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Politician Calls for paper industry re-think

A leading politician has backed calls for the EU’s paper industry to re-evaluate the way it operates.

South-east England Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas has called for the industry to stop using ‘virgin’ wood in favour of better recycling, to cut its power usage and to consider the social impact of its business on the rest of the world.

Lucas said: “The UK paper industry alone uses some three percent of the country’s total energy consumption, producing more than six million tonnes of paper and board each year.

“I want to see a future in which we consume less paper, with all that paper being produced by an industry that maximises its use of recycled materials and respects local people’s land, social and employment rights.”

She added her weight to a Common Vision for Transforming the European Paper Industry, which has been published by 50 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in 21 countries.

Lucas said paper had played an enormous role in the world’s cultural and economic development, but at the price of ongoing environmental and social damage.

“The report calls for our paper to be made from responsibly and sustainably-sourced fibres, using entirely renewable energy, producing zero waste and zero emissions. Europeans use four times more paper than the world average and currently import a huge amount of pulp and paper from endangered forests around the world. It is high time we acted responsibly and reined in the worst excesses of a particularly damaging industry”, Lucas added.

The vision has already been signed by NGOs including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund who call for the EU, Government, paper industry and consumers to take urgent steps to reduce paper consumption and ensure social responsibility and clean production.

As a member of the European Parliament’s influential Environment Committee, Lucas said she would be pressing the EU to deliver binding policies and targets to turn the vision into reality.

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