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Forest and Paper Associations of the World Assess Industry Sustainability 10 Years After Rio
International industry group spans 39 countries across North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania

JOHANNESBURG, 26 August 2002 - The International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA), representing the global forest and paper industry, is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to working with other stakeholders to ensure the environmental, social and economic benefits of our natural resources are available to current and future generations.

The forest and paper industries the ICFPA represents strive for high sustainability standards around the world and are committed to using management and manufacturing practices that meet stringent environmental, social and economic development objectives.

For more information on these challenges, consult the ICFPA publication entitled Sustainability at

The industry continues to make major contributions to sustainable development: support for thousands of communities as a supplier of millions of jobs worldwide, use of renewable raw material, record of sustainable forest management and application of cleaner technologies in an increasing number of mill operations, strong reliance on biofuels, high energy efficiency, high recycling rate and the storage of carbon in its wood and paper products.

The ICFPA has taken a leadership position to achieve global sustainable forest management by endorsing an international mutual recognition framework of credible forest certification systems. Earlier this year, the ICFPA adopted a common position against illegal logging, recognizing that forest law enforcement requires country-specific approaches.

The association leaders call for continued action to address the 1992 Rio Agreements from the perspective of the forest and paper industry, including the need for:

  • Increased development, use and education of environmental science and environmentally sound technologies;
  • Balance between conservation and sustainable production of goods to meet demand for sustainable products and the economic and social needs of thousands of communities globally;
  • More open international economic systems that facilitate sustainable trade in forest products;
  • Recognition of the vast potential of forests as a renewable natural resource that can be sustainably managed and is compatible with environmental conservation.

The world’s forest and paper industry is steadily taking steps towards sustainable development.

Climate Change Initiatives

The forest and paper industry is strongly committed to meeting the climate change challenge and has a strong basis for doing so. Trees, wood and paper products are renewable and recyclable resources that help reduce greenhouse gases by removing and storing CO2 from the atmosphere.

Additionally, the industry is committed to innovative energy solutions that will increase efficiency, reduce reliance on fossil fuels and
expand the use of renewable energy sources.

Social Contributions

The forest and paper industries of the world are proud of their ongoing social contributions to the goal of sustainable development. In many parts of the world the industry helps to alleviate poverty in thousands of communities through the jobs and local economic development it provides. Forest and paper companies build and maintain hospitals, sanitation structures, roads
and educational services in forest communities around the world.

Improving Environmental Performance

Through focused research, educational partnerships and investments in environmentally sound technologies and training for employees which minimizes overall resource use, the forest and paper industries of the world are continually improving environmental performance. Many companies have adopted environmental improvement systems such as forest management
standards and independent third-party certification systems, as well as environmental management systems or health and safety programs.

Free and Efficient Markets

The ICFPA supports the Agenda 21 statement that "an open, equitable, secure, non-discriminatory and predictable multilateral trading system that is consistent with the goals of sustainable development and leads to the optimal distribution of global production in accordance with comparative advantage is of benefit to all trading partners."

The ICFPA will hold a press and informational briefing to highlight what the world's forest and paper industries are doing to address sustainability issues on Thursday, 29 August, 3:00 - 5:00 p.m., at the Hilton Sandton Hotel (Ballroom 3), 138 Rivonia Road, Sandton, South Africa. If you would like to attend, or need additional information, please contact Anne Divjak (tel. 083 296 2312) or John Mechem (tel. 083 296 2315) after August 25 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The ICFPA is a confederation of associations representing the forest and paper industries around the world. The ICFPA Secretariat is the American Forest & Paper Association, Washington, DC. E-mail address:

A list of ICFPA members is availbale on the ICFPA website