It’s here: a high quality Fair Trade Labeled Paper!
In 2016, we became Japans’ first ever Fair Trade Verified paper company (WFTO – World Fair Trade Organization) – and our banana paper one of the worlds first Fair Trade Verified paper. It’s the result of a unique collaboration between people in rural Zambia, and traditional Washi-paper factories in Japan. This high quality Fair Trade paper is already used by more than 10,000 people – both individuals and in the private sector. Thanks to both its environmental AND social value, companies like Lush, Body Shop Japan, Toyota Hybrid Academy, Panasonic and Ricoh are using this Fair Trade banana paper as well as Tokyo University of the Arts and United Nations Habitat.
The products name is One Planet Paper®. It is an AWARD winning paper, awarded in both Japan (2013, social business “Dream Award”) and in Zambia (2016, Agricultural and Tourism Show).
Why Banana Paper – the environmental aspect.
We all know our Planet is under tremendous pressure from human activities. Animals and forests they depend on are disappearing faster than being replaced. Our directors are from three continents and countries – Japan, Sweden, Zambia with a combined 50 years experience in sustainability issues and knew the paper industry’s big ecological footprint, and how it is suffering from criticism.
We humans use more than 1 million tons of paper EVERY DAY. Around 90% is made from trees. Today we are losing a forest area the size of 1/3 of Japans land mass, every year (*NASA). The paper industry knows that tigers, orangutans, elephants and other endangered species are decreasing partly because of a NON-SUSTAINABLE paper industry. Planting trees and going paperless is good. But it does not catch the loss. We need an ALTERNATIVE. And we believe bananas is one of the solutions!
Why Banana Paper – the economical aspect.
Fair Trade is now a near €6 billion market. Ethical and social responsible products are increasing. But how about the packaging those products comes in? We can now provide one of the worlds first Fair Trade Labeled packaging, labels and plain paper for your socially responsible business and marketing.
In 2011, we started to develop this high quality, tree free paper together with women and organic banana farmers in South Luangwa Zambia. THE AIM: developing a high quality sustainable paper that integrates BOTH environmental and social values! South Luangwa is a unique biodiversity hot spot with wild elephants, zebras, giraffes, leopards walking freely. But in the nearby villages extreme poverty exists. Hospitals are far away, education opportunities few, job opportunities even fewer…This leads to deforestation (people cut trees for firewood and a minor income) and poaching of wild animals. Both are illegal, but with few alternatives and an empty stomach…
What we discovered in Africa, is that poverty is a result of environmental destruction, BUT environmental destruction is also a result of poverty. Our solution: Banana Paper!
Our Banana Paper is made from disposed of (waste product) banana stems. We only buy stems from organic banana fields, and emphasize the use of the fruit BEFORE cutting the stems. This create an added value to economically disadvantaged farmers.
How? A 1500-years old knowledge solving a 21st century problem.
The banana fruit grows only once. Farmers have to cut the “banana tree” to allow a new fruit to grow. A small part of the cut stem is used as organic fertilisers, but the majority becomes waste. Within ONE year there is a new banana tree and banana fruit! On the other hand, a tree for a conventional tree paper may take up to 30 YEARS to grow.
We created a network of organic banana farmers in Zambia, whom we now buy each stem from. People from the villages – our Banana Team – is extracting a very strong fiber from the stems. Those fibers become the base in our One Planet Paper.
We use a 1500-years old paper making technology – the Japanese “Washi” technology. We collaborate with paper factories in a Japanese Washi-town, to finalize the quality product, fit to print on.
Results – on the ground
We have succeeded to create a total “eco system supply chain” – organic farmers > local villagers > paper factories > printing firms, resulting in a high quality Fair Trade Verified fiber supporting more than 500 people in rural Africa. More than 150 children can now go to school thanks to a fair salary to parents in the Banana Team. Mosquito nets against malaria and solar lamps instead of high fire risk candles and oil lamps have been introduced in several villages thanks to the banana paper.
Recognition – clients, media and Awards
Thanks to the quality of our Banana Paper, Japanese well-known companies like Toyota, Panasonic and Ricoh are among companies using our Zambian-Japanese Banana Paper. Also, United Nations, Tokyo University of Arts, and natural cosmetic maker LUSH use the paper for calendars, certificates, business cards and ethical wrapping paper. Japanese newspapers like the No.1 financial newspaper Nikkei , has introduced our banana paper as a good example for sustainability, and one of the main themes in the Japanese governments’ magazine Highlighting Japan. We’ve won four awards, including a Social Business Award at Japans nationwide award-ceremony for Social Business at “Budokan” stadium (2013), and a Agricultural and Tourism Show-Award in Zambia (2016).
Our plain paper and paper products (photo below) line up can be seen on following page.
One Planet Paper® Committee.
We are active in Zambia as an NPO, and in Japan as a Ltd. company working over boarders with all stakeholders to create a shared value. That is why we don’t call our staff “staff” but instead our “Banana Team”. And we don’t call our clients “clients” but our “Banana Partners”. In 2013, we established One Planet Paper® Committee – a consortium with Japanese printing firms, paper companies, designers and environmental experts. We work together to develop environmentally correct and fair trade pulp & paper towards Sustainable Development in both Japan and Africa.
Our Japan-Zambia group create global partnerships person-to-person, business-to-business and continent-to-continent. We do banana paper exhibitions and organize national events and seminars together.
Building a Green Factory in Africa
Our next goal is to start to produce the paper in Zambia, using no chemicals and using green energy (renewable energy like solar). This place is using local materials, including bamboo and environmentally licensed and recycled wood and bricks. A building technic called “Bioclimatic building technology” incorporates climate calculation by inviting the sun and wind to create a natural ventilation & space feeling. We have planted 200 trees, bringing birds back and this has contributed to a recovering biodiversity…and Birds have since planted another 200 trees and more… We call this place an SDG Lounge – or “The Green Factory“!
2017 and a part of 2018 will be spent for training in polishing the skills for paper making. We employ almost entirely members from extreme poverty areas. The place is 20 km outside South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. This factory for Sustainable Development is being built in 3 Stages. STAGE 1 (2014): Factory building 1, and Office building in a traditional African style. STAGE 2 (2015): Energy, water, food and transportation infrastructure (organic agro-forestry garden), fiber machines introduction, team training & management. STAGE 3 (2016-2017): Factory building 2 & 3, pulp and paper machines introduction, Multipurpose Room (training and exhibition centre).
A Grassroots fund
In late 2015, we received our first fund ever. The Japanese Embassy in Zambia will fund the majority of our Stage 3 development. We will start Stage 3 in March 2016. Photo: the signing ceremony with the Japanese Ambassador in Zambia.
5 minute mini-documentary about our Banana Paper.
3-minute video from the very start in 2011…