not “have any value unless it includes a commitment to rapidly exit native forests.”

Jim Henneberry, CEO of Australian Paper says its fibre is currently sourced from privately owned plantations, recycled sources and the Victorian Government through VicForests.
“Our wood supplies from the Victorian Government are sourced using sustainable, third party certified, forestry practises. We are committed to ensuring our future fibre supplies come from internationally recognised, third party certified sources,”

Australian Paper has engaged with consultants in regards to the feasibility of the western triangle plantation wood, the largest impediment of this is the 500km distance from its Maryvale Mill, which makes the wood less economically viable. Plans for plantations around Gippsland have been reviewed, but it would most likely need assistance from the State and Federal Government to ensure this can happen.

The Wilderness Society vows to continue encouraging consumers to avoid the leading Reflex brand until it sees a firm public commitment from Australian Paper to embrace what it calls “real sustainability. “
“Over 750 organisations and businesses to date have signed the Ethical Paper Petition to put the pressure on Reflex. Over 9,500 individuals have pledged to stop shopping at Office Works until it stop stocking Reflex paper. We are asking Office Works to honour their own green policy, and show that there is substance behind that policy,” said Cooper.

Shaun Scallan, general manager of corporate social responsibility at Australian Paper says meetings with the Wilderness Society and Australian Conservation Foundation have been “cordial, but there was certainly a bottom line for all use of native forests to cease. Our position has always been that we want more native plantation in the ground.

“We would like to continue dialogue with the Wilderness Society and other environmental groups in a constructive way, as we respect their view and welcome their input. But to move forward we have to sit down and talk to define the future of the industry balancing the needs of all stakeholders.
“Essentially we have always planned to extend our plantations, but factors like the drought and fires have impacted the available supply of wood. And it takes around 10 to 12 years for hardwood to grow to be used for our needs.”

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