HELINSKI / AMSTERDAM -- March 22 -- Today, Greenpeace and Sámi campaigners will challenge Finland's largest paper company to defend the reindeer forests of Arctic Lapland and Sámi reindeer herders whose livelihood depends on them. A new report, along with a shareholder resolution, will be presented to StoraEnso's Annual General Meeting (AGM) of investors being held in Helsinki this afternoon (1).
Stora Enso is listed on the Helsinki, Stockholm and New York stock exchanges. The company is the largest single customer of the Finnish state-owned company Metsähallitus, buying about 40% of its timber output each year. The shareholder resolution requests that the Stora Enso purchase of timber from Metsähallitus 'shall not be procured from specific restricted forest areas in the Lapp peoples' [Sámi] native locality in Inari that are considered especially valuable for reindeer herding as reindeer grazing forest areas.' (2)
The resolution will be presented by Pauliina Feodoroff and Janne Saijets, both Sámi from Inari, northern Finland. "Reindeer herding is the basis of traditional Sámi culture," said Janne Saijets. "The Finnish State has ignored the rights of Sámi people for decades by continuing to prioritise logging over reindeer herding. Our reindeer forests have been sold out for pulp production. Enough is enough!"
On 2 March, Greenpeace established a Forest Rescue Station in one of the threatened reindeer forest areas to highlight the role of Metsähallitus and those paper companies that have been buying paper from the area. Greenpeace campaigners have been busy contacting customers around the world asking for their help to convince Stora Enso to stop buying from forest areas important for reindeer herding.
The Xerox Corporation (USA), a major international customer of Stora Enso, informed Greenpeace recently that their copy paper products would no longer contain fibres from the Sámi reindeer forests. In a letter dated 11 March, Jack Azar, Vice-President of Environment, Health & Safety said: "In the past, the ... [Stora Enso] Berghuizer mill has used a small amount of pulp containing fibre from Upper Lapland in Xerox products. Going forward, Xerox products produced in the Berghuizer mill will not contain any fiber from Upper Lapland." (3)
"Stora Enso has become under increasing pressure to finally end its role in supporting this conflict in the Sámi homeland," said Phil Aikman, Greenpeace International campaigner. "It time for the company to listen to their customers, and defend the reindeer forests rather than turning them into pulp."
Matti Liimatainen, Greenpeace Nordic (Helsinki) + 358 400 346 329
Mikael Sjövall, Greenpeace Nordic (Helsinki) + 358 50 3696 202
Gina Sanchez, Greenpeace International (Amsterdam) + 31 627 0000 64
Phil Aikman, Greenpeace International (Lapland) + 358 408792472
Notes to editor:
1. Greenpeace report - Pulp Friction: How Stora Enso is pulping reindeer forests.
2. Shareholder resolution (English, Finnish, Swedish):
3. Copy of the Xerox letter to Greenpeace (in English): weblog.greenpeace.org/forestrescue/docs/xerox_letter.pdf