Finnish giant Stora Enso is the latest packaging firm to address growing environmental concerns. The firm, which recently posted disappointing quarterly results, has stated that it aims to maximise the volume of wood it uses originating from third party certified forests.
As a result, Stora Enso says that it will more actively promote forest certification in order to increase the amount of forests covered by these systems.
Stora Enso is already engaged in forest certification in a number of countries, through participating in the development of systems and standards, certifying the group's own forests and in some areas facilitating group certificates for small forest owners. To secure that wood comes from sustainably managed forests, Stora Enso has also developed and implemented traceability systems.
Nevertheless, more could be done to ensure that packaging becomes a truly sustainable industry in the future. Consumer pressure has been key to forcing through change. Many customers and stakeholders are now demanding not only traceability, but also that all the wood used in packaging comes from third party certified forests.
Due to different conditions, Stora Enso says that there is a need for more than one forest certification system in various regions. As a consequence, the group supports independent credible forest certification systems.
Stora Enso also wants to encourage mutual recognition through, for example, double certification. This would make different systems of certification are mutually applicable. In effect, wood flows from two or more different systems can be combined and regarded as certified according to any of the systems.
Stora Enso Wood Supply Sweden, whose own forests are currently certified to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), has decided to start up a certification process according to Pan European Forest Certification (PEFC). Stora Enso Wood Supply Finland has also initiated discussions between FSC and Finnish Forest Certification System (FFCS) to promote mutual recognition between the national standards. Double certification should be studied as one option to accelerate mutual recognition processes also in Finland.
In addition, Stora Enso will promote forest certification in all the areas where it operates, including Russia, South America and Asia.
Stora Enso's pursuit of sustainable production is especially pertinent at the moment. Recently published data from the Association of European Producers of Steel Packaging (APEAL) shows that Finland has one of the poorest records of steel recycling in Europe. Encouraging sustainability through better forest certification might go some way to improving the country's environmental reputation.
Stora Enso is an integrated paper and packaging firm. Sales totalled €12.8 billion in 2002, and the group has some 42 500 employees in more than 40 countries in five continents. Stora Enso's shares are listed in Helsinki, Stockholm and New York.