A Common Vision for Transforming the Paper Industry: Striving for Environmental and Social Sustainability

Issue Brief
November 19, 2002

Pulp and paper production, consumption and wasting have many negative environmental and social impacts. The pulp and paper industry is among the world’s largest generators of air and water pollutants, waste products, and the gases that cause climate change. It is also one of the largest users of raw materials, including fresh water, energy, and forest fibers. Forests that are essential for clean air and water, wildlife habitat, climate protection, spirituality, recreation and indigenous peoples’ cultural survival—including old-growth and other ecologically important forests—are being logged for fiber; in many places they also are being cleared for replacement by plantations that have reduced ecological value and employ toxic chemical herbicides and fertilizers.

This document, drafted by the Center for a New American Dream, Conservatree, Co-op America, Dogwood Alliance, Environmental Defense, ForestEthics, the Green Press Initiative, the Markets Initiative, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Recycled Products Purchasing Cooperative, calls upon the paper industry to adopt the ‘Precautionary Principle’ with regard to the use of natural resources and chemicals throughout the production process and to refrain from activities that could potentially cause irreparable harm to human health and the environment.