Forest Management Certification
In the United States, more than 90 percent of our fiber supply comes from privately owned forests.
Around 30 percent of the world's working forests are certified*. We recognize that encouraging responsible stewardship is one of the keys to protecting global forestlands and ensuring a sustainable supply of wood fiber for our business needs. Globally, we follow a certification policy that recognizes all credible third-party standards. These include the Forest Stewardship CouncilTM (FSC®), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFCTM), and national standards recognized by PEFC like the American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) in the U.S. and Certificacão Florestal (CERFLOR) in Brazil. All of the forestland we lease, own or manage in Brazil and Russia and is certified according to national or international forest management standards.
About Third Party Verification
Responsible forest management and fiber sourcing practices can be verified by third-party certifiers to a number of independent standards. Third-party experts verify a company's performance against a set of objectives detailed in the standards. The following are three types of certifications:
- Forest Management — Certification of the activities of land management – harvesting to reforestation
- Fiber Procurement — A certification offered by SFI®, which includes land management as well as the responsible purchasing of timber and contracting for harvesting and transportation.
- Chain of Custody — Certification that verifies that policies, systems and procedures are in place to track wood fiber from the forest, through the manufacturing and converting processes and then to customers.
Developing new sources of third-party-certified fiber is not easy. Landowners can be reluctant to take on the additional responsibility and costs associated with certifying their property. Our strategy relies on working directly with suppliers and landowners to encourage them to make this investment, and we deploy significant resources in this effort. Professional foresters and wildlife biologists from International Paper provide technical support to suppliers and landowners on developing forest management plans required for certification audits.
Since 2010, International Paper has increased its certified fiber use by more than four million tons in our global system.
Forest Management Certification Highlights
- In the United States, 28 percent of International Paper's sourced fiber is third-party forest management–certified (ATFS, FSC® or SFI®).
- Outside North America, approximately 47 percent of the combined fiber sourced in 2013 was third-party–certified. Our teams in Europe, Russia and Brazil also have made excellent progress in increasing certified fiber volume.Highlights include:
— Russia: All forests directly leased or managed and harvested by International Paper are FSC-certified.
— Brazil: All forests owned and managed by International Paper in Brazil are PEFC-certified, and 90 percent of owned land is FSC-certified.
— France: The Saillat Mill manages an FSC group certification project that included 89 new members in 2013.
- We worked directly with landowners and suppliers in the United States to achieve individual FSC certification, and, since 2007, we’ve added approximately 1.5 million tons of FSC-certified wood fiber to our U.S. paper and packaging manufacturing system. We are expecting to add an additional 300,000 tons during 2014.
- In 2012, we began facilitating group FSC certification for landowners in the southeast United States. During 2013, we worked with 43 new landowners to certify an additional 67,000 acres to the FSC Standard through the group certification program. This initiative enabled a group of small, non-industrial landowners to certify their collective holdings under a single FSC certificate. The Group FSC Certification provides an opportunity that may not have otherwise been realized, because many of the participants are small, private landowners, and securing an individual certification for their property is not a financially viable option.
Reporting and Engagement
Global: For the fourth year in a row, we submitted information on our forestry operations to the Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD) Project. The FFD collects information for investors on the operational, reputational and regulatory risks and opportunities of companies related to their forestry operations. This year International Paper’s scope was limited to North America, Brazil and India.
United States: Our Global Sourcing-Fiber Supply employees, led by David Liebetreu, Vice President of Global Sourcing, engage with stakeholders at a national level through the Forest Resource Association and the American Forest & Paper Association. We are also actively involved in state forestry associations as board directors and committee members on forest management, timber harvesting, logger training, and public affairs committees.
France: Our Saillat Mill is represented as a member of FSC, and a member of the French Technical Workgroup for PEFC.
Brazil: We are part of the Forestry Certification Working Group of the Brazilian Pulp and Paper Association, and we are a member of the Brazilian FSC Standardization Committee. We also coordinate the Brazilian Forest Management Technical Committee concerning CERFLOR and PEFC certification.
Russia: We are a participant in the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources Working Group and are actively engaged in discussing improving sustainable forestry regulations.
Customer Engagement: To give customers relevant information on our products, we provide a range of product certifications and documentation. Our product verifications cover criteria such as regulatory status, suitability for intended use, chemicals of concern, recycled content, recyclability and compostability, as well as certification standards.