Dan Shapley / News Editor
One of the world's largest paper products companies is teaming up with the owner of Russia's largest paper mills, the companies announced today.
The $650 million deal between International Paper and Ilim Holdings S.A. to form Ilim Group was just announced, and the companies' emphasis was on upgrading facilities, increasing production, developing new products -- and, of course, increasing profits for investors.
There was little said about improving environmental performance -- either in terms of pollution at mills or in employing sustainable forestry practices in one of the world's most important forests, the Siberian boreal, or taiga.
Larger than the Amazon, the boreal forest is a ring of virtually untouched greenery around the northern latitudes of Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia and -- the largest portion -- Russia's Siberia. It is the largest eco-region in the world, critical for carbon sequestration, migratory bird habitat and the health of significant biodiversity. NRDC
International Paper has made strides to improve its environmental reputation, including participating in the largest land conservation deal in New York's Adirondack Mountains in recent years.
But as an industry that makes money on logging forests, advocates should hold this partnership to high environmental standards -- particularly since the Russian government's standards don't meet those of the U.S.
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