International Paper has joined the Global Forest & Trade Network in North America (GFTN), one of World Wildlife Fund (WWF)'s initiatives focused on eliminating illegal logging and promoting environmentally and socially responsible forest management. International Paper joins a network of more than 200 companies and communities around the globe committed to the responsible forest management and sourcing of forest products.
"We have long been committed to responsible forestry everywhere we operate, and collaborating with WWF is an excellent way to demonstrate and grow that commitment," said Teri Shanahan, International Paper's vice president, Sustainability. The initial scope of International Paper's participation in GFTN will encompass fiber sourced for the company's North American and Brazilian mills, representing more than two thirds of its global fiber volume.
"By joining GFTN and increasing its sourcing of credibly certified fiber, International Paper – as the world's largest paper and packaging company – can use its purchasing power to drive improvements in responsible forestry around the globe," said Suzanne Apple, vice president of Business and Industry for WWF. "This kind of leadership is critical to conserving the places and species we are working so hard to protect."
In the U.S., International Paper has increased its sourcing of Forest Stewardship Council certified fiber by more than 1.2 million tons over the past five years, and expects to triple that increase by the end of 2014. While IP supports multiple certification standards, the company has developed a highly successful model for increasing its supply of FSC-certified fiber in the Southeastern United States. In Brazil, International Paper's operations source approximately 75 percent of its pulp wood from FSC-certified sources.
As a GFTN participant, International Paper will release an updated global fiber sourcing policy, which can be viewed at internationalpaper.com. International Paper announced a set of voluntary goals in 2012, including one focused on increasing 3rd-party certified wood fiber by 15% by 2020. Participation in GFTN aligns well with this goal, as the company implements an action plan toward achieving its 2020 target. In addition, International Paper will support WWF's efforts to protect forests holding particular value for their biodiversity, landscape and socio-economic benefits. International Paper is committed to chain-of-custody certification, providing additional assurance that wood products from certified and responsibly managed forests are tracked throughout the supply chain.
"Ensuring the continued health of the world's forests is among our top priorities at International Paper," said James McDonald, International Paper's manager, Sustainability. "We see our voluntary sustainability goals as well as collaboration with GFTN as important for continuing to protect this natural resource."