We all know the importance of forests for global climate – they store carbon dioxide, while producing oxygen. So protecting forests through sustainable use should be a top priority for the industry and its suppliers as well. Recognition for SIG’s commitment has also come from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The international environmental organisation actively supports the work of the FSC™, and advises consumers to look out for the official FSC logo when buying paper and wood products.
SIGnals talked to Johannes Zahnen, who is in charge of forest and paper at WWF Germany, about commitment and profitability:
Mr Zahnen, how many companies have a real strategy based on responsible forest management?
In general, more and more companies are taking the subject of sustainability seriously and incorporating it into their business objectives. On the one hand, it is crucial to identify the environmentally-relevant company operations and environmental impacts. Based on those decisions, the scope and reach of the measures to be used to mitigate the negative environmental impacts identified is key. Ideally, the measures are selected in such a way that there are no negative environmental impacts at all. We ask ourselves the following questions: How can the use of raw materials and energy for wood and paper products be reduced? Does the wood used come from sustainable forest management? To what percentage of the products does this apply?
How can the use of raw materials and energy for wood and paper products be reduced?
SIG is continuously reassessing how its packaging can be further optimised. Use of materials and energy must be improved. SIG’s EcoPlus package is a good example of this. For this aseptic carton pack, SIG was able to reduce CO2 by 28 per cent compared to conventional 1-litre packages. More innovations like this are needed in the future, to enable the beverage carton to continue to play a prominent role among the environmentally beneficial beverage packaging forms.
Does the wood used come from sustainable forest management?
In the view of many environmental organisations, on a global scale FSC is currently the most rigorous mark of sustainable forest management, with standards higher than those required by law. These standards cover all three areas of sustainability: environment, social and economic, and are regularly checked in the forest and within the value creation chain by independent experts.
To what percentage of the products does this apply?
With the new regulation, SIG has achieved a level of at least 70 per cent FSC-certified raw materials. The remaining 30% must comply with what is known as the FSC-controlled sources. SIG has thus achieved a significant portion of its self-set FSC goals, and we very much welcome the fact that SIG is interested in increasing its FSC percentage even further!
What advantages are there for those companies which deliberately and actively prioritise the sustainability of the resources they work with?
Usually, these adjustments result in the initial phase in an information gain, which many companies find helpful. In addition, changes made with an environmental benefit often go hand in hand with savings in materials procurement or energy consumption. But of course, environmental successes also play a role in the marketing, the company’s image and employee satisfaction.
How does a company behave ideally within the terms of the WWF standards? And what about paper suppliers and the retail market, with regard to FSC certification, for instance?
The WWF’s recommendations with regard to paper are linked to the so-called ‘PaperVision’ of the environmental organisations. If fresh wood fibres are to be used, these should come from a credibly certified forest management operation – NGOs recommend FSC. And should focus on clean production, such as less CO2 per ton product, for instance, and minimising impact on water resources (TCF guidance).
What influence does the FSC label now have on the decision behaviour of end consumers?
FSC is now one of the best-known environmental labels in Germany to which customers can look for guidance. It shows buyers that the product in question uses wood from an improved forest management system. Stringent social and environmental criteria have been considered and checked. That’s what customers expect today!
Mr Zahnen, thank you very much for the interview.
And if you want to know more about SIG´s environmental behaviour, give us a call, comment or e-mail us. (Licence number: FSC-C020428)