Today, on the 22nd of March, people from 5 countries and 5 organisations, including Protect the Forest, Fridays for Future Sweden, Skogsvärn Näsåker, Greenpeace and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, are demonstrating outside SCA’s Annual General Meeting. A group of youth climate justice activists, including Greta Thunberg, also participated inside SCA’s AGM. Wearing shirts with the text “SCAndal”, they addressed SCA’s management. 

Outside SCA’s annual meeting in Sundsvall. Photo: Lina Burnelius

“SCA’s growth is based on clear-cut forests. Ecosystems, the climate, local populations and indigenous people have had to pay an indescribably high price for this. SCA deceives its consumers with nice words about “responsible forestry”, “fossil-free” and “consultation” with Sami villages. However, it is clear that consumers can blindly trust that SCA’s FSC-labelled products come from unsustainable and unfair forestry,” said Agnes Hjortsberg, Fridays for Future Sweden, inside at the SCA’s Annual General Meeting.

“You are not answering our questions. You continue with your empty phrases and greenwashing. Answer us; how can you talk about “cycles” and “renewables” when SCA systematically expands into and clear-cuts irreplaceable forest ecosystems. Several thousand year old ecosystems are not renewable,” said Greta Thunberg, inside at the meeting.

SCA must stop felling forests with high conservation values!

 The organisations at the demonstration demand that SCA stops its systematic felling of forests with high conservation values

“Biodiverse forests that are the homes for many animals, are the same forests in which reindeer can find their food. These are also the same forests that many people enjoy visiting, these are the forests where you find mushrooms and an opportunity for recreation. These are also the forests that have an intact carbon stock. It is therefore natural that local residents, Sami villages, researchers and the European environmental movement have made it to our common cause to demand that SCA changes its operations. The last natural forests – and their carbon stocks – must be preserved, but today SCA cuts them down in favour of tree plantations – it must come to an immediate end,” said Lina Burnelius, Protect the Forest.

Inside SCA’s annual general meeting in Sundsvall, Sweden. SCA’s growth is based om clear-cutting of forests. Photo: Private

In 2022, SCA had its highest net turnover ever, of over SEK 20 billion. But SCA’s growth is based on clear-cutting of forests that comes with an incomprehensible high price for ecosystems, the climate, local residents and indigenous people. SCA continuously deceives its consumers with greenwashing words such as  “sustainable forestry”, “fossil-free” and “consultation” with Sámi communities. 

“Italian consumers should know that the cellulose we import to Italy from SCA (Svenska Cellulose), is far from being sustainable

“Italian consumers should know that the cellulose we import to Italy from SCA (Svenska Cellulose), is far from being sustainable as they claim; even considering the FSC-label it displays. Though coming from far away and from Sweden that has ended up having a “good reputation” in terms of sustainability, mainly because of greenwashing efforts and international narratives, SCA products come from biodiversity destruction and colonial practices on Sámi land that violate human rights. This is why we call it a “SCAndal”, and it should be internationally recognized as such,” said Simone Zambrin, climate activist from Italy. 

“We are here outside of SCA’s AGM protesting against the systematic unsustainability that prevails at SCA. SCA is logging forests with high conservation values and large carbon storages. It is clear that German consumers can blindly trust that SCA’s FSC-labelled products come from unsustainable, unfair, environmentally harmful and extremely carbon dioxide-intensive forestry,” said Michael Staniszewski, climate activist from Germany.

90 examples of violations

Earlier this year, the organisations submitted an open letter as well as the 2022 and 2023 inventory reports from the Research Trip. The research trip is a non-profit inventory conducted in unprotected forests in northern Sweden one week per year. In the open letter, 20 organisations, associations and groups demand that SCA immediately stop logging forests with high conservation values. A collection of 90 examples of SCA’s violations ​​has previously been handed over to the forest company.

Fridays for Future asked questions about SCA’s logging of forests with high conservation values at SCA’s Annual General Meeting but got no answers. Photo: Private.

“We have documented how SCA has systematically logged forests with high conservation values over the past 25 years. But despite the strong criticism raised over the past year, they continue to ignore our demands. SCA has instead begun the new year by logging – and sending in new plans for logging continuity forests with threatened and protected species,” said Daniel Rutschman, Skogsvärn Näsåker.  

EU’s clear-cutting of forests must be reduced – which is emphasised by 550 researchers in an appeal to the EU’s decision-makers. It is necessary to mitigate climate change and the loss of biodiversity. The researchers urge the EU to stop listening to the lobbyists of the forest industry, who claim that increased logging is climate-smart.

As Europe’s largest private forest owner, SCA has a particular responsibility to change its forestry practices immediately. The fact that clear-cutting is devastating for biodiversity as well as the climate is being increasingly emphasized by the independent forestry science. SCA’s management knows this, but with an oversized pulp industry they are acting with open eyes against the clear message of the science. It is shameful and reprehensible,” said Ulf von Sydow, County Chairman of The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation Jämtland Härjedalen.

“It’s only a matter of time before the market cuts ties with SCA

The way in which SCA conducts its forestry operations is not only a threat to biological diversity, Sámi rights and the forest’s ability to capture and store carbon, it also threatens SCA’s own future. It’s only a matter of time before the market cuts ties with SCA if they continue to clearcut old-growth forests with high natural values. This will inevitably have an effect on SCA’s share value, as we could already see happen just previously. SCA are shooting themselves in the foot by continuing on this unsustainable path and should immediately change their operations,” said Dima Litvinov, spokesperson for forest issues, Greenpeace Sweden.

Flyer for SCA’s stock owners can be downloaded here (only in Swedish).

Contact information

Lina Burnelius, Project leader and international coordinator at Protect the Forest, Sweden 

tel +46 73 440 47 93

Daniel Rutschman, Skogsvärn Näsåker/Skogsvärn Skogsnäs

tel. +46 76 112 88 26

Christopher Engberg Dahl, Greenpeace Sweden 

tel. +46 79 142 14 53