Russian paper mill phases out ancient forest wood

A major paper producer in Russia, Svetogorsk pulp and paper mill has announced it will phase out the use of ancient forest wood in its production entirely. Svetogorsk's announcement is the first of its kind in the world.

The Svetogorsk mill, which is located in the Leningrad region on the Finnish-Russian border will introduce a major provision in its policy which will ensure that no wood from ancient forests is processed. “People are only now starting to understand the importance of ancient forests to the biodiversity,” said Reino Kotti, the Deputy Chief of Svetogorsk pulp mill’s department of Forestry. “In our opinion it is important also for industry to respect the needs of the environment.”

Key to the Svetogorsk announcement was the geographical information provided by Greenpeace. “Our commitment to ancient forest free production would have been impossible without the information provided by Greenpeace,” said Reino Kotti. “Now we are able to show to our suppliers exactly which areas should be protected.”

Greenpeace used satellite technology and on-the-ground verification to produce detailed maps showing forest areas down to 20,000 hectares in size. “Our maps give companies and governments unique information that can be used to protect these forests,” s aid Alexey Yaroshenko, Greenpeace Russia Forest campaigner. “We will provide this information to companies using wood products in Russia and in Europe so that they can demand ancient forest free products from their suppliers. We have already sent copies t o companies in Sweden, Austria, Germany, UK and The Netherlands.”

“The information provided by our GIS mapping project is startling.” said Christoph Thies. “At a glance anyone can see that ancient forests in western Russia are getting smaller and more fragmented every day.”

“80 per cent of the large ancient forest areas are already gone and most of the remaining areas could be gone in our life time,” said Greenpeace International Forest campaign coordinator Christoph Thies. “The decision of the Svetogorsk mill shows that it is possible to protect these forests and continue industrial production.”

There are still more ancient forests left in Russia than in any other country in the world. Ancient forests in the European part of Russia are especially threatened by fragmentation caused by industrial logging. The Svetogorsk pulp and paper mill is ow ned by the Swedish company, Tetra Laval, and produces 180,000 tonnes of printing paper per year. 70 per cent of the production is exported to Europe and Americas.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie