China’s 80 billion disposable chopsticks a ‘burden’ on forests; A total of “20 million 20-year-old trees” have to be chopped down each year to make way for the annual production

China’s 80 billion disposable chopsticks a ‘burden’ on forests

Monday, 11 March, 2013, 2:43pm

Chris Luo chris.luo@scmp.com

A National People’s Congress member has highlighted the dire situation of China’s deforestation during a parliamentary meeting, saying that the country produces as many as 80 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks each year, state news agency Xinhua reported [1].

Bo Guangxin, chairman of state-owned timber firm Jilin Forest Industry, said at a meeting of the annual parliament session on Friday that the mass production of the wooden tableware is a heavy burden on national forests.

Eighty billion pairs of chopsticks is no small figure.

Laid out, that many chopsticks can cover the ground of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, one of the world’s largest public squares, more than 360 times – with each chopstick being 1cm-by-0.5cm and 20cm long, Bo said.

A total of “20 million 20-year-old trees” have to be chopped down each year to make way for the annual production, he said.

According to the latest available forest survey [2] by the State Forestry Administration in 2009, China’s forest coverage was 20.36 per cent and ranked 139th place in the world. The average per capita forest coverage was 0.145 hectares, less than one-fourth of the world’s average.

Despite government measures aimed at protecting forest resources, China’s woods may continue to deplete because, Bo said, people’s eating habits lead to high demand for disposable chopsticks.

“To solve the issue, I think we first need to bring a change to people’s eating habits and urge everyone to carry their own chopsticks around. Secondly, we should gradually introduce a replacement for such chopsticks,” he said.

In a bid to reduce China’s carbon dioxide emission, outgoing Chinese President Hu Jintao called on the government [3] at a 2009 UN summit to increase forest coverage by an additional 40 million hectares by 2020.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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