Element - - Sponsor Case Study -

ne of the most im­por­tant re­sponses to grow­ing pub­lic con­cern about the po­ten­tial im­pacts of world­wide pa­per pro­duc­tion has been the es­tab­lish­ment and ex­pan­sion of sus­tain­able cer­ti­fi­ca­tion schemes. These aim to es­tab­lish the sus­tain­abil­ity of pa­per pro­duc­tion all the way from the tree to the fin­ished prod­uct and give con­sumers who care about the world’s for­est the chance to choose the best op­tions avail­able.

One of the best-known cer­ti­fi­ca­tion schemes is the For­est Stew­ard­ship Coun­cil. It was set up in 1993 as an independent, non-gov­ern­men­tal, not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion by busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tives, so­cial groups and en­vi­ron­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions. It has since spread to more than 50 coun­tries, in­clud­ing 1.4 mil­lion hectares of New Zealand, and cov­ers 140 mil­lion hectares of for­est world­wide.

PMP New Zealand now only buys cer­ti­fied pa­per. Miller says: “Third party cer­ti­fi­ca­tion costs a lot of money to achieve, but once you achieve them you can use those lo­gos on your cor­po­rate pro­mo­tional ma­te­rial. More im­por­tantly if ev­ery­body in the sup­ply chain has the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion you can put the logo on the doc­u­ment it­self.”

The world’s largest for­est cer­ti­fi­ca­tion scheme is The Pro­gramme for the En­dorse­ment of For­est Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion or PEFC. It cov­ers 239 mil­lion hectares. Taken to­gether these two schemes over­see a world­wide area of for­est roughly 14 times the size of the New Zealand land mass. And they are grow­ing.

For the time be­ing, cer­ti­fied fi­bre and the pa­per prod­ucts made from it do cost a lit­tle more, but Miller be­lieves the gap will close as de­mand and sup­ply of cer­ti­fied pa­per con­tin­ues to in­crease. In the fu­ture, he be­lieves that this higher stan­dard will be­come the new norm for the whole in­dus­try. “I think it will take some time, as this is not just a ques­tion of get­ting a whole lot of en­vi­ron­men­tal sys­tems in place, or bleach­ing with dif­fer­ent chem­i­cals, this is a ques­tion of plant­ing and us­ing plan­ta­tion method­ol­ogy that is quite dif­fer­ent to the cur­rent,” he says. “We are talk­ing about tree life cy­cles of 20-30 years, and so are look­ing at a longer tran­si­tion.” PMP is cur­rently go­ing through the FSC and PEFC Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and in­tend to be fully cer­ti­fied early next year.

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