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The paper and pulp industry is one of the largest industrial sectors in the world. It includes a variety of products, including paper-based packaging, office paper and tissue, and is accounts for over 40% of the global trade of all industrial wood. There is, therefore, a huge risk to forests if paper and pulp are not sourced responsibly. The consumer goods industry is a major purchasers of paper, and does, therefore, have a material role to play.
As noted by organisations like the WWF, “the forest practices associated with some pulp and paper operations have had devastating impacts on some of the world’s most ecologically important places and species. Unsustainable pulp and paper operations have contributed to conversion of high conservation value forests, illegal harvesting, human rights and social conflicts, and irresponsible plantation development”.
However, the responsible sourcing of paper and pulp can lead to many benefits to forests and surrounding communities. Many pulp and paper companies are demonstrating leadership in responsible forestry and plantation management as well as in clean manufacturing processes and recycled content. And, having highlighted paper and pulp as one of four key commodities connected to deforestation within the consumer goods industry, our members are committed to ensuring their businesses are not the ones devastating forests and local communities.
Our Pulp, Paper and Packaging Working Group has developed a set of guidelines in support of the Deforestation Resolution to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020. The Guidelines are intended to assist companies in the development of their own policies for sourcing pulp, paper and packaging.
The Paper, Pulp and Packaging Sourcing Guidelines recommend a three-pronged approach for member companies:
Develop sourcing policies that avoid controversial sources of pulp, paper and packaging contributing to deforestation;
Verify whether supply from high priority countries has low risk of controversial sources contributing to deforestation; and
Disclose company policies, goals and progress to avoid controversial sources of pulp, paper and packaging contributing to deforestation in individual company supply chains.
The Guidelines were developed by a working group of member companies who benchmarked company sourcing practices, considered public procurement practices, engaged with certification organisations and engaged several NGOs and suppliers for their input and feedback on draft versions of the Guidelines. It is hoped that the Guidelines will serve as a helpful tool that will continue to be informed as the pulp, paper and packaging landscape evolves.