Red Lines for Pulp Mill Finance

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The Environmental Paper Network* (EPN), and BankTrack** today published a short document, Green Paper, Red Lines,  setting out minimum requirements for the pulp and paper industry to avoid harming people and the environment. This document urges banks and investors who consider financially supporting pulp and paper companies to thoroughly check whether these companies are on the right side of these ‘red lines’.

The ‘red lines’, listed in the document, are the absolute minimum requirements for pulp and paper mills, and cover regulatory, social, environmental and corporate issues. Unless pulp and paper mills fulfil these requirements, they are likely to cause unacceptable social and environmental harm.

The standards are absolute minimum requirements. Companies that achieve these standards are not automatically deemed to be operating in a sustainable manner. However, if companies, and financiers providing support to them, cross these red lines, they are highly likely to be the target of campaigns by civil society organisations.

EPN and BankTrack therefore expect financiers to stay clear if their client pulp and paper companies are unable to meet the minimum requirements.

Mandy Haggith, co-ordinator of the Environmental Paper Network’s pulp finance working group, said: “We want banks and other investors to be our allies in helping to transform the pulp and paper industry towards our Global Paper Vision, by focusing finance only where the industry is sustainable. We hope these red lines will be used by banks to avoid projects and companies with a high level of reputational risk due to their negative environmental and social impacts.”

Karen Vermeer, forest and Equator Principles campaigner at BankTrack, said: “We will use the red lines of this document to check the forest policies of private sector banks, and push for more sustainable policies where necessary.”

* EPN is a network of more than 140 non-governmental organisations globally, focussing on pulp and paper sustainability issues across the global supply chain and paper’s life cycle.

** BankTrack is the international tracking, campaigning and NGO support organisation focused on private sector commercial banks and the activities they finance.

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