The FAO recently published a survey of pulp and paper capacities between 2005 and 2010. The survey is based on figures “from correspondents in many countries.” Sounds great, doesn’t it? (I’m assuming that like me, you’re trying to wrap your head around where the pulp and paper industry is likely to go next.)
Looks great, doesn’t it?
I splashed out the US$32 that FAO is asking for this little report. Perhaps FAO could have told us that no one in China answered their questions about pulp and paper capacity in China over the next five years. They might have mentioned that no one in Finland replied. Or Uruguay.
Once we get past the contents page, the problems really start. Here’s the entry for Thailand:
I know, you can’t read it. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. According to Somboon Chuckawal, the President of the Thai Pulp and Paper Industries Association, who answered the FAO’s questionnaire about the industry in Thailand, there will be no expansion of pulp and paper capacity in Thailand before 2010. Siam Pulp and Paper’s plans for a 200,000 t/yr paper mill, for example, don’t appear in the data. This is surprising, since the address of the Thai Pulp and Paper Industries Association is the same as that of Siam Cement, the owner of Siam Pulp and Paper.
I don’t know whether it’s more irritating that the Thai Pulp and Paper Industries President fills in a form with what is obviously false information, or that FAO simply publishes the data without question.
The introduction to the FAO’s report states:
“The survey presents only the results for countries that submitted answers to the questionnaires and no attempts have been made to estimate figures in the absence of returned information.”
FAO might have added that no attempt has been made to check any of the returned information and the document is therefore completely useless.