27 July 2016
By Keila Hand, manager of paper sector engagement, World Wildlife Fund
Forests cover 31 percent of the land area on our planet, house 80 percent of terrestrial biodiversity, and directly benefit 1.6 billion people who rely on them for food, fresh water, clothing, traditional medicine and shelter. Yet forests are being cleared at the rate of roughly 48 football fields every minute and it is estimated that 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions are the result of deforestation.
 
Forest are a valuable source of renewable raw materials that can be a good alternative to non-renewable materials as long as forests are responsibly managed. By 2050, rising population and demand, as well as an increase in use of wood for bioenergy, could triple the amount of wood society takes from forests and plantations per year, according to WWF’s Living Forests Report (www.panda.org/livingforests).  Given this increased pressure on forests, forest-based industries are key to forest conservation.
 
The forest sector can be a champion for conservation by providing the demand for responsibly sourced forest products that ensure protection of important forested areas and create a  sustainable landscape for production of renewable materials. Also by providing the innovation and technical advances needed to address these challenges.
 
To this end, WWF works with major companies and their supply chains, including Tetra Pak, to change the way timber, pulp and paper are produced, processed, consumed and financed worldwide. The key is to supply more wood and paper products with less impact on nature across the whole supply chain, from where and how wood is grown and harvested to how wisely and efficiently it is processed, used and reused.

WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) (www.gftn.panda.org), in which Tetra Pak has participated since 2006, provides practical assistance to more than 200 companies in 30 countries in implementing responsible wood and paper procurement programs through a proven stepwise approach that helps companies identify where their fiber is coming from and ensures it is from well-managed forests.
 
In this approach, WWF encourages companies to purchase fiber from well-managed forests by asking for fiber and pulp that is certified under a credible forest certification system. WWF recommends that buyers ask specifically for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, as it is the most credible forest certification program that provides the greatest assurance of social and environmental values. Choosing FSC leads to more hectares of forest under responsible management and, although the forest is harvested, forest ecosystem services are maintained. WWF also recommends the use of recycled fiber to decrease the demand for virgin fiber, and also helps to keep waste out of landfills.
 
Ultimately, choosing FSC fiber and other responsibly sourced renewable materials it a great way for companies to protect the bottom line of their company and the bottom line of the planet.



AUTHOR
KEILA  HAND

 
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