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Blog | 02/26/2019 22:00:00

Certification and consumer awareness – keys to sustainable forestry

Sharon Xiao

Manager, Sustainability, Asia Pacific, UPM Raflatac

We at UPM Raflatac rely heavily on forests as a source of our main raw materials, so we are committed to keeping forests healthy. Not only are they an important part of our ecosystems, maintaining biodiversity and cleaning the air we breathe, but forests also provide livelihoods to many people. 

We have several procedures that help us to manage forests sustainably. Although certifications and codes of conduct might seem like just pieces of paper, they really do help us to achieve responsible sourcing and prevent illegal logging. Only through careful, well-designed systems like certification can forests be used as a source in a sustainable way.

Certification makes the difference

Forest certification is one of our main instruments in responsible sourcing. They are a credible tool for both us and the public, as they are globally recognized marks of well-managed and sustainable forest operations, where the risks of the supply chain mismanagement are minimized. They are defined and overseen by third-party, non-governmental organizations.

For brand owners, using only certified materials means being economically, environmentally and socially responsible. For the final product to be certified, the whole supply chain must be certified.

Increasingly, companies in our industry have adopted more ambitious sustainability goals regarding the environment and forests, which can only be met through the use of certification.

Moreover, certifications are vital for building consumer respect and strengthening brands. As end users are more and more interested in forest certified products, organizations should explore the certifications that today’s consumers choose.

China on the road to being more conscious

Naturally, there are differences among consumers in different regions. In emerging markets, such as China, product costs often remain the top priority, and certified forest products often have higher prices.

But gradually, consumer awareness of environmental issues – including the importance of certifications – is growing. The more forest certification logos the consumer sees, the more familiar they are. In China, big cities like Shanghai and Beijing are starting to work harder towards sustainability. Meanwhile, local organizations are realizing that sustainability delivers more end value to customers, and one way to reach sustainability goals is through forest certification.

In emerging markets, there is often a higher risk for human rights violations. This is why we at UPM Raflatac devote considerable attention to audits of our suppliers. The audits not only confirm that suppliers are acting in a responsible way, but they also ensure the suppliers improve their employees’ working conditions. And when working conditions improve, social responsibility improves, which ultimately benefits the whole society.

What is your organization doing to improve the welfare of society and protect our environment?

Read more:

Responsible sourcing at UPM Raflatac
Forest Certification at UPM Raflatac 

 

Author

Sharon Xiao

Sharon Xiao

Manager, Sustainability, Asia Pacific, UPM Raflatac | ”Life is what you make it."
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