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Threat to "Brand New Zealand"

Threat to "Brand New Zealand" as leading US company rejects GE trees.

The push to introduce GE trees- already the subject of field trials in New Zealand threatens New Zealand exports to the global market and will backfire on New Zealand's timber industry as customers reject GM as an unsustainable threat to the environment.

Kinko - one of the US's biggest manufacturers of copy-paper has decided to ban the use of GE trees as part of improving its sustainability and environmental record. This decision adds weight to the international market trend reflected in the existing ban on GE trees for companies with Forest Stewardship Council endorsement. " The continuing consumer-driven move away from GM is creating opportunities for the country that are being threatened by plans to release GM organisms here. Ethical and sustainable production has become increasingly important for marketing New Zealand wood products to consumers overseas," says Jon Carapiet from GE-Free NZ (in food and environment).

" Global food manufacturers have already rejected the use of GE products. Now the paper and timber industry are waking up to what the consumer wants," says Mr. Carapiet Kinko, has vowed to not buy paper from endangered forests, monoculture tree farms or use GMO's says a report from the US Rainforest Action Network.

"New Zealand must not undermine its international brand position by proceeding with GE trees. The trend for corporate responsibility is reaching the paper industry and there is recognition that GE trees have huge potential to destabilise ecosystems because of the fundamental role trees play in natural cycles", says Mr. Carapiet.

Background on KINKO and media contacts follows: Kinko's new forest related purchasing policy is a milestone for corporate purchasing policies Kinko's has agreed to not do business with companies that

1) engage in the destruction of endangered forests

2) convert native forests to plantations or tree farms, and

3) use GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms).

The policy also has strong language regarding certification, and Kinko's has matched the 30% post-consumer waste-recycling standard.

Kinko's uses a lot of paper, and even though with this policy can't be called an ecologically sustainable company in its relationship to forests, it is a step in the right direction.

"We'll continue to work with them to develop more sophisticated plans, whether this includes working to incorporate true-cost pricing and/or setting a political agenda to help protect endangered forests," says Doyle Canning- from the ISE Biotechnology Project, one of the organisations that has w! orked with Kinko on ways to improve its practices.

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