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FOPAP claim moral victory over WWF and its unprintable file format

11th January 2012

Pro-print and paper organisation Friends of Print and Paper – FOPAP – have claimed a moral victory over the WWF and its unprintable file format - the .wwf - as it has learned that the environmentally active organisation with a dislike for the forestry sector now seems to be publicly supporting managed forestry and even the cutting down of trees for paper - in Australia at least.

Exactly one year ago a furore erupted in the printing industry following the news that the World Wildlife Fund had launched a new unprintable file format. Known as the .wwf, the organisation claimed it would save the unnecessary felling of trees for use in the paper industry and the launch went under the marketing slogan " Save as .wwf, save a tree ". It was this message, that the felling of trees for use in paper manufacture was bad for the environment, that raised the strongest objections from all quarters of the printing industry. Not least vocal of these dissenting voices was FOPAP, publishing a comprehensive rebuttable of the WWF's claims which attracted attention from the WWF itself.

Spokesman for FOPAP, John Roche, explains:

“In February 2011 we published an article on our website to contest the validity of the new WWF file format and we immediately began to receive hits from the WWF itself. Soon, they had contacted us directly and insisted that we remove its logo from our website. This then prompted a dialogue with the organisation and we prepared a formal letter that explained why their logic relating to the the new .wwf file was completely misleading and patently wrong. Our biggest concern was that their message - that felling trees for paper is bad - completely ignored the managed forestry sector which, in Europe at least, is responsible for providing all of the timber for the paper manufacturing industry. This European forest is a growing asset - a crop for industrialised purposes - and it has the huge additional advantage of being an avid absorber of atmospheric CO2 ".

In its article, FOPAP pointed out to the WWF that:

" ...everyone abhors the unnecessary felling of natural forests – even those many thousands of us involved in the unconscionable act of ‘printing’ onto that most evil of materials ‘paper’. Moreover, surely every man, woman and child would offer their unequivocal support and enthusiasm for this WWF initiative if it saved even ONE naturally growing tree from being felled. But it will not. It cannot. The use of natural woodland and rainforests for human purposes is unwanted. It deprives the world of natural habitats, a vast carbon sink, and changes the landscape and climate as a result. But these forests are not the source of paper... What is more, the act of growing and felling trees in managed farms actually sequesters MORE CO2 from the atmosphere then if they are left to reach maturity. Therefore, if the WWF can study the [FOPAP] reasoning of why this is so, and at the end of it if they agree with its logic, it will surely have no option but to withdraw its unnecessary and, potentially damaging, file format. And apologise accordingly . "

One year on, and the WWF seems to have changed its tune, sending out a new message to the world with an advertising campaign running late last year in Australia that seemingly offers SUPPORT for managed forestry, specifically that which is FSC certified, which is, of course, a noble gesture in its own right. Here is the TV advert as seen on YouTube:

Roche continues: "It is remarkable that a little less than 12 months ago the WWF was adamant that a new file format was going to help save the planet. Now, a year later, and with a healthy dose of common sense, it seems that they have come to their senses and begun to see the real value of managed forestry. Although the campaign has been confined to Australia thus far, we would appeal to the WWF to broaden the reach of its new advertising campaign and bring it to Europe. This act may well go a long way to helping heal some of the wounds it inflicted on the printing and paper industries in 2011 and begin the process of the necessary education of print and paper buyers that the products they are procuring from our sector are both environmentally safe and responsibly sourced. Not only this, but the forestry sector provides the only natural mechanism known for removing atmospheric CO2 and moving it directly to long term storage underground in landfill at the end of a products useful life.

For a more details comment on the change of heart by the WWF, see here .

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(C) 2011