Neil McCubbin is a former pulp and paper engineer turned consultant. Earlier this year he was hired by the World Bank as a member of a panel of consultants to review the IFC’s cumulative impact studies of the Botnia and Ence pulp mills in Uruguay.
In May 2006, he gave a presentation at RISI‘s Latin American Pulp and Paper Outlook Conference in Brazil.
“Latin American mills have generally been built very well,” McCubbin said , “but people outside the industry do not see that.” That’s probably because the people outside the industry are the ones living in the stench of the pulp mills.
On CELCO’s Valdiva pulp mill in Chile, McCubbin said “Some of it [the polemic surrounding Valdivia] is bad luck and some if it is related to the fact that they should have never built the plant there in first place.”
McCubbin explained that companies face a range of people from “concerned, rational observers” to the “lunatic fringe”. Greenpeace “tends to focus on emotion rather than fact” but Environmental Defense is an example of a scientifically rigorous NGO, according to McCubbin.
He recommended that companies should spend 1% of project budgets on dealing with NGOs and should post as much information as possible on the internet.