Monday, November 10, 2014

My Tree-Hugging Brother & His Sustainable Company

I don't know if I should check with my brother before sharing this photo, but I don't think he'd mind. Here he is, literally hugging a tree in a forest in Bolivia, maybe in 2011 or 12:
My brother (2.5 years younger than me) is a "forest engineer" or, I suppose, forester in plain English. Back in 2012 he made a photo album in facebook (where I got this photo) to show to his friends why he loves his life as a forester. The photos begin in 2006 when he moved to China to work for Stora Enso, a Finnish paper company that was (and is) working with the Chinese government to plan eucalyptus for a future paper mill. He was basically teaching them how to plant the tree which was successfully introduced in Brazil many years ago and thrived there. 

In 2008 he moved to New Zealand (because my SIL didn't want to have babies in China!) to work for a consulting forestry company, Poyry (also from Finland). In that job he traveled the world -- he worked in the Australia backlands (where he was super emotional seeing eucalyptus in its native environment for the first time in his life, after years of working with that tree). in forests in Fiji, Ghana, Brazil (the Amazon), Bolivia, Chile. 

Then he moved on to another consulting firm, Indufor, (also Finnish, what's with Finland and forest engineering and consulting?) where he led this huge consulting project for his current employer, Fibria, the merger of the two largest paper producers in Brazil and one of the largest pulp production companies in the world. Last September, he moved back to Brazil (with a newborn and a 22 month old) to work as a manager at Fibria and this weekend a business magazine in Brazil (Exame) named Fibria the most sustainable company in Brazil in 2014! (I sill need to congratulate my brother)

I'm sure some environmentalists would disagree, but my brother knows A LOT about paper production and sustainable forest management, and he says that most large-scale paper producers in the world are actually benefiting the environment. In addition to planning ahead and planting millions of trees that will be used for paper-making in the future, they also preserve local indigenous forests, among other intiatives. That makes me feel a bit better about using paper, although I agree that using less of it is good even if paper companies are planting more trees than they're cutting down. 

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