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ACE calls for tangible actions to enhance SFM following the adoption of the EU Forest Strategy

ACE welcomes the EU Forest Strategy with its focus on sustainable forest management. Through their global traceability commitment, ACE member companies are paving the way for leading forestry practices and ask the Commission to follow up on its strategy with concrete actions and plans.

Katarina Molin, ACE Director General, "ACE supports the European Commission's emphasis on sustainable forest management to move beyond legality and set the basis for a more equal playing field within the forest-based sector across Europe. In line with our global traceability commitment, we would like to see the EU Forest Strategy develop practical measures and clear milestones."

"This should include agreeing on a legally-binding definition of sustainable forest management", adds Uno Brinnen, Senior Vice President BillerudKorsnäs Forestry. "This definition should refer to science-based criteria and indicators developed in existing forest certification schemes and should promote best practices."

In the absence of EU binding requirements, ACE members have driven the sector to define and implement industry-leading sustainability practices. In 2007, ACE beverage carton manufacturers Elopak, SIG Combibloc, and Tetra Pak adopted a global voluntary commitment on wood traceability using FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council™) Chain-of-Custody (CoC) certification.

FSC Director General Kim Carstensen explains "ACE's global traceability commitment is paving the way for leading forest practices and is truly unique in its kind. Over the past years, we have been working closely with ACE members, Elopak, SIG Combibloc and Tetra Pak, and together we have attained significant achievements in moving towards a higher standard of responsible forest management. Currently 20% of EU's forests are certified by FSC alone and ACE members have been a major driver."

The ACE industry commitment aims to put in place, globally, 100% chain-of-custody certification coverage by 2015 for all paperboard purchased, and by 2018 for all converting plants. Moving towards this goal, in 2012, the ACE beverage carton manufacturers have already ensured that 88% of their liquid packaging board worldwide complies with FSC CoC certification. Within the EU, even 100% of the wood used for the production of beverage cartons comes from paper mills that have an FSC CoC certification in place. In addition, 81% of beverage carton converting plants around the world are FSC CoC certified.

Building on EU Commissioner Cioloş' statement that "the new Forest Strategy aims to put forests and the forest sector at the heart of the path towards a green economy and to value the benefits that forests can sustainably deliver", Katarina Molin concludes that "we look forward to supporting the EU Forest Strategy in achieving tangible outcomes by sharing ACE's experience on the global traceability commitment."

In June 2013 Proforest, an independent verifier of natural resource management, reported that good progress has been made in 2012 to reach the targets. 88% of wood fibre purchased by Elopak, SIG Combibloc and Tetra Pak in 2012 was either FSC certified fibre or originated from FSC Controlled Wood, from 85% in 2011. Also, 81% of the converting plants owned by ACE beverage carton producers were reported as FSC Chain-of-Custody certified in 2012. Click here to learn more about the commitment.

Published on 30 September 2013