Paper mills slow to go for EMAS instead of eco-label

Calls by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) for its members to demonstrate their commitment to environmental protection by securing registration to the EMAS standard rather than applying for the EC eco-label have largely fallen on deaf ears. Only 5% of paper and pulp mills have been registered since 1995.

Along with national member associations such as the Paper Federation of Great Britain, CEPI withdrew from discussions with the European Commission on EC eco-label criteria for paper products in 1995.

Since the eco-labelling scheme's launch three years earlier, CEPI had argued that the way to improve the industry's environmental performance was for pulp and paper mills to achieve registration to EMAS. Registration is open to any company, regardless of the environmental impact of its processes and products, whereas only some firms' products qualify for the eco-label (ENDS Report 243, p 33 ).

EMAS came into force in April 1995. Three years later, the number of pulp and paper mills to achieve registration has reached 63 - only 5% of all mills in the EC.

Just over half of the registered mills are in Germany. Of the 101 mills in the UK, just two - both owned by Curtis Fine Papers - are registered.

CEPI remains optimistic that the picture will improve. "There is great interest in EMAS in the industry, but certification is time-consuming," Director-General Marie Arwidson assured ENDS. "Lots of certifications are in the pipeline," she said.

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