Label trouble

Published: Monday 30 September 1996

paper manufacturers in Europe, the us and other industrialised countries are up in arms against a proposed European Union ( eu ) plan to adopt eco-labelling for paper. The eu scheme, which is to come into effect soon, entails paper manufacturers to affix an eco-label on their products not only to show that their production standards were environment-friendly but also to provide confirmation that they used wood-fibre only from ecologically managed forests.

Though the scheme is voluntary, the paper industry believes that it could soon become mandatory and could jeopardise smallscale paper production. A representative of the Confederation of European Paper Industries remarked that there was "widespread unease about the value of the label". The American Forest and Paper Association ( afpa ) also voiced its apprehensions, stating that "most us suppliers will not qualify for the labels without spending a lot of money". Protests have also come from Brazil, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. afpa plans to move the World Trade Organization on the grounds that the proposal will affect us market access to eu countries.

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