Sappi North America, Inc., a leading producer and supplier of diversified paper, packaging products and dissolving wood pulp, today announced a partnership with the nonprofit organizations American Forest Foundation (AFF) and GreenBlue to support the Forests in Focus sustainability risk assessment. The goal of Forests in Focus is to provide customers, brand owners and investors with user-friendly analyses of the sustainability strengths and risk profile of forested lands across specified landscapes.
Utilizing credible, scientific-based information gathered by third parties, the platform is designed to complement existing forest certification programs and provide an account of sustainability for U.S. woodbaskets, in the context of global supply systems. As an early adopter and investor in the program, Sappi will leverage the new technology to support and validate its sustainability claims and to monitor risks and further strengthen its supply chain.
“Continuously improving and strengthening our sustainability practices is a foundational principle for Sappi, particularly within our forestry initiatives. It’s imperative that we understand and advocate for the benefits of responsible forest management within the context of the renewable and low-risk nature of U.S. woodbaskets. This platform is a step forward and will provide the industry with data-based information at a level effective for educating key stakeholders,” said Rebecca Barnard, Forest Certification Manager, Sappi North America. “Through the Forests in Focus platform we will be able to provide global customers and brand owners with scientific analyses on the condition of the forested landscape across a wide array of relevant criteria. This is especially for family owned woodlands, where there is otherwise a significant gap in information. This will enable us to provide meaningful assurances of our promise of sustainable sourcing, and reinforce our commitment to consistency and transparency.”
GreenBlue’s Forest Products Working Group (FPWG) and AFF partnered to develop Forests in Focus to fill a void in sustainable sourcing. The platform utilizes a vast complex, publicly-available dataset from the U.S. Forest Service, NatureServe and other sources, and distills the information into understandable metrics and trends for companies in the forest product supply chain.
The platform empowers users to define, measure and communicate their commitment to sustainable forest management with a new level of transparency into supply chains, powered by data visualization and aggregation. In addition, Forests in Focus aims to connect industry leaders like Sappi, drive sustainable sourcing conversations forward and facilitate investment in family landowner engagement to deliver forest positive impacts. Collectively, individual and family-owned land account for more than one-third of all forests across the U.S., more forest land than the federal government manages on behalf of the public. These lands are owned by more than 21 million individual owners, in small tracts that average 67 acres in size. According to the Forest Service, these lands collectively supply more than 50 percent of the wood harvested and flowing into supply chains in the U.S.
“Forests in Focus will provide more transparency to companies that source wood fiber, so they can have confidence that their supply from family woodlands is consistent with the values of sustainability and respect for the environment. This in turn will help sustain existing and support new markets for forest products for these families, giving them the income needed to continue to manage sustainably,” said Tom Martin, President and CEO of AFF.
“If market forces can align around a shared understanding of the real issues facing forests in a region, the potential for positive impact is immense. Forests in Focus provides companies that opportunity,” said Nina Goodrich, Executive Director of GreenBlue.