News

European Ecolabel products linked to rainforest destruction activities

PRESS RELEASE

[Brussels, 9th April 2010]The EEB [1] is angered by revelations that illegally harvested wood is likely to be in paper awarded with the European Ecolabel, according to a report released today by FERN [2]. The European Ecolabel is meant to award products of environmental excellence but the EEB has long warned that weaknesses in requirements for forest products could lead to such a situation.

 

The report revealed that operations by Indonesian paper producers Pindo Deli have had devastating impacts on Sumatran rainforests, causing deforestation, threatening endangered species such as the orang-utan and harming the rights of indigenous peoples.

 

Pindo Deli provides two different paper products with the French EU Ecolabel license AFNOR and is part of the controversial Asian Pulp and Paper (APP) company that has been highly criticised by NGOs and the forest certification scheme, the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC).

 

Lukas Hammer, Ecolabel Coordinator at the EEB said: “Unfortunately, this comes as little surprise. We have been warning that stricter requirements on the origin of forest-related products were needed to avoid having wood from highly controversial sources in Ecolabelled products.”

 

To get a European Ecolabel license, companies must prove they have obeyed a set of ecological criteria established by the EU, which should guarantee that only the most ecological products on the market are awarded with the Ecolabel.

 

EEB has long called for fully certified products, with high percentages of wood from sustainable sources and stricter requirements for certification bodies to be involved in such criteria, but this has largely been ignored. The revision of the criteria will be under discussion Tuesday next week – the fourth meeting of its kind - between the European Commission, Member States and stakeholders.


Contacts:

Lukas Hammer, Ecolabel Coordinator, lukas.hammer@eeb.org, +32 (0) 2 289 1303

Simon Nazer, Press officer, press@eeb.org, +32 (0) 2 289 1309

Notes for Editors:

[1] The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is the largest federation of environmental NGOs in Europe.
EEB officially represents environmental NGOs in the EU Ecolabel Board and participates in the technical working groups where ecological criteria for products are discussed. See www.eeb.org for more details.
EEB’s intervention intends to strengthen the participation of environmental NGOs throughout the process, from proposing product groups; to the development and later revision of ecological criteria; and the long-term direction of Europe’s Ecolabel policy.

[2] Fern report: “EU Ecolabel allows forest destruction – the case of Pindo Deli” is available on www.fern.org.