Governments and EU Parliament enter final talks on new EU deforestation law
*** Images of the protest are available here
Lübeck, Germany, 4 November 2022 – Activists from across Europe are confronting a pulp and paper container ship in the port of Lübeck and calling for the protection of Europe’s last-remaining forests. The protest takes place as representatives of EU governments and the European Parliament are in the final stages of negotiations on a new EU law against deforestation.
The 33 activists from seven European countries, volunteering with Greenpeace Germany, prevented the Thuleland from fully unloading its cargo of paper rolls. They hoisted a 18 x 3.5 metre banner at the stern of the ship, which has regularly carried paper products from Finland and Sweden, reading: “European ministers, protect our forests”. Pulp and paper from Finland and Sweden is often linked to the clearing of ecologically valuable forests.
Greenpeace is calling on EU governments to back the European Parliament in requiring companies selling products like paper and cardboard to know exactly where the wood that was used comes from, and to prove that nature was not destroyed in the supply chain.
Greenpeace Finland forest expert Matti Liimatainen said: “Unfortunately, large areas of European forest are still being clearcut and managed unsustainably, especially in Finland and Sweden. The wood is then processed into paper and pulp, which is also used in Germany to produce short-lived, disposable products like cardboard packaging.“
The next round of negotiations on a new EU anti-deforestation law will take place on 9 November. The Parliament wants to exclude products directly linked to the degradation of EU forests from the EU market, but EU governments have rallied behind the governments of Finland and Sweden in opposing the move and supporting the interests of the EU forestry sector.
Disposable cardboard packaging linked to clearcut Nordic forests
An analysis of the supply chains of Finnish forestry company Metsä Group by Greenpeace Finland indicates an ongoing threat for Finnish old-growth forests. Ultimately, wood from these forests, which now account for less than three percent of the forest area in the EU, risks ending up as packaging on EU supermarket shelves or as parcels at the post office.
Metsä Group is planning to expand its pulp mill in Kemi, in northern Finland, which would increase the pressure on the country’s forests and threaten old-growth forests in the north of Finland and Sweden.
Intensive logging and reduced forest growth has already weakened the role of Finland’s forests as important barriers against climate breakdown. Due to heavy forest logging, the Finnish forest and land sector became a source of emissions in 2021 and no longer acted as a carbon sink. In Sweden, high logging rates and poor forest growth also decreased the country’s net storage of carbon dioxide from 30 million tonnes to 25 million tonnes.
For pictures of the protest contact: +49 151 21497430 or download here: https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MDHUFQGCBU
For video material contact: +49 171 8334882 or download here: https://greenpeace.box.com/s/rye2uxburml8dp9mc0a1shrhqsfseki1
Matti Liimatainen, forest expert at Greenpeace Finland: +358 400 346329, [email protected]
Gesche Jürgens, forest expert at Greenpeace Germany: +49 171 8787833, [email protected]
Miryam Nadkarni, communication lead at Greenpeace Germany: +49 160 3319793, [email protected]
For breaking news and comment on EU affairs: www.twitter.com/GreenpeaceEU
Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning network that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. We do not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties. Greenpeace has over three million supporters, and 26 independent national and regional organisations with offices in more than 55 countries.
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