Good for your health, good for the environment, good for the future. These common themes have consumers embracing trends toward products that are responsibly sourced and manufactured.
As with many things, consumers hold the key. And for products derived from the forest, the reality is no different.
As hundreds of business leaders and environmental advocates descend on Vancouver, Canada this week for the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) General Assembly, consumer-driven sustainability will be among the topics of discussion. Held every three years, the General Assembly, or GA as it is commonly known, allows FSC members from across the globe to come together and discuss the future direction of the organization. There they consider, debate and vote on strategies for ensuring the conservation of the world’s forests.
For companies such as Domtar and Kimberly-Clark, consumers are crucial to mainstreaming sustainable practices. That is the reason both corporations are working to give shoppers better options, including FSC-certified products. FSC certification helps ensure that forests used to source a host of products are managed in a way that takes into account environmental, social and economic concerns.
“At Domtar, we feel it is our responsibility to help our customers understand their impact and how they can help maintain a healthy environment for future generations,” said Dan Persica, Sr. Manager of Sustainability Communications. “Reaching consumers through various means, from online tools to simple labels on products, provides the assurance of responsible sourcing.”
Domtar was an early adopter of the FSC standard, when in 2005 it became the first forest products company in North America to offer FSC-certified copy paper. The company has since sold well over five million tons of FSC-certified paper, bringing greater market awareness to the standard as products displaying the FSC label appear on store shelves across the globe. As a result, Domtar was awarded the FSC Leadership Award in 2014.
In 2009, Kimberly-Clark became the first North American company to offer FSC-certified tissue products in the business-to-business marketplace, and quickly followed that in 2011 by introducing FSC-certified **Kleenex® **tissue to consumers. The company was awarded an FSC Leadership Award in both 2014 and 2016. In June, Kimberly-Clark announced a three-year collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to raise awareness of the importance of choosing products made with fiber sourced from responsibly managed forests. The program, called “Heart Your Planet,” will roll out via Kimberly-Clark’s well-known FSC-certified brands, including Kleenex, Cottonelle****®, Viva****® and Scott****®.
“Through our new Heart Your Planet program, in partnership with our brands and with WWF, we hope to further build consumer awareness, preference and demand for FSC-certified products,” said Skip Krasny, Sustainable Forestry Programs Manager at Kimberly-Clark.
But demand requires supply, which is among the reasons Domtar has worked with private landowners in North America to encourage FSC certification of their forests.
In 2012, Domtar’s work resulted in 55 landowners earning FSC certification for more than 70,000 acres through the Four States Timberland Owners Association (FSTOA). Today, more than 500,000 acres have been certified through the FSTOA.
Domtar has also committed to eliminate any unknown or controversial sources of fiber from its supply chain while increasing the supply of FSC fiber over time, a pledge that led it to become the first pulp and paper company to participate in WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network – North America (GFTN-NA), of which Kimberly-Clark is also a member. The GFTN is WWF’s initiative to eliminate illegal logging and drive improvements in forest management. In fact, for nearly two decades, Domtar has worked with WWF on multiple programs to promote responsible forestry practices while donating millions of dollars to support global conservation efforts. The Domtar-WWF collaboration in the FSTOA program was recently highlighted on the PBS series, “This American Land.”
“Any company that depends on forests to produce their products need to operate with the future in mind,” Krasny concludes.
For more stories about Domtar's sustainability work, including important and stimulating environmental news for customers, media, consumers and employees, please visit the Domtar Newsroom*