Otway Ranges Environment Network



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Nippon Paper Japan.
A hypocrite and bad Corporate Citizen?

Otway native forest is woodchipped at Midway and then exported to Nippon Paper, a large Japanese paper manufacturer. Nippon Paper is also involved in a blue-gum plantation joint venture with Midway and Mitsui.

Of concern is the conflict between a stated policy that commits Nippon paper to support and abide by government policies arising from democratic processes, and the the continued use of woodchips sourced from the Otways State Forest in Victoria, Australia.

Nippon Paper has recently been criticised by Greenpeace Japan and Tasmanian conservation groups for sourcing woodchips from Tasmanian old growth forest. Nippon Paper's hypocritical response is posted on their web site.

Essentially Nippon Paper argues that it is acceptable to take woodchips from Tasmanian forests due to:

  1. logging being conducted under the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement. Nippon argue this "agreement" was created under democratic processes and provides a legal framework that is supported by all levels of government that includes the Tasmanian State Government.

  2. Nippon paper argue that they have an Environmental Charter which aims to use only woodchips sourced from residual or waste wood from a certified forest which presumably refers to forest covered by a Regional Forest Agreement.

  3. Nippon paper went on to give a commitment to accept any democratic process that resolved the logging old growth issues in Tasmania, even if the result meant the company could not source woodchips from old growth. Until then, they would continue to take woodchips from old growth forest.

See response on Nippon Paper website

So if the above three points are a part of the Nippon Paper position when why does Nippon paper still buy woodchips sourced from the Otways given:

  1. both State government policies and local government policies oppose woodchipping in the Otways due to environmental considerations. The state government has abandoned the West Regional Forest Agreement which covers the Otways and has a policy to end woodchipping as soon as possible in the Otways. All these policies changes were announced during the last Victorian state election, a democratic process.

  2. Logging in the Otways is predominantly woodchip driven. Sawlogs are a byproduct of the woodchip industry.

  3. Nippon Paper cannot have it both ways with respect to the Otways and Tasmanian political situation. If Nippon Paper wants to show it is a good corporate citizen with integrity, it has a moral obligation to respect the democratic processes in Victoria as it has stated it would do so in Tasmania.

To have any credibility, Nippon Paper must immediately insist that Midway and Mitsui do not supply woodchips from the Otways.

Geelong's catchment at Callahans creek.
Nippon paper in Japan makes paper from woodchips sourced from Otway water supply catchments.


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