Press Release – Western Green groups undermining economic recovery, raising costs

Pro-development group says campaigners want more ‘green tape’ that will squeeze margins and kill growth

HONG KONG – Pro-development NGO World Growth has delivered a stinging rebuke of policies backed by environmental organisations such as WWF and Greenpeace that want to impose higher costs on pulp producers and forest operators at a time when the global economy is weak and commodity markets are fragile.

World Growth Chairman Ambassador Alan Oxley says that campaigns by Green NGOs aimed at having companies adopt certification standards they endorse, threaten to raise costs when pulp and timber markets are struggling.

Ambassador Oxley made the following remarks at a pulp and paper industry event in Hong Kong today while launching a new report on the impact of Western policies on forestry in developing countries.

“Pulp and timber producers are struggling with a slump in prices. Margins are being squeezed for pulp and timber producers. Paper producers are faced with flat demand that may spread from the US and EU to emerging markets.”

“The response of Greenpeace and WWF to this economic storm is to impose higher costs on businesses in the forest, pulp and paper sector.”

“They are calling on businesses to effectively pay for their overly-expensive sustainability endorsement known as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.”

“Very few exporters in key exporting markets can afford to pay for Greenpeace’s seal of approval.  Smallholder foresters are even less able to afford FSC certification.”

“These measures will adversely affect forest industries in developing countries.”

“FSC’s supporters claim that it is the ‘gold standard’ for forest certification and that it supports sustainable development.”

“However, our new report shows that FSC is riddled with governance flaws and lacks transparency. It has a bias against commodity producers, particularly in emerging markets.”

“Analysis has shown that imposing these types of measures on exporting nations will have a significant economic impact, including a drop in value-added of almost 9 per cent and a drop in employment in the forestry sector of around 12 per cent.”

“This is no way to inspire an economic recovery.”

Read the new World Growth report here: http://worldgrowth.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/WG_FSC_SEP12.pdf

Read the annexes to the report here: http://worldgrowth.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/FSC_Annexes.pdf

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