Renewable fiber from responsible sources
We purchase the fibers from selected pulp producers under long term contracts based on the special features that give our products their required characteristics. To meet the demands of our plants throughout the world, we purchase our fibers globally from responsible sources.
Sustainable forestry management
Sustainable forestry management is defined as “the stewardship and use of forests and forest land in a way and at a rate, that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfill now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic and social functions, at local, national and global levels and does not cause damage to other ecosystems.”(1 Sustainably managed forests are a renewable source of raw materials, but the forests also provide services such as clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and sometimes recreational opportunities. All forests can be managed sustainably, from primary or natural woodlands to intensively managed plantations.
Climate and forests are intrinsically linked. Wood is an inherently low-carbon-intensity material. The energy required to bring together wood is supplied by the sun; the trees capture carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. In sustainably managed forests, the carbon dioxide released through harvesting is offset by what is taken up through regeneration and re-growth, making these forests carbon neutral. “In the long term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fiber or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.” (IPPC, 2007)
Most of the carbon in harvested wood is transferred to products. The carbon stored in products remains out of the atmosphere for varying lengths of time, depending on the product. Additional carbon benefits could be obtained from the product biomass if, after potential recycling, the non-recyclable fiber was used to produce biomass energy instead of being disposed of.
Figure 1. Carbon benefits of forest products (WBCSD 2011). The mitigation and adaptation benefits of sustainably managed forests include carbon storage in forests and forest products, as well as reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases, when forest products are used in place of products that are more greenhouse gas-intensive.
Forestry certification is a mechanism using third party certification bodies to provide assurance that a forest is managed according to internationally recognized sustainability criteria, attesting to responsible management of forests and plantations. Certification of forestry-related operations is the highest standard of stewardship and traceability that a company can provide to its customers. Forest certification is an excellent means to advance sustainability.
Planted forests comprise seven per cent of forested area, but they are an increasingly important source of industrial wood supply. A well-managed forest or plantation is one in which forestry is ecologically, socially and economically sustainable. A sustainable tree plantation conserves native ecosystems, enhances local welfare and is financially profitable. Planted forests allow the demand for wood to be met while using less land than would otherwise be the case. Ahlstrom purchases pulp from plantations on lands with low biodiversity value.
Forests cover approximately 4,000 million hectares or 31 per cent of the world’s land area. Today, 423 million hectares or little over ten per cent of the world’s forests are certified by independent third parties. The area of certified forests is growing at about seven per cent per year.
Forest certification schemes
The certification criteria are that we do not use wood from controversial sources, or are indirectly or directly involved in the following unacceptable activities:
a) Illegal logging or trade in illegal wood or forest products
b) Violation of traditional and human rights in forestry operations
c) Destruction of high conservation values in forestry operations
d) Significant conversion of forests to plantations or non-forest use
e) Introduction of genetically modified organisms in forestry operations
f) Violation of any of the ILO Core Conventions as defined in the ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
There are two major international systems for forest certification: the Forest Stewardship CouncilTM (FSCTM) and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFCTM). PEFC is a global umbrella organization that recognizes the US SFI® (Sustainable Forestry Initiative®) standard, the Brazilian Cerflor standard and the CSA (Canadian Standards Association), to name a few. Many of Ahlstrom’s suppliers are certified to both systems.
Chain-of-Custody (C-o-C) certification
shows that a product is made of wood originating from certified forests or plantations. It makes it possible to trace the raw material from the forest to the consumer, each step involving a change in ownership. It allows companies to make claims and carry logos about the percentage of certified and/or recycled fiber in their products. All entities along the supply chain must be certified. Chain-of-Custody certificates are issued by an independent, accredited certification body which verifies that the requirements of the scheme for tracking the certified material from sustainably managed forests to the final product are met.
The certification body Ahlstrom uses is SGS (Sociéte Général de Surveillance SA) in Switzerland. All our major plants using wood fiber are Chain-of-Custody certified, allowing them to sell FSC and PEFC certified products.
View Ahlstrom’s Chain-of-Custody certifications
Making and selling certified products
Ahlstrom uses FSC’s Credit System, making it possible to sell our products as FSC Mix Credit which includes the FSC certified product and FSC Controlled Wood. The FSC certified products can be labeled with the FSC trademark logo, while the FSC Controlled Wood will be marked only on the shipping documents. These responsibly sourced products can be purchased by customers who are Chain-of-Custody certified. This system is described in Figure 3.
Figure 3. Credit System according to FSC-STD-40-004 (V2-1) EN(2. On the input side, the dark green refers to FSC-certified fiber, while the white units are fibers originating in non-FSC-certified forests or plantations. Either
a) They have been assessed by a certification body to conform to FSC Controlled Wood requirements
b) They are controlled material, which is virgin fiber originating in non-FSC-certified forests or plantations that has been assessed for risk by Ahlstrom and the Risk Assessment approved by the Certification body.
All such fiber is from responsible, acceptable sources.
All systems allow mixing of certified and non-certified materials. In PEFC, the amount of certified fiber must be as a minimum seventy per cent in order for the product to be eligible for labeling with the PEFC trademark. Ahlstrom is using the volume credit system in PEFC.
3) FSC Certificate database: http://info.fsc.org
5) PEFC certificate database: http://register.pefc.cz/search1.asp
World Business Council for Sustainable Development Forest Solutions Working Group publications:
6) Sustainable procurement of Wood and Paper-based Products, WBCSD and WRI, www.sustainableForestProds.org
7) The Sustainable Forest Products Industry, Carbon and Climate Change – Key Messages for Policy-Makers,http://www.wbcsd.org/Pages/EDocument/EDocumentDetails.aspx?ID=13586&NoSearchContextKey=true
8) Issue Brief on Carbon Neutrality: http://www.wbcsd.org/Pages/EDocument/EDocumentDetails.aspx?ID=15347&NoSearchContextKey=true