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Australia: The greening of a timber giant

Once the arch-enemy of conservationists, Tasmanian company Gunns has made an about-face

Source:  Copyright 2010, Australian
Date:  October 16, 2010
Original URL: Status ONLINE
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HATING forestry and pulp giant Gunns Limited has long been a favourite pastime for many Tasmanians, as any observer of car bumper stickers knows.

"Gunns -- dangerous in the wrong hands," reads one. "I no longer shop at Gunns," proclaims another. The most popular simply reads: "So Sue Me", a reference to the timber company's notorious lawsuit against its opponents.

The feeling has been mutual. In the Gunns book of community engagement, conservationists were dismissed as lunatics trying to shut down its industry and turn lumberjacks into latte-serving baristas. The terms of derision on both sides were so well worn they became as Tasmanian as tannin-stained rivers, scallop pies and hung parliaments. Little wonder, then, that Tasmanians are still trying to get their heads around Gunns' apparent new status as a green crusader.

The company, long at the vanguard of the logging industry, has raised the white flag, vowing to lay down its native forest ...

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