Mandy Haggith, firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 7734235704
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The Environmental Paper Network* (EPN) has published In the Red, an assessment of bank policies for financing pulp and paper companies. This assessment reveals that the banks most deeply involved in the pulp and paper sector do not have policies that are fit for purpose to avoid financing projects and companies that cause environmental and social harm.
The assessment studied how ready the financial sector is to manage the environmental and social risks of financial involvement with the pulp and paper industry. It is a benchmark assessment carried out by a team of researchers from several countries, which evaluates the pulp and paper policies of 42 private banks against the requirements set out in 2016 in Green Paper, Red Lines.
The Red Lines are environmental and social criteria, which articulate minimum requirements that pulp and paper companies must meet before investment in them is considered. Unless pulp and paper mills and their financiers fulfil these requirements, they are highly likely to cause unacceptable social and environmental harm and become the target of campaigns by civil society organisations. Member organisations of EPN therefore expect financiers to stay clear if their client pulp and paper companies are unable to meet the minimum requirements.
Mandy Haggith, co-ordinator of the Environmental Paper Network’s pulp finance working group, said: “The results of our assessment reveal that bank policies are extremely disappointing. Unfortunately none of the banks we assessed manages to thoroughly protect itself from clients breaching the Red Lines. Indeed for most of the Red Lines, the vast bulk of banks are at best only partly protected. We can only conclude that the banking sector does not have policies that are fit for purpose to avoid irresponsible investment in damaging pulp and paper projects and companies. We urge all banks to review their policies for involvement in this sector.”
* EPN is a global network of more than 140 non-governmental organisations, focussing on pulp and paper sustainability issues, all of which endorse the Global Paper Vision.