Photo: Erkki Oksanen.
Photo: Erkki Oksanen.

25 April 2016

Point of view from Finland: Science-based greenwashing.

By Hannes Mäntyranta.
An article on forest carbon sinks in Science was immediately taken into marketing use by the hygiene paper producer Fourstones. According to the article, European forestry accelerates global warming.

Fourstones, a British producer of hygiene papers writes on its website about an observation made by ”researchers” and quoted by various sources that ”trees grown since 1750 have actually increased global warming.” On the basis of this observation, the company announces that timber should not be used to produce paper – despite actually being in that business itself. Instead of several sources, Fourstones only refers to one as the source for its information: the article published in Science. However, Fourstones does not quote the article directly, but provides a link to a story (visited 22.4.2016) by the BBC. What is true is that there really are several researchers: the article is co-authored by seven people. The basic idea of the article is quoted correctly by Fourstones. The authors present that, in 1750, European forests were mainly quite dense and consisted of broadleaved species; these forests were subsequently felled due to several reasons, and the afforestation started in the 19th century mostly relied on coniferous species. This development is assumed to have accelerated global warming because, compared to coniferous trees, deciduous trees reflect more of the sun’s radiation back into the space. On the basis of this, Fourstones concludes that trees should not be used to produce paper at all. The company itself uses recycled fibre, and claims without any hesitation that no timber is needed in wood fibre recycling: “No more trees harmed at all, even the cardboard cores we use in our paper disposables are made of recycled material. Once again, no more trees were harmed!”
For more information contact Mr Hannes Mäntyranta:

FINNISH FOREST Industries Federation
Snellmaninkatu 13
FI-00171 HELSINKI / Finland
Tel +358 (0) 9 1326600