In the Savannah River, forests produce the cleanest water

Last revised: February 18, 2023

Water is one of Earth’s most precious resources and is an essential building block of living organisms. Water is also at the forefront of the current discussion of industrial efficiency and the circular economy, due to its use by manufacturers, agriculture, and various other industries. International Paper has pledged to reduce our water use by 25% by 2030, as part of our Vision2030 goals for more sustainable operations. One of the ways we can collaborate and innovate in the sphere of water management is through our Forestland Stewards partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).

Water quality and quantity is a key gauge of the health of local ecosystems and the success of smart land management. Healthy forests filter pollutants entering water supplies. And it’s not just about water for drinking. It’s about the economy and jobs. Surface water already accounts for about two-thirds of the existing supply for municipal, manufacturing, electricity, and mining demands.

In Georgia, Forestland Stewards supports the Savannah River Clean Water Fund. The goal of the fund is to retain forested watersheds, which assist with cleaning and filtering rainwater as it drains into the rivers in Georgia and South Carolina. Technology assists the preservation of sources of drinking water by allowing organizations to map and prioritize areas based on land use, urban growth, topology, and soil-hydration models (learn). International Paper operates a containerboard mill in Savannah and joined the Clean Water Fund in 2020. “This project is important for us, as this watershed’s vast wetlands and forests contain the natural resources all of us depend on to filter clean water for all the water users in this community,” said Sophie Beckham, Chief Sustainability Officer, International Paper. “As one of the largest users of fiber, we are committed to leading forest stewardship efforts globally. Our entire business depends upon the sustainability of forests and the ecosystems that they support.”

Learn more about the work of the Savannah River Clean Water Fund.