Beijing, October 27, 2006 — China’s
non-wood pulp and paper industry can help meet the country’s growing wood
deficit and secure millions of jobs in rural areas, according to the findings
of a new study released today by the International Finance Corporation.
The study sets out a course of sustainable development for China’s non-wood
pulp and paper industry, which has been under threat in recent years because
of the damage non-wood fiber mills cause to the environment. The
study concludes the main part of a $1.45 million IFC technical assistance
project funded by the Finnish Ministry of Trade and Industry. It
recommends modernization of the industry by implementing new pulping and
chemical recovery processes and technologies, which will reduce pollution
and significantly lower the consumption of energy and water. These advances
will safeguard millions of jobs in rural areas and mitigate the shortage
of domestic sources of wood for China’s economy.
“We are very pleased to make major progress in addressing China’s fiber
shortage. Developing the non-wood fiber sector will not only help
solve this shortage, but will also fit well into our strategy for social
and environmental sustainability. We will follow up on this technical assistance
to support investment projects in the sector,” said Dimitris Tsitsiragos,
IFC’s Director for Global Manufacturing and Services.
Developing and modernizing the non-wood pulp and paper industry will be
an important step toward helping China narrow its wood deficit. At the
moment China imports most of its wood fiber due to the lack of domestic
sources. But the country has abundant and underutilized non-wood fiber
resources, including straw, reed, bamboo, and bagasse, and the available
straw alone would be sufficient to eliminate all fiber imports. Although
non-wood pulp and paper represents 60 percent of pollution caused by China’s
pulp and paper sector today, it is also an important source of employment,
sustaining the livelihood of some 8 million people.
“We are very excited about this project, because addressing China’s wood
deficit issue would help ease the strains on its neighbors’ resources.
We plan to pursue similar initiatives across the region and around the
globe,” said Richard Ranken, IFC’s Director for East Asia and the Pacific.
The technical assistance project was assisted by two leading Finnish consulting
firms, Savcor-Indufor and Poyry Forest Industry, as well as the China Paper
Association and the China National Pulp and Paper Research Institute. The
project team is preparing a conclusion paper and making recommendations
to help the Chinese government implement an appropriate policy to support
The International Finance Corporation, the
private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral
provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries. IFC
finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international
financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and
environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice
to businesses and governments. From its founding in 1956 through
FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private
sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional
$25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries.
With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more
than $1 billion in technical assistance and advisory services. For
more information, visit www.ifc.org