Forest Management for the 21st Century

Green Grades 625

Evaluating the Paper Industry on Environmental Performance

Dogwood Alliance is proud of our role as a catalyst in the greening of the forest products industry. We’ve earned this position through our hard-hitting public campaigns, a clear understanding of the on-the-ground impacts of industrial forest management through grassroots investigations and many years of successful collaboration on supply chain improvements with the largest players in the paper industry in the Southern US.

Now is the time for companies to shift from the old way of thinking to 21st Century Forest Management that places more value on the services that our forests provide rather than simply the forest products they produce, services like clean drinking water, carbon storage, wildlife habitat and flood protection. Companies still need to compete for business on price and quality, but now to be successful, a paper company is, for the first time, required by the marketplace to compete on environmental performance.

In that spirit, Dogwood Alliance is releasing our Green Grades Paper Industry Progress Report evaluating the performance of five leading pulp and paper companies in the paper and packaging sectors that make a broad range of products coming out of the Southern US.

We analyze their performance on five key metrics focusing on their impacts in the forest. These metrics make up an important roadmap necessary for progress on sustainability issues in the woods and give clear guidance on a proven way forward to address these vitally important issues.

Indeed many of the largest companies across the sector are in one way or another already deeply involved in the work of many of the indicators and metrics set out in this survey. This report offers important information to the large customer companies that have come to rely on Dogwood Alliance as a watchdog and trusted stakeholder on forest sustainability procurement issues.

The forest products industry is one of the key drivers in the future of our forests.

Every year more than five million acres in the US South, an area larger than the great state of Delaware, are logged, mostly for paper production.

How those forests are logged and where that logging occurs is absolutely critical to the future of our region. That is why we report on:

  1. Protecting Endangered Forests, the last, best places on the landscape: Georgia-Pacific stands out as the leader in committing to protect these forests and investing the time and money to identify them on the landscape and build the internal systems to keep that wood out.
  1. Buying wood from well-managed forests certified to the gold seal Forest Stewardship Council standards: Domtar has jumped ahead as the leader in bringing FSC certification to the South.
  1. Working to maintain natural forests over monoculture industrial tree plantations: Again, Georgia-Pacific is the leader in committing to protect these forests and investing the time and money to identify them on the landscape and build the internal systems to keep that wood out of its paper.
  1. Leading on forest conservation initiatives around its facilities and the region: International Paper has stepped up and committed to integrate conservation into their procurement while investing in land conservation and restoration.
  1. Recognizing the importance of forests as carbon sinks to protect us from climate change: Most of the industry is lagging behind here, and we need to step up advocacy efforts to ensure forests are recognized for their carbon benefits. Only Domtar has done significant work to integrate managing forest carbon into its practices.

Let’s make these forest products companies earn our business.

Each of these players can and must improve their environmental impact on our forests. You can help. Each of us can make a choice, and for those whose job it is to purchase millions of dollars of paper or fiber from the companies in our survey, month after month and year after year, your job is even more important.

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