The Sister Network Across the Pond
By: Mandy Haggith, European EPN
Its an honor to begin work again the Coordinator of the European Environmental Paper Network (EEPN), the sister network to the EPN. I was the Coordinator from 2005-9 and it's great to be back!
In 2005, inspired by the EPN's vision, a coalition of NGOs formed to write a European version of the Common Vision for Transforming the Pulp and Paper Industry. We launched our Common Vision at Paper World in Frankfurt in early 2006 and the European paper industry was clearly interested to see such a concerted effort by civil society pushing for sustainability and social responsibility.
There are now 55 non-governmental organisations signed up to the European Common Vision and the network has gone from strength to strength. We have a steering group of six hard-working members from around Europe, and we maintain close links with the EPN in North America, sharing tools where we can and keeping each other informed of urgent issues.
Like the North American Vision, ours has several pillars. First is the vision that paper consumption should be halved across Europe, based on the environmental footprint analysis that shows if everyone in the world used as many natural resources as Europeans we would need two planets. Therefore, to avoid using more than our fair share of the world's forest, water and air resources, we need to cut paper use by 50%. We have worked hard with companies and governments, in a project called Shrink: Addressing the Madness of Over-consumption of Paper, seeking commitments to use less paper and we will continue to pursue this important part of the Vision.
The European Vision has an additional pillar, which calls for social responsibility and we take very seriously ethical issues such as respect for the human rights of people affected by the pulp and paper industry.
In some places negative social impacts are intrinsically linked to forest destruction. Responding to calls from our NGO colleagues in Indonesia, the European Network is very actively working together to chase out of Europe any paper products connected with Indonesian forest destruction and human rights abuses. This campaign particularly targets Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) - see .
The EEPN is meeting next at the end of April 2012 to review our priorities, and we're looking forward to an exciting future working together to push the European limb of the global paper industry towards sustainability.