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Sustainable forest management: A paperboard company perspective

Certification, traceability and scientific research are at the heart of our approach to sustainable forest management (SFM). For BillerudKorsnäs, systematic partnering with other stakeholders is a key requirement for this approach to work. Experience tells us that ongoing progress towards sustainable forestry practices is the joint responsibility of all those involved in the value chain of wood-based products.

Tracing back the timber we use to the forests that source it is an important part of our contribution to SFM. We are actively engaged in the certification schemes of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), and in their further development. By 2011 about 40% of the forest raw material Billerud bought in was FSC/PEFC certified; enabling us to sell a corresponding proportion of FSC or PEFC certified products.

Together with others in our sector, we participate in Future Forests, a programme at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences researching sustainable forest management and various forest issues e.g. forest soils and water, climate change mitigation, and adapting to competing demands on forests. We are gaining a better understanding of the complex and evolving nature of the sustainable forestry challenge - with its mix of social, environmental and economic requirements - and therefore of how effectively to respond to it.

We welcome this year's heightened focus on forestry. As Europe faces a world of general resource scarcity, Europe's forest products sector has a positive story to tell. It would be easier to tell if we could communicate on the basis of commonly accepted principles and definitions - starting with one for sustainable forest management. For every fully mature tree BillerudKorsnäs uses, 2-4 new ones are planted. While most of those trees are used again, some of them are passed to coming generations as we leave them as special set-aside areas or eternity trees within the planted stand. Over time this gives us an increasing standing biomass, in combination with higher yield per tree".

However, this story is only partly about expanding a renewable resource base. It is also about the concerted approach needed to address the changing requirements for managing forests sustainably.

Uno Brinnen is Senior Vice President Forestry at BillerudKorsnäs.

This article has been published in the ACE Newsletter Summer 2013.

Published on 14 November 2013