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Sustainability in the Pulp and Paper Sector Reg Green ICEM ICEM World Conference for the Pulp and Paper Industry Brussels, 15-16 November 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Sustainability in the Pulp and Paper Sector Reg Green ICEM ICEM World Conference for the Pulp and Paper Industry Brussels, 15-16 November 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sustainability in the Pulp and Paper Sector Reg Green ICEM ICEM World Conference for the Pulp and Paper Industry Brussels, 15-16 November 2005

2 The Pulp and Paper Sector – key features Capital- and resource intensive Nevertheless, at least 3.5 million people are employed in the sector Demand is expected to grow over the long term

3 The pulp and paper sector is characterised by its capital- and resource-intensive nature and by a range of environmental impacts ranging from the use of forest products for raw feedstock, through to the use of large quantities of energy and water. At least 3.5 million people are employed in the pulp, paper and converting sub-sectors worldwide Given the fundamental importance of paper, demand is expected to grow over the long term, particularly as the economies of many developing and newly industrialised countries expand.

4 Impacts on the environment from forestry loss of biodiversity soil erosion and loss of fertility watershed destabilisation reduced forest access for local people reduced local control of land displacement of rural communities aesthetic uniformity

5 Impacts on the environment from pulp and paper manufacturing liquid effluent from bleaching processes emissions to air of sulphur compounds, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and particulates solid waste discharges Energy consumption: While total energy intensity is declining, overall energy consumption is increasing.

6 Key health and safety issues Paper making equipment Respiratory disorders Cancer Workplace transport Manual handling Paper dust Heat stress Noise Muscular skeletal disorders

7 The most commonly encountered risk factors for serious and fatal accidents in the pulp and paper industry are the papermaking equipment itself and the extreme size and weight of pulp or paper bales and rolls. Injuries are caused where: workers being caught in or between rotating rolls or equipment (“nip- points”) workers being crushed by falling or tumbling objects, especially rolls and bales deaths due to electrocution, hydrogen sulphide and other toxic gas inhalation, massive thermal/chemical burns and heat exhaustion. The number of serious accidents associated with paper machines has been reported to decrease with the installation of newer equipment in some countries, but unions should endeavour to discover if this is in fact the case. In the converting sector, repetitive and monotonous work, and the use of mechanized equipment with higher speeds and forces, has become more common. Although no sector-specific data are available, it is expected that this sector will experience greater rates of over-exertion injuries associated with repetitive work – another concern for unions.

8 The most well documented health problems encountered by pulp mill workers are acute and chronic respiratory disorders related to: Exposure to extremely high concentrations of chlorine, chlorine dioxide or sulphur dioxide may occur as a result of a leak or other process upset. Workers most at risk for these exposure incidents include maintenance workers, bleach plant workers and construction workers at pulp mill sites. Exposed workers may develop acute chemical-induced lung injury with severe inflammation of air passages and release of fluid into the air spaces, requiring hospitalization. The extent of damage depends on the duration and intensity of the exposure, and the specific gas involved. If the worker survives the acute episode, complete recovery may occur. However, in less intense exposure incidents (also usually as a result of process upsets or spills), acute exposure to chlorine or chlorine dioxide may trigger the subsequent development of asthma. This irritant-induced asthma has been recorded in numerous case reports and recent epidemiological studies, and current evidence indicates that it may persist for many years following the exposure incident. Workers similarly exposed who do not develop asthma may experience persistently increased nasal irritation, cough, wheezing and reduction in airflow rates. High levels of chlorine dioxide exposure also cause eye irritation and the sensation of seeing halos around lights.

9 Cancer There are a number of known, probable and possible carcinogens in the pulp and paper sector. Asbestos, known to cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, is used to insulate pipes and boilers. Talc is used extensively as a paper additive, and can be contaminated with asbestos. Other paper additives, including benzidine-based dyes, formaldehyde and epichlorohydrin, are considered probable human carcinogens. Hexavalent chromium and nickel compounds, generated in stainless steel welding, are known lung and nasal carcinogens. Wood dust has been classified by IARC as a known carcinogen, based mainly on evidence of nasal cancer among workers exposed to hardwood dust (IARC, 1995). Diesel exhaust, hydrazine, styrene, mineral oils, chlorinated phenols and dioxins, and ionizing radiation are other probable or possible carcinogens which may be present in mill operations.

10 Respiratory System Cancers Maintenance workers in paper and pulp mills experience an increased risk of lung cancer and malignant mesotheliomas, probably because of their exposure to asbestos. There is evidence that pulp mill workers exposed to chlorine compounds are at a significantly increased risk of lung cancer.

11 The main causes of injury Machinery Manual handling Slips and trips

12 The main causes of accidents in the pulp and paper sector are still predominantly caused by machinery, manual handling and slips and trips. This is despite decades of attention having been given to these problems and despite huge amounts of educational and training materials having been written and distributed. Clearly, there is still a considerable mismatch between understand the causes and doing something about them.

13 Health and safety management Besides the overall management issues, effective management of contractors is a significant and growing issue.

14 The ICEM approach The ICEM is not an NGO as ordinarily understood ICEM does not defend the indefensible Health, safety and environmental protection are issues for negotiation It is crucial to engage as far as possible with employers

15 The ICEM has always insisted that it is not an NGO in the ordinarily understood sense of the term. We have a vested interest in the success of the companies that employ our members – something that other NGOs do not share. This is not to say that the ICEM is prepared to defend the indefensible; we would very rapidly lose credibility in the eyes of both our affiliates and the broader public if we were to do so. It has become something of a common place for some to argue that health, safety and environmental protection are non-negotiable. From the ICEM perspective, this is wrong. To adopt a position of non-negotiation would be in effect to fail to make progress or, at best, to be reliant on laws and regulations – both of which are increasingly hard to come by. However, if it is negotiating for health and safety is a generally agreed principle, this does not mean that there will not be specific instances that are not negotiable. The banning of asbestos is one such example. From this, it follows that it will be crucial to engage as far as possible with employers. Naturally, this is, in the first instance, a job for our affiliates at the local and national levels. But the ICEM has to play a role too…

16 Follow-up from 2000 world conference i) The ICEM should seek to negotiate global agreements with multinational employers covering basic trade union rights and ethical practices within their worldwide operations; ii) Networks should be formed between and among ICEM affiliated unions at company level and at sector level to reinforce this aim; iii) The ICEM should concentrate its efforts to assist member unions in building their organisations to create the strength to respond.

17 Since the World Congress in 1999, the ICEM has been committed to the signing and implementation of global agreements with multinational companies operating in the sectors in which we have members. The first to of these agreements was signed with the Norwegian oil multinational, Statoil, in July 1998 and has been reviewed and renewed three times since then. At the last ICEM Pulp and Paper Sector Conference, it was agreed – amongst other things - that the ICEM should seek to negotiate global agreements with multinational employers covering basic trade union rights and ethical practices within their worldwide operations; We have made some progress since then and at present we have global agreements with two companies in the pulp and paper sector; Norske Skog and SCA. Obviously there is still more to do to get other companies to sign such agreements.

18 Sustainability and global agreements ICEM currently has 12 global agreements All include a commitment to high and universally applicable health, safety and environmental standards

19 ICEM Global Agreements


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