The Stora Enso Bulletin for Stakeholders has awoken some controversy in recent weeks. The Red Forest Hotel moviemakers that were on the field documenting the entrance of Stora Enso in Guangxi takes a closer look at some of the statements. Some of the questions below are now awaiting reply from the company.
Response to Stora Enso’s Guangxi Bulletin for Stakeholders
Red Forest Hotel documentary director & producer Mika Koskinen
8 October 2012
Since Stora Enso has been actively spreading this bulletin to its stakeholders and people who have watched our documentary Red Forest Hotel, we would like to comment on it and ask Stora Enso
1) Why do you use words like “claim” and “make allegations” when the documentary shows clear evidence and local people’s testimonies of violence, death and environmental tragedy?
2) Stora Enso just recently (September 11, 2012) released the final UNDP report (already dated April 27, 2012) which says: “As of August 2010, SEGX had contracted a total of 84,627 hectares of land with an additional 41,258 hectares offered by city governments, a total of 125,885 hectares.” In your bulletin you say you have only leased 90,000 hectares. What is the truth? How much
land you hold now? Why is this and other information in the UNDP report so old? How many of these land deals have been pushed through by middle-men?
After the research by RRI (October 2010) showed clear evidence that people’s land had been grabbed, how many of your land deals have been investigated by independent
reviewers? How many of the previous land owners have had the right to say no?
3) What do you mean by saying that you “will seek to incorporate UNDP recommendations into your sustainability agenda”? People have been deprived of their land. It is a sad testimony of Stora Enso land policy that you can only promise to “seek to incorporate UNDP recommendations into your sustainability agenda”, while the recommendations are the outcome of a process solely funded by Stora Enso. The whole UNDP report is outdated and has no field research from recent years that you said it would have. How is it possible that Stora Enso entered into the conflictual land deals, as it states in your bulletin that “China has a long history of land disputes”? Did the company not know about these disputes when entering China? Does the company think that entering a context with
land disputes by buying up large tracts of land represents responsible business?
4) How will you compensate for the violence, deaths and environmental terror caused by your project where some of the poorest people in China have been displaced from their
only resource, the land that they and their families have often farmed for centuries? Who will independently review this process?
How will you ensure that you return the land to the rightful owners in every instance where violence, misleading information or other dirty tricks have been used to obtain the land?
5) Do you think it is the right thing to do to “buy out most of the intermediaries”, thereby giving financial benefit to the middlemen who have been involved in the beatings? Can you please make public all land deals and all compensation to middlemen so as to make transparent who has gained and who has lost in this scramble for land in Guangxi?
6) The main claim of the film is that monoculture tree plantations do not work. That is also the root of your problems in China, South America, everywhere. Lack of biodiversity is
where all the environmental and social problems start. Life (people, animals, plants) does not survive within homogeneous industrial plantations which are constantly cleaned, clear-cut,
fertilized and rebuilt. Even though the company manages to establish some generations of eucalyptus, the land will have lost its fertility in some decades. The company is in the business of creating moon landscapes by the year 2050 on some of the world’s most fertile land, when global food chains will be in severe stress anyway due to water scarcity, climate change and population growth.
Even if Stora Enso’s project created 30 thousand jobs, this would be small compared to the people whose livelihoods are negatively affected by it. The project affects 730 village communities that
have 3 million people directly affected by the project. There are 6 million people all together in the area and 50 million people in the province. (Global Responsibility Stakeholder Magazine 2011, page 19) As studies in Brazil have shown, it is seldom the dispossessed farmers that will gain employment by the forestry company (see eg. Kröger 2008). Eucalyptus, an Australian species, has no connection to the local people or ecosystems. What can people do when a foreign plant sucks up their water sources and prevents them from planting their own crops? People have no choice but to move out. We have already seen this happen eg. in Brazil and Uruguay, where expanding eucalyptus plantations have forced hundreds of thousands of former small & family farmers to live in urban poverty in fast growing cities. How will you fix the environmental damage caused by the eucalyptus plantations? Stora Enso, you fail to show any real evidence that you are fulfilling your responsibility and that your project is not harming the people and the ecosystem in Guangxi. We demand that the nature of Stora Enso’s land deals and tree planting project is exhaustively and independently reviewed and changed before any financier allows the Stora Enso investment to proceed.
The Red Forest Hotel filmmakers
info (at) redforesthotelthemovie.com
Phone (Finland) +358 41 720 6209