Russia has more forest than any other country on earth, so it is important that there is vigilance to ensure that unsustainable pulp and paper developments do not put the taiga at risk. We are therefore delighted to welcome another Russian NGO into our network: Aetas, which campaigns for forest protection in Archangelsk in Northern Russia.
At the end of last year, one of the most controversial pulp and paper mills in the world finally closed. The mill at Baikalsk had for decades been pouring chlorine-based contaminents into Lake Baikal, the world’s biggest body of freshwater, and a unique and precious ecosystem, as well as sourcing timber from high conservation value Siberian forests. Baikal Environmental Wave, the Irkutsk-based NGO, can take considerable credit for campaigning for closure of the mill for many years.
Unfortunately as one misguided pulp mill closes, another Siberian mill is causing grave concerns. A pulp mill planned in Lesosibirsk by Angara Paper, in partnership with Japanese company Marubeni, has been highlighted as a major risk to Siberian forests. At the EEPN’s meeting in January on pulp mill finance, participants agreed that potential investors must carry out due diligence to ensure that the Angara Mill has sustainable, legal and conflict-free supplies of timber, before providing financial support to the project. Last year, Södra, which had been involved in the project, pulled out.