Millions of people are wiping their bums with toilet paper made from old-growth forest in the north of Sweden in which lynx, wolves and reindeer live. The stripped forest is replanted with fast-growing lodgepole pine in which reindeer can’t live because it is too dense. It is also non-native to the region.
It is astonishing to me that humans have to make toilet paper from old forests. Why? Why is it being allowed by the Swedish government? Clearly once again money trumps ethics and conservation. It always will. It is just the human way and it won’t stop until there are no forests and no wildlife.
The toilet paper is made in a UK mill in Northumberland. The product is Velvet toilet paper. They receive wood pulp from these Swedish old-growth forests. The business is owned by a Swedish company, Essity. It is the second largest toilet paper producer. You’ll find that large Asian businesses chop down ancient forests in Asia, specifically Borneo, for the same reason: toilet paper.
The area being deforested is used by the Sami indigenous people for winter grazing of reindeer. It is an important habitat for lynx. The lynx is in the same family of wild cat species as the better known American bobcat. They have a very similar appearance.
Greenpeace studied logging plans submitted to the Swedish Forest Agency by Essity’s suppliers and found that the area allocated for logging covered 120 square miles of old-growth forest. It is designated as having a “particularly high ecological preservation value”. All the more reason to protect it.
Sweden’s Environmental Protection Agency assessed the deforestation as part of proposals to protect the forest. I hope they stop it.
‘Velvet’ (toilet paper) is marketed as an environmentally sustainable company. It has a ‘three tree promise’ meaning that it plants three trees for each cut down. Unfortunately this is highly misleading because the replacement trees are unsuitable and the trees chopped down are old forest. This is precious forest that can’t be substituted with fast growing pine.
Essity say that their products are “derived through responsible forest management”. This must be considered misleading in light of this exposé uncovered by Greenpeace.
Source: Times Newspaper and myself as at date of this post.
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