Greenpeace press release 12.3.2007
Stora Enso guilty of destroying ancient forests in Finland
Greenpeace activists from Finland and Sweden today blocked the headquarters of Finnish-Swedish forest industry giant Stora Enso in Helsinki, Finland, as a protest against the company´s role in ongoing logging in ancient forests in Finland. The activists started the protest early in the morning by hanging a banner on the facade of the company's headquarters and occupying the vestibule of the building.
Stora Enso is the biggest customer of governmental forestry enterprise Metsähallitus, which is logging ancient forests in Northern Finland. Most of the logging is done for Stora Enso. The company is using wood from old-growth forests to produce pulp and paper products such as magazine and copy papers for European market.
240 Finnish scientists working e.g. in research institutes, universities and governmental research centres have recently appealed to stop logging in natural forests because the logging is not ecologically sustainable. According to the scientists, the logging is in conflict with the international agreements that Finland has signed to protect biodiversity.
Instead of recognizing its role in the diminishing of biodiversity through its wood purchasing, and telling its wood supplier to stop destruction of ancient forests, Stora Enso has decided to continue buying wood from disputed areas.
- We demand that Stora Enso starts acting responsibly and cancels those wood purchases from governmental forestry enterprise Metsähallitus that originate from ancient forest destruction, says Greenpeace forest campaigner Matti Liimatainen.
Stora Enso is delivering inaccurate information about logging in ancient forests to its customers and to the public. The company claims that the ecological values in Northern Finland are safeguarded and that no species are being threatened by the logging. Nevertheless, according to the scientists, the current and planned loggings in the ancient forests are not ecologically sustainable. Logging causes irreversible change of habitat, and destroys an important part of our national heritage as well as genetic and species diversity, the researchers say in their appeal.
Metsähallitus started logging in large unprotected ancient forests in Northern Finland in last November. Wood has been transported to Stora Enso´s pulp mill in Kemijärvi and Veitsiluoto paper mill in Kemi.
Globally already 80 % of ancient forests have been destroyed. In Finland the situation is even worse, because only under 5 % of the forests in Finland remain as old-growth forests in natural state.
Stora Enso´s involvement in ongoing ancient forest destruction will be discussed in company´s Annual General Meeting of shareholders in Helsinki on 29th March.
For more information, please contact:
Forest campaigner Matti Liimatainen, Greenpeace, +358 400 346 329 matti.liimatainen[at]nordic.greenpeace.org