International Paper’s New Voluntary Sustainability Goals Fall Woefully Short of Real Leadership

Commitment to Improving Footprint in World’s Forests is Vague and Inconsequential

This morning, , the world’s largest paper company, announced twelve new voluntary sustainability goals to be achieved by 2020.  Rather than demonstrating leadership, the company failed to set meaningful goals that will have any significant impact on forests around the world.  Dogwood Alliance and leading environmental organizations expected transparency, a roadmap to success and leadership; these goals fail to achieve those results.

Forest product companies have huge environmental footprints, and their heaviest impacts fall in the world’s forests.  The environmental community and leading Fortune 500 companies have been looking for clear commitments to address these destructive impacts.  Unfortunately, these new goals provide slim guidance as to how the company plans to address these serious concerns.

is the largest paper company operating in the Southern US, which is the largest paper producing region in the world.  As the leading forest protection organization in the South, Dogwood Alliance has long campaigned to end the company’s destructive practices in the region, which sadly are not addressed in these new goals.

First and foremost, failed to set any meaningful goals around its fiber sourcing.  Rather than commit specifically to an end to logging of endangered forests and conversion of natural forests and forested wetlands to sterile tree plantations, the company relied on platitudes and rhetoric.

One way the company could have ensured aggressive and continuous improvement on the ground would have been to dramatically increase targets for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified virgin fiber.  Instead, they set an inconsequential goal of 15% increased certified fiber over the next eight years with no stated preference for FSC or clarity as to the goals for virgin fiber.  This is less than 2% increase per year.   has recently acquired Temple-Inland through a merger. By certifying Temple-Inlands’s existing recycled product lines alone, could achieve its meager certification goals with no measurable change on the ground for the forests of the world.

The one glimmer of hope is a stated commitment to addressing supply chain issues by 2013.  If you were looking for any specificity, though, you will not find it in this report.  Our hope is that will take a more aggressive approach in its next iteration, but until then, it is business-as-usual forest destruction from the world’s largest paper company.

One Response to “International Paper’s New Voluntary Sustainability Goals Fall Woefully Short of Real Leadership”

  1. Educated Person

    WOW What is your fascination with hating . There are MANY other paper companies in the forest products industry.

    You and the Dogwood Alliance would do well to educate yourselves…maybe with a degree in forestry for each of you. Paper is extremely recyclable and is only a small portion of the forest products industry. I’m sure you love your wood framed house as well as all the other wonderful wood products that can’t be easily recycled. Everything you touch is affected by the forest industry.

    By the way, what kind of mulch do you guys use for your landscaping? Cypress mulch from endangered cypress ponds? Maybe pine straw raked from the multitude of pine forests that were replanted after being harvested to supply the forest products industry? Or maybe you use hardwood mulch? Dang, you know those tires on your cars are made using compounds from rubber trees. OH and thank god for toilet paper. whew what a mess that would be.

    You say they are responsible for the destruction of forests but in reality, IP is responsible for planting more trees than they harvest. Forest Products companies have done more to restore endangered forest ecosystems than the Dogwood Alliance could ever hope to do. I can give you examples if you’d like… Longleaf pine/wiregrass ecosystems, various wetlands, etc.
    BUT, you will not do the proper research to educate yourselves in a way as to have a meaningful conversation on the matter which is a real shame since your represent the forests.
    Feel free to contact me if you would like to learn the facts surrounding this topic. I can give you a list of a thousand items in which southern US fiber is used in sustainable, safe methods as well as any information pertaining to the sustainability of the entire industry.


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