Global Forest Ownership
International Paper is responsible for the sustainable management of millions of acres of forests around the globe through land ownership, harvesting rights or the markets it provides to countless landowners for wood fiber. Throughout its history International Paper has practiced sustainable forestry. As operations expand globally and where land ownership customs vary, this key operating principle of sustainable management of forest resources remains a constant.
International Paper’s demand for large quantities of wood fiber used to manufacture paper and packaging places the company in a position to positively affect the sustainable management of forests throughout the world. This is an outcome of our commitment to sustainability and the way we operate.
Globally, all International Paper mills have chain-of-custody certification to PEFC and/or FSC® standards and/or a ISO14001 procurement standard. The Saillat, France mill is chain-of-custody certified to PEFC, and the Kwidzyn, Poland mill is FSC® chain-of custody certified.
In Brazil, International Paper owns and controls more than 1.2 million acres (almost 500,000 ha) of forestland. None of this land is located in the ecologically sensitive Amazon Rainforest. Our entire forest operation in Brazil is third party certified in accordance with ISO 14001 Standard and our Brazilian forestlands are certified to the Brazilian Forestry Certification system, known as Cerflor. Cerflor has applied for and received approval for labeling using the internationally recognized PEFC standard.
In Russia, International Paper’s Svetogorsk mill and operations were the country’s first in the paper and forests products industry to receive ISO 14001 certification for their environmental management and procurement system. Russia laws generally prohibits private forest ownership causing companies like International Paper to lease concessions directly from the government. Our company has more than 500,000 acres (more than 200,000 ha) of forest concessions in Russia near the Svetogorsk mill.
International Paper owns less than 300,000 acres (121,4,000 ha) of U. S. forestland. In the United States, about 60 percent of productive forests are privately owned, and more than 80 percent of these forests are owned by about 10 million families. Many of the productive forests in the United States, particularly in the Southeast, have been established on land that was cleared for agriculture and human settlement beginning in the 1600’s. In the mid-20th century, the government provided incentives to property owners to plant land with trees. This region provides an important source of fiber for America. Likewise, the need for this fiber provides an important reason for the continued stewardship of these forests.
As International Paper divested of its U.S. forestlands, it maintained its commitment to sustainable forestry. Fiber procurement at all U.S. facilities is controlled by a chain-of-custody process to provide a means to account for all fiber used by International Paper operations and certify that it comes from sustainable sources. With these tools, all products manufactured by International Paper facilities can be labeled attesting to the sustainability of fiber under the SFI® system and some product can be labeled to the FSC® and PEFC systems.
Prior to our forestland divestiture in the U.S., between 25-35 percent of the fiber used at our mills came from company lands. Approximately 65-75 percent of fiber was supplied by family owned forests and other landowners. Today, nearly 100 percent of our fiber needs are met through purchases from private forestland owners. The company’s market for fiber provides the economic lever to drive sustainable forest practices by these landowners, and compete with other uses of land. The company remains closely linked to the stewardship of lands that supply our mills. Chain-of-custody and labeling of products to forest certification standards provides customers and the public with an affirmation of this commitment to sustainability.
In 2008, the company formalized its global policy on forest certification to provide transparency and clarity to employees, investors, and interest groups. All International Paper facilities must adhere to ours Global Certification Policy.