By Ken Stuart
Wood Procurement Manager at Domtar's Marlboro mill
At Domtar, we believe that fiber must be managed for the long term, like any other renewable resource. We also recognize the credibility of having truly independent third-party certification standards for identifying and promoting good forest stewardship.
A decade and a half ago, we embraced the values of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), creating a new model for collaboration between the forest products industry and third-party environmental certification groups. Our early engagement with FSC was leading edge in our industry and helped establish a new model of how fiber management should be done. Since then, we have not only chosen to make FSC-certified timber our preferred source of wood fiber, but have pledged to source 20 percent of our fiber from FSC-certified sources by 2020.
Every pulp and paper mill needs a viable fiber basket to stay in operation. Key to that fiber basket is the presence of landowners, who will manage the forestland over the years to keep it healthy. By getting their timber certified, these landowners are ensuring that sustainable practices will govern the management and harvest of their timber. As more and more consumers are becoming more conscious of the products they buy, the issue of certification will only gain further importance in the forest products industry.
Unfortunately, the wood basket from which our Marlboro, South Carolina sources from had no or very little FSC-certified wood. The costs of becoming certified can be daunting to landowners, so we partnered with Milliken Forestry Company, which specializes in helping landowners implement forest management plans and meeting certification goals. We agreed to cover any certification costs and to pay a premium for the fiber to encourage landowners to sign up.
As part of this certification program, Domtar receives certified fiber, asked for by some of our customers; landowners get advice and support in getting their wood certified; and Milliken is gaining valuable experience with FSC by drafting FSC management plans and receiving FSC fees. As other landowners realize the benefits to all parties involved, we are sure this initiative will gain further momentum.
Domtar received the 2015 AF&PA Leadership in Sustainability Award for Sustainable Forest Management for their Marlboro FSC Partnership.